CRM on a friggin’ iPhone? Heard of it? (Going Mobile, Part 2)


Much as it pains me to say it, there are actually people in this crazy world of ours who prefer the Apple iPhone to Windows Mobile devices.  I KNOW, RIGHT!?!?!  Hard to believe!  Probably all “creative types” and such or maybe they work in K-12 education…I don’t know. Anyway since this device has been released I’ve had one or two people ask about using it for actual business purposes. [sarcasm off]


So while I was at WPC 2009 I ran into Erik Van Hoof, CEO of CWR Mobility, and he was catching me up on all the great stuff they’ve been working on.  Things like making their excellent Windows Mobile CRM client work on a Blackberry and, in an effort to keep these iPhone whackos (note the sarcasm, Apple fanboys!) happily engaged with their CRM systems, the fine people over at CWR Mobility have developed an alpha version of an iPhone client.  So while these things are still under development, they’re coming – along with a lot of other great capabilities for Dynamics CRM.  While you’re waiting you might take a look over here and check out CWR’s blog for Jerry Seinfeld’s take on Blackberries and iPhones.

Comments (8)

  1. Zachary Burns says:

    I think your iphone comments are wrong…I’m a Microsoft Windows Application Developer 27/7 full-time.  I live in Visual Studio – It puts food on my table so that were I come from, but I think your missing it, let me explain…

    I consider myself an early adopter with all the growing pains it brings. I used to have a Palm VII – great for getting emails on the golf course, and easy to learn the graffiti to enter text or appointments, whatever.  Worked like a charm.

    Then that product died and went to a Windows Mobile phone.  Have you tried using that – it’s tough.  And unfortunately, it’s tougher to explain that to my Mom.  A Verizon store sold her one – it last about 3 days in her purse, then she took it back.

    Not saying that my Mom was dumb, but people unfortunately aren’t getting any smarter and they have no patience for taking time to get to know a device.  You should be able to pick up the device and use it instinctively.  My 5 year old daughter had my iPhone and in 5 minutes could navigate VERY well around and get to things she thought were important.

    The BlackBerry – horrible – no more comments on this.  I hate that pearl thing and the OS sucks.

    I hope Microsoft gets a phone platform right.  I loved developing applications for that with the .net compact framework, but it was so hard to show everybody else how to use the OS.  Don’t shoehorn Windows into a phone – rething the OS to fit the phone platform.  You wouldn’t have taken Windows and fit it into the XBox would you?

    It’s got to be easy to navigate and intuitive.  Not like big Fisher Price kids buttons, etc., but just have it make sense. That’s what the iPhone does, you pick it up and it makes sense.  Sure I don’t love everything about it, but 99% of it just makes sense and can be done easily.

    Just my 2 cents!

  2. chris.kahl says:

    27/7, huh?  You’re working too hard.  🙂  

    I get it.  I happen to own a Mac and have used an iPhone and fully appreciate the great user experience.  This post was rather tongue-in-cheek since most folks I know who have iPhones would rather give up their children than the device.  I too hope all of the very smart, capable people we have working in the Windows Mobile platform can improve the user experience without having to go into the phone hardware business.  Believe me, we are pretty tough critics internally – there’re lots of Windows Mobile people who work very hard at improving a platform that has to work on a broad range of hardware and incorporate a huge amount of functionality.  It’s a daunting task and one they take very seriously.  

    I appreciate your comments and welcome the critique.

  3. Hi Chris and Zachary,

    Thanks for the positive post! Really appreciated.

    I just wanted to jump into the discussion real quick with my humble opinions.

    I know there has been a lot of discussions on the internet regarding the pros and cons of Windows Mobile vs. iPhone. We even had a lot of internal discussions on adoption of different platforms and how and what functionality.

    With regards to user experience there is really only 1 clear winner, its the iPhone. They looked very well at what the competition was missing… Simplicity. Simplicity in usage and in application deployment (AppStore).

    But we are not building games, or apps that do only 1 thing (like managing your tasks, or send tweeds on Twitter). Also we are not building apps for consumers.

    When it comes to real business applications with advanced functionality, with database connectivity, data synchronization, central (read remote) management etc… We require a real development environment, enterprise readiness, device management, central application deployment, and even power of choice in which kind of device we would like to use (keyboard, barcode scanner, removable batteries, etc).

    That is not where the iPhone wins.

    If the Windows Mobile team gets the user experience right (and believe me, they are working on it, check out the new Zune HD) it is the better platform.

    Multi-tasking (makes synchronization in the background work!), enterprise device functionality (barcode scanning, printing, credit card reading, etc), enterprise deployment (Mobile device manager, and other 3rd party tools), development platform (try to beat Visual Studio and the .Net Framework), an extensible Pocket Outlook model, and many more functions that are not even vaguely available on the iPhone.

    I use an iPhone every day, but every day I wish my Windows Phone had the UX of my iPhone and I would switch back immediatly.

    With regards to functionality available for Dynamics CRM on the iPhone vs. the Windows Mobile device, I can say that the iPhone client will contain all functionality that is available coming from the standard CRM platform (standard and custom entities). But the Windows Mobile version goes way beyond that, because we have created a plugin model (our SDK) that lets you integrate any functionality that you require, that a device can handle, and what you can build with VS, back into CRM (think barcode scanning, signature capturing, or even more advanced business processes and workflows).

    By adding that layer of customization, the WM version can really become any kind of mobile business application.

    We are betting a lot on iPhone and Blackberry (the other platform we are moving our Mobile CRM client to), but we are betting as much, if not more on Windows Phones and believe that that platform is going to be still a  winner in the business arena in the next couple of years (So MS; please don’t let us down :))

    Please let me know what you think, what we are missing, or don’t see. I would like to discuss and get a good market feeling, coming from different sources.

  4. Nick Doelman says:

    This is another option for CRM on Iphone, it is available via the App store now and it seems to work well!

    http://www.numenes.com/en/Home.html

    I won’t get into the debate between different mobile platforms.  To me it is a no brainer.  I have used a Palm, a windows mobile device and a blackberry.  My Iphone can beat them all with a hand tied behind its back.

    Cheers

    Nick

  5. JS says:

    Yes, if you want to use iPhone for MD CRM just download iDcrm from numenes in the AppStore or go to http://www.numenes.com

    Soon you can even choose for stand-alone app or for client-server based app.

    Just wait for iDcrm 1.2 coming the end of September.

  6. Paul Reitmeyer says:

    If you want CRM on your iPhone for FREE just install Update Rollup 5 on your CRM Server and the newly released CRM Mobile Express… it works fine on any mobile phone, including iPhones (like mine.. and yes I’m a Microsoft CRM partner, and I love my iPhone Chris! Don’t cross that line).

    So don’t go spending the $99/app for iDCRM or whatever it costs these days, just use the CRM Mobile Express 4.0 client.

  7. Paul,

    You are right. If you don’t require mobility, but look at it as a nice to have, please use the free Mobile Express!

    If mobility becomes part of your business process, please look at other solutions! If you don’t believe me, try the different options.

    You can try our version for free (30-day trial, 5 users) via http://www.cwrmobility.com -> Products -> Request free trial.

    I am sure you will notice the difference.

  8. Adam Jenkins says:

    Hi,

    I use a great app on the iPhone called Sales CRM EZi.  It only cost $9.99. I can store all my sales opportunities, sale value, cost, estimated close date, next action/date, competitor, problem, solution, notes etc. I can sort by action date, close date and contact. I can set the current sales status and percentage and it will produce a realistic forecast and I can export it to my boss.  I noticed on Twitter they are just bringing out a version that links back to the contact record so that you can make calls, email or text etc from the app itself.  I know it does not link with the bigger CRM systems but I find it perfect for keeping tracking of leads, actions and sales statuses.