Today, let me address the growing desire to couple mobile phones to the company’s CRM data. The easiest and cheapest way is simply to use the built-in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Outlook Client feature. It supports all versions of Microsoft CRM (OnPremise, Hosted and Online). This approach involves no additional cost, training or effort to set up. For many small companies where the mobile requirement is not complex, this approach does the job.
However, if your company has a more complex structure or you need more features, here are two 3rd party solutions I can recommend:
1. c360 Mobile CRM for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 – supports Microsoft Pocket PC phones; http://www.c360.com/MobileCRM.aspx
2. TenDigits MobileAccess for Dynamics CRM – supports both BlackBerry and Pocket PC phones; http://www.tendigits.com
Here’s an interesting case history that evolved into a mobile phone situation:
One of our clients with five employees in the executive recruiting industry had been using Encore Recruiting Software, an industry-specific application for the recruiting industry. We helped them switch over to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 for two reasons:
1. Microsoft CRM worked natively within Outlook – much easier to operate since they no longer had to switch between managing their emails, contacts, appointments (Microsoft Outlook) and managing their Searches and Candidates using Encore.
2. Microsoft CRM was much easier and lower cost to customize to their particular business. Despite the industry-specific nature of the Encore Recruiting Software, the functions they needed on a daily basis were easily replicated with Microsoft CRM "out of the box" when properly set up.
After this switchover, Microsoft CRM quickly became their primary operational system. It managed their Companies and Contacts. It managed their Search Projects. It seamlessly linked the Candidates (Contacts) to the Searches and Search activities. The client was extremely happy with their investment – it was clear their new Microsoft CRM system would support their business for many years to come.
Now the mobile part. As you can guess, the Recruiting/Search industry is very "Relationship Oriented." The client’s team members need to have quick and easy access to all their Contacts (both business and personal). Obviously, it would be a great benefit if they could access their database from their mobile phones, eliminating delays on the road. With Microsoft CRM, all their business contacts are already centralized and are easily shared/synchronized with their Outlook contacts. Further, each user can define which CRM contacts (business contacts) they want to synchronize with their Outlook.
The last step is the Microsoft Outlook to mobile connection which is straightforward. We did the initial design and set up, followed by a little training, and the client now can synchronize their cell phones with their corporate Outlook data. The process is so simple that they can administer and maintain this on their own going forward.
In summary, here’s the approach for mobile integration with Microsoft CRM:
1. Setup and try-out the Microsoft CRM Outlook Client to mobile phone synch. If this is good enough, go with this approach.
2. If not, if you are using BlackBerry, check out TenDigits MobileAccess for Dynamics CRM. Or if you are using Pocket PC, check out c360 Mobile CRM for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0.