Mobile CRM solutions are becoming a must-have for sales reps, but most require a network connection to work best. eFrontech wanted to give mobile users a seamless experience—both online and offline.
eFrontech built Aero–an innovative app that puts CRM information and functionality in mobile users' hands, harnessing the power of IBM® Cloudant® to synchronize data with back-end systems in real time.
Boostssales rep productivity with easy access to CRM data, anytime and anywhere
Reduceseffort and risk associated with manual data synchronization
Createsvaluable competitive advantage for eFrontech, helping it win new clients
Business challenge story
Taking mobile CRM to the next level
Today, more and more companies are harnessing the power of mobile applications to support their sales efforts. Tools such as mobile CRM are changing the face of business, allowing sales teams to access a wealth of data while out in the field meeting prospects and customers.
However, the problem with many mobile apps is that their performance is often all too reliant on mobile or Wi-Fi network quality. If the network connection drops, users can be left staring at loading screens and unable to access the information they need—a less-than-ideal situation for a sales rep who is about to head into an important pitch to a prospective customer, for example.
eFrontech recognized that while there was an abundance of mobile CRM apps on the market, few of them offered a truly integrated and responsive offline mode. The company knew that if it could fill this gap in the market, it could remove a major source of frustration for clients, all while gaining a valuable edge on competitors.
Julien Delouvée, Associate Director of eFrontech, takes up the story: “One of our clients' key issues with existing mobility solutions from CRM vendors was that the offline performance simply wasn't good enough. When you are a sales rep working with a customer, every second counts, and even short delays in accessing information can cause a lot of annoyance and inconvenience—the data just needs to be there, whether you are online or not.
“We also realized that most CRM apps with an offline mode were not as seamlessly integrated with back-end systems as our clients would have liked. This meant that users had to manage data synchronization manually, replicating any changes they had made to data while in offline mode on their mobile app to their company's source systems once they got back online. Not only did this create extra work for users, it also introduced a degree of risk: as companies could not guarantee that data was being regularly synchronized, it was possible that they could be working with incomplete or outdated CRM information.”
Embracing the offline approach
To turn its vision into reality, eFrontech looked for a flexible platform that would allow the company to start small and then scale rapidly as usage of the app took off.
“We looked at most of the main NoSQL database technologies, and IBM Cloudant soon emerged as the frontrunner," says Julien Delouvée. “Using a database-as-a-service was a must-have—we are integrators, not database administrators, and we didn't want to dedicate time and resources to managing an in-house platform. Choosing Cloudant means that we don’t have to worry about the database, so we can focus on delivering great solutions for our clients. And being backed by a serious vendor like IBM is a great advantage—it helps us show our clients that we are working with such a major IT leader, and it gives us great peace of mind to know that IBM is taking care of data management and security.”
Supported by the powerful, cloud-based Cloudant platform, eFrontech was able to rapidly launch Aero—its new mobile CRM app. Aero facilitates complete offline use of CRM solutions from Salesforce, Oracle and Microsoft by taking advantage of Cloudant’s ability to replicate and synchronize data between mobile devices and clients' central CRM solutions.
Julien Delouvée comments: “Aero is very different from other mobile CRM solutions in that it takes an offline-first approach. We built the app with the idea that offline was the default mode, which means that all data is placed in cache and instantly available—regardless of whether the device is connected to a network. The result is that users experience no loss of performance, functionality or data availability in offline mode.
“Behind the scenes, data synchronization happens automatically and seamlessly. Once the app is open and there is a network connection, it will instantly start to sync any data that has changed since it was last online with the central CRM system. We have been very impressed with how easily Cloudant manages the synchronization, especially because we know what a complex process this is!”
eFrontech is already seeing strong uptake of the Aero app among its existing client base, and anticipates that it could draw in thousands of prospective users in the near future.
Helping clients succeed
Today, eFrontech is empowering its clients' sales teams with instant access to CRM data, anytime and anywhere—keeping them informed, engaged and productive.
“It’s very important for our clients to keep sales reps happy and productive, so they can focus on building good relationships with customers and prospects, and maximize sales efforts,” notes Julien Delouvée. “Aero allows sales reps to take advantage of the efficiency and organization of a viable CRM system while on the go, all without having to worry about caching and synchronizing the information they need.
“And as data synchronization is now automated and consistent, it reduces the risk of conflicts. When users had to sync data themselves, typically they would only do this once or twice a day; for instance, when they got home after work. Synchronizing such large volumes of data all at once naturally created some risk. In contrast, having a solution that syncs more often and with less data at a time reduces the risk of conflicts or issues occurring.”
eFrontech’s innovative solution is already capturing the attention of the company’s technology partners and prospective clients, and has the potential to bring in valuable new business.
Julien Delouvée states: “We believe that Aero responds to a growing need in the CRM market for a mobility solution that offers full offline access, and that it will serve as a valuable competitive differentiator for us. We are seeing a great deal of interest, particularly on the Salesforce side— it is seen as a great complementary solution to the Salesforce1 app when a great deal of data needs to be made available offline. Aero is becoming a great driver for new business.”
Bolstered by its early success, eFrontech is currently exploring ways to bring even greater capabilities to the mobile app, such as taking advantage of IBM Cloudant to incorporate geospatial data into Aero. This could help clients to better visualize and understand how customer, product and other business data are impacted by geography, driving more effective sales and customer service.
Established in 2000, eFrontech is a computer services company that specializes in client experience, customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence solutions. eFrontech provides a wide range of solutions and services in support of CRM offerings from Oracle and Salesforce.
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