By Stuart Dickinson
How times are changing. In 1997 the all-conquering Microsoft bailed out an ailing Apple to the tune of US$150 million. Fast forward to today and the roles of David and Goliath are rapidly switching – all thanks to the frenzy surrounding mobility. After bettering Microsoft’s market capitalisation and its quarterly revenues back in 2010, the Cupertino-based corporation has now surpassed its quarterly profits. In the Apple quarter ending March 26, Steve Jobs and co. stacked up profits of US$5.99 billion, while Microsoft’s most recent quarter managed (only) US$5.23 billion. Apple’s market capitalisation first topped Microsoft’s in June last year. While Microsoft continues to struggle to gain traction with its Windows 7 mobile platform, some of Apple’s biggest sales over the quarter were iPhones and iPads.
Much of Apple’s meteoric resurrection has grown on the back of our thirst for personal mobile computing, but with the arrival of the iPad there are signs that the buying decisions at an organisational level are also ‘moving mobile’. I have counselled previously that any company wishing to go down this route needs to support its thinking with a hard-nosed understanding of the business benefits and a solid business case. The mobile device should come last in the decision sequence – after the establishment of the use case for the role and the actual applications to be mobilised.
Oxygen recently completed a rapid deployment of SAP CRM 7.0 at Integria Healthcare which, following some sound implementation principles, has provided the company with a sophisticated mobile CRM solution which its sales representatives can access on iPads. The implementation succeeded because the customer developed a clear use case, defined by role, prior to establishing which device the mobilised application would run on. Due to strong growth across all its geographies, Integria needed a mobile CRM solution that would let its sales reps manage their call cycles and provide them with up-to-date customer and sales information while on the road.
Prior to the implementation, Integria’s sales reps were running their calls with pen and paper. Orders were taken in an order book, and they had no visibility of customer or sales information. Integria’s sales manager struggled to marshal his reps because he had inadequate visibility of their sales activities, and only limited ability to plan their call cycle or assess their efficiency.
The new SAP CRM tool gives him a comprehensive view of all sales activities and will provide big efficiencies around call cycle planning, complaints handling and interaction logging. This will help improve the quality of Integria’s face time with customers and therefore sales overall.
Using our SmartStart implementation methodology, Oxygen completed the SAP CRM 7.0 project in just eight weeks. Integria had initially engaged with salesforce.com since it seemed the most pragmatic solution. However, after we demonstrated SAP CRM 7.0 and our SmartStart offering, they opted for SAP CRM, which was delivered in an integrated, transparent, quick and costeffective way.
The deployment of the browser-based solution on iPads was an extra bonus for Integria, allowing its sales reps to access the solution on the road. Access to a mobile device has also provided significant other benefits to the business, with a more coordinated approach to call management, calendaring and email responsiveness now being experienced.
Once the solution has settled in, Integria will most likely increase the footprint of CRM to its customer service, accounts and marketing teams. The success of the project was rooted in some clear thinking when it came to the advice on managing the implementation of mobility solutions – namely, the business requirements and the context of those requirements was well-understood. The application which most closely matched the business requirement was correctly identified and the business requirements were matched to the role. Finally, a ‘fit for purpose’ device was identified.
In addition, the roll-out started small as a way of assessing effectiveness and productivity. Now armed with this feedback, Integria can choose how they wish to extend the CRM capability – perhaps offering it as a mobile application to other business users. Apple’s appeal doesn’t rely solely on the invention of their good-looking mobile devices. Apple’s iOS and user interface design has been constantly evolving and remains fundamental to their good reputation.
Mobile deployments need to be highly structured and carefully managed. Mobility has strong business advantages in the enterprise space, but it also has the potential to pose serious risks if security and architecture issues are not identified and managed to a robust standard.
Stuart Dickinson is general manager, solution delivery for Oxygen Business Solutions.
This article was first published in Inside SAP Winter 2011.