In a recent Enterprise Apps Today interview, Dresner Advisory Services founder and president Howard Dresners said cloud computing, mobile technologies, and collaborative capabilities are combining to become a kind of super trend, because the three things complement each other so well.
You don’t want to be constrained by time or location when collaborating with colleagues, so doing it on a mobile device just makes sense. And thanks to Apple and its wildly successful App Store, you also expect to be able to download and access applications whenever and wherever you need them.
Dresner isn’t the only one who thinks so. Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff has long been a proponent of the cloud and created an enterprise appetite for it with his company’s flagship CRM application. More recently, Benioff has been pushing to make Chatter a go-to enterprise collaboration platform.
Benioff also introduced the company’s AppExchange in 2005, three years before Apple rolled out its App Store. The AppExchange currently includes 1,300 applications and has logged more than a million downloads.
Now AppExchange is going mobile. As Mike Rosenbaum, SVP of Salesforce’s AppExchange and Platform Operations, writes in a blog post, “the explosion in devices, apps and user expectations made us realize that we needed to create and support a new unique mobile experience.”
Users accessing AppExchange via a mobile device will be presented with an experience tailored to the relevant mobile platform. They’ll be able to access some 40 mobile apps, many of which were announced by Salesforce partners in a stream of press releases issued during this week’s Cloudforce event in New York City. AppExchange supports both native and HTML5 apps on either Android or iOS.
Here’s a rundown of a few of the mobile apps now available on Saleforce’s AppExchange:
Cameleon Mobile Configurator. For iPad and iPhone users, this app allows them to create customized quotes and proposals while on the go, with all information automatically saved in Salesforce CRM. Once back in the office, sales reps can access the data, edit it, create formal PDF quotes or finalize it for the customer.
ScanBizCards Business Card Reader. From ScanBiz Mobile Solutions, this iPhone and Android mobile app allows users to snap photos of business cards, scan them, and add them to their contacts, with no need to manually enter information. Cards can also be exported to Salesforce CRM, Data.com or Excel. Additional features include the capability to schedule a follow-up appointment, with automatic integration to a phone's calendar. Users can also subscribe to a web sync service which backs up card data, keeps multiple devices in sync, and offers a full desktop application via a web interface. A Windows Phone version is currently in development.
FinancialForce Timecards for the iPhone. For users of FinancialForce Professional Services Automation (PSA), this app allows consultants employed by professional services organizations to record their time, view the status of timecards, match time to each assignment and post information to project walls enabled by Salesforce Chatter. According to FinancialForce, billing, project reporting and resource management become more efficient, thanks to the speedy entry of time data. Chatter also facilitates communication, replacing emails, voice mails and conference calls with Chatter streams that become part of an audit trail for each project.
ConnectSocial for Salesforce. From Infuze Mobile, ConnectSocial for Salesforce integrates Salesforce contacts and leads with LinkedIn, so users can access all of their LinkedIn and Salesforce information in one place. It can be used on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
Xactly Express for iPad. This self-service sales compensation management software designed specifically for SMBs employs a guided workflow to enable users with little or no compensation administration experience to create sales commission plans, calculate commissions and export payments to payroll. It also allows sales reps to track quota progress and payments and includes the ability to swipe between monthly, quarterly or yearly quota views; follow quarterly or annual pay-outs; and track company sales to new customers.
GroupLogic mobilEcho. This app enables IT organizations to rapidly install and provide managed mobile file management for iPad and iPhone users so on-the-road employees can securely retrieve up-to-date files and information from the corporate file server.