Let Your Data Do the Walking - Page 4

Nov 9, 2000

- Staff

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

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