Hosted CRM service provider Salesforce.com will announce next week increased support for access to its customer relationship management applications from wireless devices, according to sources close to the company.
The centerpiece of the new service, to be known as Salesforce.com Wireless Edition, is a partnership with Dejima Inc. to use its Dejima Direct wireless data interaction platform to access data from the Salesforce.com service.
Salesforce.com customers will be able to enter natural language queries into Research in Motion Ltd. Blackberry devices. Dejima Direct will convert those natural language queries into SQL queries of the Salesforce.com database. Relevant customer data will then be transmitted back to the Blackberry device in the form of a short e-mail message. The offering is targeted to traveling salespeople working remotely who otherwise dont have real-time access to their Salesforce.com data.
Siebel Systems Inc. and SAP AG also use Dejima Direct to provide mobile access to their sales force automation applications. Dejima, of San Jose, Calif., and San Francisco-based Salesforce.com first announced plans to work together in April.
While Salesforce.com previously supported wireless access via Palm OS devices, Wireless Edition will extend that support to PocketPC devices as well.
Joe Outlaw, research director at Gartner Inc., said the hosted CRM services have traditionally been weak in supporting wireless access for mobile workers. Among other hosted CRM services, Salesnet Inc. has built its Salesnet Wireless service around the Blackberry and UpShot Corp. supports access via Blackberry devices, Palm and PocketPC devices and wireless phone browsers.
Salesforce.com Wireless Edition will be free to subscribers of Salesforce.coms Enterprise Edition service. It will cost an additional $195 per year for Salesforce.com Professional Edition customers. Wireless network service fees are not included.