In the Field: What Device & Software Pairing is Best for Your Team?

In the Field: What Device & Software Pairing is Best for Your Team?

From field reps to sales and marketing teams, today’s workforce is often deployed outside the office for a variety of jobs and assignments. Unfortunately, most of the current crop of phones and tablets has yet to advance into true productivity in the same manner as traditional PCs and laptops due to limitations in both IT management and software. Most of them cannot adequately run customer relationship management (CRM) software, and as more and more employees become familiar with the ease and agility of tablets and smartphones, they demand a similar experience from a mobile PC.

In order to help IT departments find a balance between necessary CRM software and a comfortable user experience, we’ll quickly look at a small sample of the options available in the market to give decisions makers a better idea of what might fit best in their company.

-IT Peer Network Administrator

First, let’s review three of the top CRM solutions in the market: Salesforce.com Sales Cloud, SAP 360 Customer, and Oracle Siebel CRM. Each has its own range of features of benefits, but as seen in the table below, also limitations.

device software 1.png

As we previously covered in more depth, small-footprint apps specifically designed for mobile operating systems (typically Google Android or Apple iOS) can provide core CRM functions. Still, the very nature of mobile apps means that some features available in a native installation are often missing from mobile apps to accommodate smaller screens, less memory, and other constraints. CRM users can often perform essential functions from a web browser. But like mobile apps, web apps or web browser access often entails scaled-back functionality and requires a reliable Internet connection.

As a native installation, full-featured CRM software is installed on the endpoint, and data can reside on the device, suggesting that a CRM solution that runs natively on a user’s mobile device is the best choice to support business because users can be productive even when the device is not connected to a network. The nature of their work means that field sales reps will often be disconnected from a network or must interrupt their workflow to connect to a network. In either case, their productivity is impeded by the limitations inherent in many mobile apps or browser-based CRM sessions.

device software 2.pngAs is true with most mission-critical enterprise software, CRM software is often designed to run on Windows. This constraint could mean that IT must deploy mobile devices running Windows with Intel architecture to provide full functionality to users.

The good news is that now IT has another tool in its arsenal with the new 2 in 1 mobile devices that have all the functionality of a laptop and the agility of a tablet. This led PepsiCo to turn to 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i5 vPro™ processor-based Lenovo Helix devices in France to run Noledge’s SaaS-based commercial and marketing software. Noledge’s modern, touch-friendly application puts all of the information sales reps need to conduct store checks and customer presentations. The new devices had a dramatic effect not only on the way reps work, but on the image they project to customers, especially independent bar and restaurant owners. Rather than hunching around a laptop screen, reps can lay the tablet on the table between them.

Moreover, the new crop of 2 in 1 mobile devices have proven to save IT not only deployment and management headaches, but also money.

Of course, this pairing is only one of the many options available. It is important to explore the offerings from your CRM vendor and how they affect the user experience for your field reps before you decide which mobile device is the best fit for your organization. The new updates in Windows 8.1 and advancements in Intel processors give IT departments a variety of device and software options to make available to staff, now it’s simply a matter of finding what works best for you and your team.

For a more comprehensive view of how employers are empowering mobile users, read Mobile Productivity for Sales and Marketing Users. Access the full PepsiCo case study: Refreshing PepsiCo’s French Sales Force with Intel based 2 in 1 Devices.

Find out how 2 in 1s compare to individual laptop and tablet ownership: Ultrabook™ 2 in 1 vs. Tablet and Laptop Total Cost of Ownership

We want to hear from you! Leave a comment below telling us whether you’re considering updating the CRM software or devices for your team. And join the social conversation on Twitter by using the hashtags: #ITCenter and #mobility