Hosted CRM service provider Salesforce.com Inc. last week announced increased support for access to its customer relationship management applications from wireless devices.
The centerpiece of the Salesforce.com Wireless Edition service 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, and Dejima Direct will convert those 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 at traveling salespeople working remotely who lack 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.
Salesforce.com supports wireless access via Palm OS devices, and Wireless Edition will extend support to Pocket PC devices.
Joe Outlaw, an analyst at Gartner Inc., in Stamford, Conn., said the hosted CRM services have traditionally been weak in supporting wireless access for mobile workers.
"Historically, the online hosted apps have been weak in their level of support for the mobile worker whos not connected," Outlaw said.
The Wireless Edition
Salesforce.com customer Mike Bauer, northern region vice president of sales and marketing at Siemens Power Transmission & Distribution Inc., in Richmond, Va., said his department wasnt looking to make the jump to Wireless Edition right away.
"Well look at [Wireless Edition], but the deployment of wireless applications hasnt been all that pervasive here yet," Bauer said. "We really dont do order entry remotely. Most of our projects are long-term contracts of a substantial size. Its not really the same for us as it might be for other organizations."
Salesforce.com Wireless Edition is free to subscribers of Salesforce.coms Enterprise Edition service. It costs an additional $195 per year for Salesforce.com Professional Edition customers. Wireless network service fees are not included.