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Can You Support Your Mobile Sales Force?

by Jagdish Bansiya | insiderPROFILES

October 1, 2010

Enterprises mobilize their CRM solutions to meet a variety of goals — from improving resource planning to decreasing sales cycle times. Learn how Sybase Mobile Sales for SAP Customer Relationship Management can help your organization realize its goals, and get an exclusive look at how the push-based architecture behind these co-innovated solutions works.
 

For many organizations, the sales process begins — and ends — with SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM). And, with sales forces that are constantly on the move, ensuring that this CRM functionality is as mobile as they are is a key to success. Enterprises mobilize their CRM solutions to meet a variety of goals, including:

  • Improving resource planning
  • Increasing field selling time
  • Eliminating redundant activities
  • Increasing win rates
  • Reducing sales call cost
  • Increasing forecast accuracy
  • Decreasing the amount of time spent on administration
  • Decreasing sales cycle times

Give mobile users only
the exact information that requires their attention.

Sybase Mobile Sales for SAP CRM can help enterprises realize these goals. Sybase Mobile Sales for SAP CRM, as well as Sybase Mobile Workflow for SAP Business Suite, speeds and standardizes efforts to deploy mobile SAP applications so they are accessible from a range of mobile devices, including BlackBerry, iPhone, and Windows Mobile. Let’s take a closer look at the push-based architecture behind these co-innovated solutions, which were the first joint solutions introduced by SAP and Sybase.

Push-Based Architecture Mobilizes SAP Business Applications

Engineering teams from both SAP and Sybase worked together to extend the capabilities of the Sybase Unwired Platform — Sybase’s mobile enterprise architecture for application development — to connect to and integrate with SAP software beyond existing interface and web services-based capabilities. Now, the Sybase Unwired Platform also connects to the push capabilities of SAP NetWeaver Mobile 7.1.

This push-based architecture (shown below) ensures highly scalable and responsive mobile access and usage. The Sybase Mobile Sales and Sybase Mobile Workflow solutions are both built on this architecture and other SAP applications can also be mobilized with it.

Push-Based Architecture

SAP and Sybase co-developed a single platform to mobilize SAP business processes and other applications — synchronizing data as it flows to and from SAP CRM and the mobile device


A push-based architecture is valuable for mobile business applications because it streamlines the end-user workflow process — in which essential information appears on the end users’ smartphones without a request.

“To be responsive, users need only the exact information that requires their attention,” says Senthil Krishnapilai, Director of Product Management at Sybase. “Our always-available architecture notifies the user of the right information at the right time, without any unnecessary clutter.”

In addition, rather than transferring all features and functions to the mobile device, Sybase Mobile Sales and Sybase Mobile Workflow migrate just the most commonly used features that sales teams need when they are out in the field, while still maintaining enterprise application best practices (see the sidebar below). Enterprises are not limited to these features, however; they can customize their mobile applications by adding fields or processes.

Bluefin Solutions Mobilizes SAP CRM to Realize Sales Pipeline Opportunities

When John Appleby, head of technology at Bluefin Solutions, heard SAP was integrating SAP CRM with the Sybase Unwired Platform, he shelved his company’s plans to build its own mobility solution and adopted Sybase Mobile Sales for SAP CRM. Within a few months, the sales team had the mobile capability it needed.

Bluefin salespeople rely on their iPhones all day, every day, for business and personal use. Having Sybase Mobile Sales on their smartphones and laptops is not only a continuous, visible CRM reminder for salespeople, it’s also a handy entry point for updating sales and customer information while out in the field. A single click opens Sybase Mobile Sales, giving salespeople full access to SAP CRM accounts, contacts, leads, opportunities, activities, and analytics from their mobile devices.

This functionality helped Bluefin meet its goal of improving opportunity management — that is, its ability to define upcoming resource requirements and recruitment needs.

“Having the sales team update customer data in a day rather than weeks increases our visibility into our pipeline, so we can better understand resource needs and challenges,” says Appleby.

This improved visibility and understanding of the pipeline also triggers processes, such as recruitment, at Bluefin, and helps the company deliver solutions more effectively. For example, when the management team notices an increased volume of certain sales in the pipeline, managers can begin recruiting specialists for specific client projects. Having this information in advance ensures that Bluefin can add or reduce staff as needed, and having the ability to assign resources as client volume increases helps Bluefin control its operating expenses.

A key to obtaining this information was Bluefin’s ability to customize its mobile SAP CRM deployment by adding key fields: project start date, project end date, sales stage, and likelihood of sale. Adding these four fields took about three hours of development work plus testing, and allowed the business to obtain exactly the information it needed.

Setting a Mobile Standard Speeds Deployment

Sybase Mobile Sales for SAP CRM and Sybase Mobile Workflow for SAP Business Suite are only the first of many mobility announcements for SAP and Sybase. Because the mobile foundation has been tested and proven, mobilizing other SAP applications will be relatively straightforward — especially with the software development kit and other enhancements included in the latest release of the Sybase Unwired Platform.

The ultimate challenge will be supporting mobile applications while the industry is still evolving. New smartphone devices are entering the market every quarter, employees come and go, and business priorities are often re-aligned. But having the Sybase Unwired Platform at the foundation of mobile SAP applications allows enterprises to adapt to these changes without needing to completely rewrite code. Most importantly, this framework defines a standard strategy for rolling out additional SAP applications. Bluefin is already considering how it might mobilize other SAP applications and how it can leverage their mobile experience for its clients. Manufacturing, transportation, retail, and distribution are some areas that Appleby says have lots of potential.

“Having that framework means we do not have single point solutions,” says Appleby. “We can introduce mobile applications more quickly and efficiently for our employees and clients.” Bluefin will begin working with Sybase Mobile Workflow next, and Appleby predicts he may be able to cut two days out of the monthly cycle for invoice and timesheet approvals.

For Bluefin, mobilizing its SAP applications is providing the opportunity management functionality the company  wanted, and it is primed to make mobility a part of every business application.

Learn More

To learn more about how these co-innovated solutions can work for your company, visit www.sybase.com/SAP and www.bluefinsolutions.com.

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