Could a mobile solution be the answer to the problem of low user adoption of a new software system?
In the past (very) few years, we have seen an explosion of smart devices, specifically smart phones and tablet-like devices such as iPads, the many android equivalents, and recently Microsoft’s Surface product.
Why have these devices received such rapid adoption by a wide range of users, from business people, young people and even the elderly? It is because they are easy to use, have fast responses, have excellent graphics quality and fill a need where a single device can supply music, video, communication, books (both audio and text), games, GPS mapping, and the list goes on almost endlessly.
My son-in-law is a primary school teacher. His school has recently required all year 5 and 6 students to have an iPad or equivalent device as part of their normal learning equipment. So it looks like smart devices are here to stay.
Every client I have dealings with is now either using a mobile solution as part of their CRM system or is asking what is required to get into this mobile area. More and more employees are asking their IT department to allow them to connect their personal mobile device to corporate systems.
So the question is, is a mobile solution easy or difficult? The answer can depend on whether you are looking from the end-user or IT perspective. We recently we rolled out the use of the CWR Mobile solution for our internal Microsoft Dynamics CRM system to our sales staff. This rollout took a matter of minutes for the CRM administrator once the background configuration was done (which took a few hours). For the user, it was simply downloading the app to their phone from the relevant mobile app store then connecting to our CRM system and they were away.
User feedback is already positive from the sales staff. They can now review their appointments, opportunity data, client data, etc., when on the road without the need to log into a computer. As the CWR solution allows data to be stored off-line, they don’t even need to have mobile coverage to do all these tasks. Synchronisation back to the CRM server happens automatically when mobile coverage is re-established.
What does it take for IT to get to this point? The most obvious need is for the CRM to be accessible outside the corporate IT domain. For Microsoft Dynamics CRM, this is done by deploying Active Directory Federated Services (ADFS) which is the Microsoft-recommended approach to allowing secure access to your corporate CRM data. Then, depending on the solution chosen, it could be a few hours work to configure the solution to meet your particular business needs.
The Microsoft free solution is pretty basic but it will be suitable for some clients who only need to view data or have limited data entry needs for their mobile solution.
There are lots of resources on the internet already that explain the detail of how a mobile solution is configured and the benefits of each type of solution. My point is that if you (as an IT or business area manager) are not already considering a mobile solution you will soon be forced to by your staff!
So is a mobile solution easy for IT? Yes it is, if you choose the solution most suitable for your staff and it is easy to configure, like the CWR solution is.
Providing a mobile solution will almost certainly be widely adopted by staff which means you will be getting the most out of the investment made in your CRM system, and the business will benefit from staff using the system to its full capability rather than avoiding it as being “admin work when I should be out selling”.
You can read more about Professional Advantage and Microsoft Dynamics CRM here.