Most of us use a mobile device for work, and even though we all care about how to maintain and keep these devices safe and running well, there are questions that we probably did not consider seriously or decided to deal with later. Though this inactivity may not have serious consequences for each individual, the sum of many small issues can turn into a big problem at the company level.
In order to avoid that, you should start looking at three types of issues that will arise when looking for answers to the following questions:
How worried should I be about security?
Very worried, because using a mobile customer relationship management (CRM) solution means that you access and transfer data that needs to be protected from corruption or loss. A mobile device that uses a mobile CRM solution is an entry point into your core CRM solution, and while the device has obvious advantages, it can also be dangerous if it is used by the wrong people. Access rights and rules for data transfer between mobile devices and the core CRM solution should be very well defined to not only stop intruders from accessing the system, but also limit users to only the information they are supposed to use.
While transferring data between mobile devices and servers, both the supplier of your devices and the provider of your CRM solution should offer encryption of the data, secured transfer, over-the-air management (which includes the option to lock or wipe a device remotely), etc. What CRM vendors usually don’t offer is protection against viruses and malware, even though most traditional antivirus companies have created such products to protect mobile devices.
What do I need to know about accessibility?
What you surely know already is that not any device works with any operating system, and as most mobile CRM solutions are delivered through Web browsers, not all mobile devices are compatible with all browsers. Something else you need to understand very well is the functionality that your provider is offering in its the mobile CRM offering. Make sure not only that you have the functionality you need most on a mobile device, but also that the information for it is available both online and offline. In addition, your solution should synchronize data created or modified offline with the central database, so that everyone has one single version of the truth.
A different form of accessibility for a mobile CRM solution is related to its usability. It’s not only a matter of what functionality you have, but also how easy it is for you to use it on a mobile device, which will most likely be used outside the office, where you will not have a mouse and keyboard, large screen, etc. To avoid usability issues, test mobile CRM solutions using real-life scenarios and data.
Will this still work for me in five years?
As your company grows, you’ll notice that the advances in technology that make mobile devices more affordable will result in an increase in the number of devices used in your company. If the management of a few dozens of mobile devices is not much of a headache right now, things will surely change when you will have hundreds. And if you have thousands, things can easily get out of your control. This explains why more and more companies are offering mobile device management (MDM) software. This type of software became a necessity when smart phones and tablets started being used on a regular basis by employees, as the management of mobile devices is nearly as paramount as that required by desktops and laptops.
Depending on the vendor, MDM solutions can offer functionality for installation and deployment, security management, policy and compliance management, inventory management, and security and service management.
I explore this further in Technology Evaluation Centers’ (TEC’s) upcoming CRM Buyer’s Guide: New Innovations in Customer Relationship Management. In the guide, I will also include listings, as well as provide an overview and analysis of innovative solutions. In the meantime, I welcome your thoughts on the mobile CRM risks, which may sometimes be underestimated by companies.
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A good summary of the issues involved. All too often customers select their mobile CRM solution based on its look and functionality and ignore the security and connectivity issues.
We offer MDM, encryption and robust connectivity on all our mobile projects - not only does this secure the corporate network but enhances the user experience through offering better support and a more robust solution which is then avaialble everytime the user requires it.
Generally we avoid browser based solutions - we don’t believe they give an adequate user experience / interface, particularly if the solution is collecting data from the field and updating a back end solution - they also have limitations when working off-line.
Thanks for the info on CRM solution on mobile and associated risks. If I get you right you prefer a non web based solution to OS based running iPhone or Android for example.
I am presently working on a Retailing on Mobile Phone project right now and has indicated desire for web based solution, should I change course for OS based and why and what are implications. This product will both be collecting data on the field and updating back end server, interrogate back end for for information and maintain offline storage on phone. What types of phone would you recommend? and your preference. On security and accessibility risk control, I would like to have a suitable vendor for the MDM. Will appreciate your contact on this. Your comments.