The Mobile Era – a term Marc Benioff used to describe the shift in technology about a year ago – may be a step behind us with the emergence of the Social Enterprise, but there is still much to be said about the way we use our phones as a means of sharing information. Think back to Dreamforce ’10 when Benioff paced the aisles to point out the number of iPhones, Androids and Blackberries lit up in the crowd. Clicking from app to app, surfing the web, and uploading photos and videos… it’s obvious that our cell phones are being used as mini-computers. How often do you use your phone to actually make a call these days?
Using a mobile device as a means to access information is not breaking news… However, the constant race for answers in an advanced and unique method is rapidly accelerating. So, how are businesses keeping up with this fast-paced trend?
Several websites and programs have a corresponding mobile app that you can download from application marketplaces. Salesforce’s free Mobile Lite and full-version apps give you instant access to your org’s data on your device, and the mobile Chatter app allows for more productivity than ever before. You’d be surprised at the amount of results that turn up when searching the word “Salesforce” in the iTunes App Store. Here at Internet Creations we’re developing mobile apps that will enhance process efficiency for our current offerings on the AppExchange. We’re exploring features that are mobile-specific, and developing ideas for apps that will perform functions that were at one point not possible (more info coming soon!)
Companies are recognizing that there is a shift in the way we access information, and they’re following suit in order to stay in the game. But in addition to just offering on-the-go data, most mobile apps support a unique functionality due to the nature of what that little device in your hand can actually do.
Location Tracking: What is it, and why is it important?
This feature is crucial in today’s market. The ability of your mobile device to determine your location adds utility that is transforming the way we use our phones. Applications like Twitter and Yelp that felt primarily like web-based programs when they originated are now leveraging the location tracking feature for increased functionality. People who have downloaded these free apps are using them as a means to gain more specific on-the-go information. If you’re hungry but not sure where to eat, you can use the Yelp app to search restaurants in your area, read reviews, and even determine what to order based on recommendations from people like you. Dozens of app creators are following suit, and businesses ignoring the notion of going mobile are missing out.
The rise of the Q&A App and Customer Service
The idea that companies and their agents/reps can tap into social networks to connect with customers is the overall theme of the Social Enterprise, and mobile devices are the primary tools involved. Q&A Apps create a platform for people to openly discuss topics in a forum-like setting. Several applications have Q&A-like features, such as Twitter, and are being utilized by businesses to respond to customers’ questions in real-time as a means of delivering a response on a more personal level. Creating open lines of involved conversation between the business and the customer is the driving force behind the increase in these apps that we’re seeing in the marketplace.
Taking Salesforce data and functions to a mobile platform is crucial for many users. Without a doubt, there is a high demand for companies and developers to create mobile versions of their Salesforce-integrated apps to perform tasks that either need to be completed outside of the office, or have a specific functionality unique to an iPhone, Android, or Blackberry. What are some of the other mobile-specific features you could utilize to enhance your product offering to the mobile app marketplace?
Get involved! Feel free to comment and share with us any products on the AppExchange that have a unique mobile compatibility to make more use of our Salesforce investment.