Salesforce.com has announced it is making its social tool Chatter available for mobile devices within the next several months.
Chatter Mobile offers much of the same functionality that’s available with the desktop version of Chatter, which was generally released in June.
Chatter is a real-time social collaboration application and platform for the enterprise, allowing employees to create profiles, and send feeds and status updates about projects, account and clients. When it was made generally available, Chatterlaunched with some 50 apps in AppExchange, including suchofferings as ServiceMax Suite and ServiceMax Chatter Volume, whichtrack field service activities; FinancialForce Accounting andChatterbox, an accounting solution; and Cloud Apps Carbon ’10, whichhelps companies identify ways to reduce operating costs.
Chatter Mobile apps for BlackBerry devices, iPads, iPhones and the new iPodtouch are scheduled to become available in late 2010. Chatter Mobile forAndroid devices is scheduled for release in the first half of 2011.
Chatter Mobile users will be able to monitor posts from colleagues and alertsfrom apps, as well as post status updates and comment on relevantconversations.
The Chatter Mobile interface has a different look and feel, because it was builtnatively for mobile device platforms, Sean Whiteley, vice president of products and marketing atSalesforce.com Chatter, told CRM Buyer.
For example, a finger-spreading gesture can be used to preview a sales presentation on the iPad, he said. “You can also traverse someone’s social graph right from the feed in that way.”
Customization is also very easy. “You can configure who or whatinformation you want to follow any way you please,” noted Whiteley. “Itemson your dashboard, opportunities — all of these objects have a feed.”
These differences in user interaction, in general, are driving more ofthe company’s customers to access Salesforce.com’s functionality viatheir mobile devices, he said.
Flocking to Mobile
There is something to this theory of mobile apps driving adoption,says Nucleus Research Vice President Rebecca Wettemann.
“We have seen that more ourselves — as mobile devices and theaccompanying CRM apps become easier to use, people prefer them,” shetold CRM Buyer.
That’s due to a couple of factors — the ubiquity of the devices, and the ability to use them in the field — that is, at client sites oron the road.
“That means more time spent with the customer,” said Wettemann.
Chatter is a particularly apt example. “It is a push model, sorather than forcing people to look for the information they want –which can be cumbersome even with a smart device — it alerts userswhen new information is available,” Wettemann said. “I don’t have to ask how is my account doing — I get the information when there is activity.”
It is particularly useful for managers, she pointed out, who are notified when an action is needed.
It is useful for roving sales reps visiting clients with whom theyhope to expand a relationship, observed Wettemann, because the rep can follow all relevant posts to that client — including possible service issues. “There is nothing worse for a sales rep than towalk into a sales call and be facing a client that is having a serviceissue which the rep knows nothing about.”
It is this kind of functionality that people are looking for in thecollaboration space, THINKstrategies Managing Director Jeff Kaplan told CRM Buyer.
“I think we can expect to see more of these apps in the CRM space as Chatter takesoff on mobile,” he predicted.