The consumerization of IT isn’t something that’s coming — it’s here. IT managers have little choice but to support the demands of mobile users in the multi-touch device era, which was kicked off by Steve Jobs when he famously rejected the idea of a stylus in his design concept for the next generation smart phone.
If CRM vendors aren’t scrambling to accelerate the release of iPad apps and/or make improvements to the functionality of their existing iPad apps, they should be. A quantum shift in the preferred device for mobile CRM users has already taken place, right before our eyes.
Salesforce CRM iPad App
Salesforce.com’s major mobile device initiative is touch.salesforce.com. Rather than being developed as an iPad specific app, Salesforce Touch is being designed to automatically adapt to any multi-touch mobile device, including ones that haven’t even been dreamt up yet. Based on the promo video, Salesforce Touch will support both online and offline capability in a seamless way.
Salesforce Touch is in beta and there will be enhancements to the beta version in the Winter ’13 Release (fall of 2012).
In the meantime, Force.com Labs has released the free (and unsupported) ForcePad. This has been an over one year development project that was recently open sourced. The project can be found on GitHub and the lead developer, Jonathan Hersh, is encouraging community participation.
The interface deploys stackable screens, in the same vein of the stackable screens that are used in the Twitter and Facebook iPad apps. Salesforce for iPad is an online-only app and it connects to a Salesforce org via the public APIs that are available to any Salesforce developer.
There are also third party iPad solutions for Salesforce users such as one called ForceMob from BlueCloud systems.
Microsoft CRM iPad App
Update: With its December 2012 Service Update, Microsoft has released an optimized version of Microsoft CRM Online for iPad.
In the following video, there is a detailed tour of the iPad solution for Microsoft Dynamics CRM:
Other iPad solutions for Microsoft Dynamics CRM include one from Resco.
SugarCRM iPad App
The second is Sugar Mobile Plus, which includes a native client for iPad. Data is synched down to the local device.
Early in 2012, Sage released the Sage CRM for Tablets beta. On iPad, this uses the standard, Safari browser, but a component on the Sage CRM side detects the iPad user agent string and renders a browser experience that’s optimized for tablet devices.
Oracle CRM On Demand iPad App
Oracle America has published an iPad client for CRM On Demand called Oracle CRM iSales.
For the remainder of 2012, we will likely see rapid innovation in the area of iPad apps for CRM systems. Users have voted with their device purchases — CRM vendors and IT managers must respond.