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Salesforce Expands Smartphone Support

Salesforce.com today announced Mobile and Mobile Lite services that gives customers of Salesforce CRM access to the most popular basic services via their smartphone. Salesforce is launching it with support for Windows Mobile phones, BlackBerry phones and the Apple iPhone.

Mobile Lite is a free version with limited functionality, while Mobile is the full-featured version for Salesforce.com Unlimited Edition customers. Subscribers with a Professional or Enterprise subscription may use Mobile for an extra fee, or use Mobile Lite freely.

Mobile offers connectivity between both the Sales Cloud and Service Cloud. The Sales Cloud is a collaboration application that connects the sales and marketing groups across the enterprise, while the Service Cloud is the next generation of customer service applications.

Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) has been available for iPhone for some time, but in limited fashion. Mobile Lite is more in-depth than what Salesforce has offered in the past, and it's on Windows Mobile and BlackBerry for the first time.

The idea of accessing a complex system like CRM software on the tiny screen of a smart phone may seem unreasonable, but Chuck Dietrich, vice president of Salesforce Mobile, says there is growing interest in having an alternative to booting up the laptop and looking for Wi-Fi access.

"We've gotten a lot of case studies back that say customers are getting more done in a day" with mobile access, he told InternetNews.com. The service is meant to augment but not replace notebooks, he added.

"It's definitely not meant as a replacement for your laptop. We have a handful of customers using handheld devices as their sole interface, but I think that's the exception," said Dietrich.

Mobile in action

The most common use by customers that have tested the service is to look up data and perform activity against that data, said Dietrich. From their smart phone, Salesforce CRM customers can log calls and e-mails, update activities and tasks and view account and contact details, leads, opportunities, cases, solutions, assets, and dashboards.

Sales Cloud provides access to customer data, allowing for reviewing account information and seeing customer queries. Pending problems or sales opportunities alike can be viewed from the phone.

With Service Cloud, customer relationship management can be done through review of cases and problems, tasks and activities involving the customer, and checking the calendar of events as it relates to the customer. Mobile offers much greater access to all records and data, while Mobile Lite is limited in certain ways, such as only certain objects or records.

Mobile Lite is free and available now for Salesforce CRM Professional Edition, Enterprise Edition and Unlimited Edition customers. Professional Edition and Enterprise Edition customers can upgrade to the full mobile version of Salesforce CRM for an additional $50 per user per month. Mobile is free for Ultimate Edition customers.