Let Your Data Do the Walking

of this stuff is borderline miraculous,” observes
Peter O’Kelly, senior analyst at Patricia Seybold Group in Boston. “If you
don’t look at wireless capability as a fundamental part of your corporate
architecture then you are not doing the right thing.”

A major stumbling block
early on for Arbill was the ability of communications providers to support
the protocols for Internet-capable telephones needed to run the SalesLogix
software. “Sprint Communications Co. was the first and only provider, and
we had to wait for others to offer comparable services in different geographic
regions,” says Copeland. “We selected the strongest provider in each territory
for individual salespeople.”

Companies also must remember
that bandwidth and capacity still pose limitations to mobile devices. “Determining
which enterprise applications to enable wireless capability for” is a major
challenge, says Mark Zohar, research director, communications, at Forrester
Research Inc., of Cambridge, Mass. You must compromise to account for the
limited bandwidth, storage, and display capabilities of these wireless devices.
“You can’t take all content wireless; you strip out and select which content
you need,” he says.

Wireless CRM will enable
new types of products and services and will usher in an entirely new set
of opportunities and challenges, according to Aberdeen Group. Christopher
Fletcher, a vice president and managing director at Aberdeen, says CRM software
is a natural fit for mobile devices. “Salespeople can access the most recent
inventory information and can make delivery commitments based on that information.
That alone is a compelling reason to adopt this technology,” he says.

“It is culturally acceptable
to use a palm device or cell telephone at a meeting and refer to it,” continues
Fletcher. “They are unobtrusive where a standard Windows PC is more distracting.”

Arbill sales reps have
found that using this type of technology in front of their customers creates
a positive image for the company, according to Copeland. “Right in front
of the customer they can see the kind of technology capabilities that we
have,” she says. “Our customers can see we are innovative, that we are fast
paced. The more information I can provide to the salespeople and customers,
the better.” //

Neil Plotnick
is the author of “The IT Professional’s Guide to Managing Systems, Vendors
and End-Users.” He has supported a variety of computer systems in various
industries for more than 15 years. He can be reached at

[email protected]