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Mobile CRM is still more Theory than a Practice.

by Michael Maoz  |  February 17, 2011  |  2 Comments

OK, so I can order a table at a restaurant and get a ticket on a plane and scan my boarding pass, blah blah blah. And it is not as though the technology does not exist, nor is it too expensive, to do great things. It is a failure of the will to greatness. Don’t even try to convince me otherwise. Well, please try. Has there ever been more corporate emphasis on hoarding cash, buying back stock, cutting IT budgets and forcing centralized project templates?

Greatness requires vision and commitment in equal measure, and what I observe is a commitment to bottom line costs and top line short-termism. We seem to be moving away from that classic product development grid developed long ago by the Boston Consulting Group that showed that, while we push the maturing product into market, and nurture the mature, we innovate new products for down the road.

Just look around you: why do the Technical Support departments from the companies whose products you own know so little about your devices? Why don’t they remotely troubleshoot your mobile gadgets, iPhones, tablets, set top boxes, remotes, automobiles? Why don’t they push videos to you that will solve your problems? Where is the proactive advice or business rule for you when you are in the pharmacy or at the mechanic or with a physician? Where is the targeted profile of your true account value when you are renting that car? Where is your grocery list as an App on your mobile device, and why does baggage handling not KNOW exactly where your luggage is?

And consumers / employees are doing their part. My company, for example, does not forbid the use of the iPad, but neither does it support it. Then why are several hundred detected on our network? When I was with a client two weeks ago, they showed me a report of 89 separate types of mobile device in the hands of their field service technicians. Why is that interesting? Because they support only four device types.  Across the Globe employees and customers are way ahead of corporate IT – and this crowd rolls their (our) eyes at the glacial pace of innovation.

Wake up – this need be no dream: take small and meaningful bets on mobile. Where there is vision there is the chance for greatness. What does a CIO have to lose? Most stay in their jobs under five years anyway – might as well poke the status quo right in the eye.

Category: applications  crm  customer-centric-web  innovation-and-customer-experience  leadership  saas-and-cloud-computing  social-crm  social-networking  social-software  strategic-planning  

Tags: mobile-crm  

Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Mobile CRM is still more Theory than a Practice.

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  2. David Fulton says:

    Great blog post Michael! There are I think two distinct threads to your observations on this mobile CRM topic – one talks to the enterprise (where surprise surprise, IS and other enablers are under the illusion that they retain control over the devices that people use and the manner in which they are used) and the other talks to mobile CRM outside of the enterprise. I’m not even going to add anything on the former (you hit the nail on the head) other than commenting that I’m lucky to be at one of the more enlightened enterprises that has given up on any semblance of explicit control, allowing their users to use any mobile device that they wish to use, even their personal devices, as long as the data on that device that is work related is secured. Ultimately that moves support away from the device and more to the OS/Browser. I don’t think that we should hold our breath waiting for that to become the norm in the enterprise. There can’t have been too many CIOs to date that have made it beyond that magical 5 year mark by giving up control!

    The picture is in my eyes a little better on the consumer side. No-one is going to argue there that the consumer is the one in control and businesses need to adapt or die. Ultimately, those mobile enhanced experiences will find a market if they save the consumer time, the business money and ultimately hold out the opportunity of someone with a clever idea making a buck or two. Is it going to be the small business owner like your local pharmacy or mechanic delivering any of the promise of mobile CRM? Unlikely. Not unless their entire existence is threatened by competitors who get mobile and its promise. In their minds, by providing a local service they are already providing a pretty compelling offering. Ultimately, when the promise of mobile means that all experiences could be considered local, at least to the device that you are holding, and there we might see a change in attitudes. Don’t get too despondent though! In the last few months I’ve been pretty amazed at what our own customers have been doing with mobile. We are seeing higher adoption rates for a number of our capabilities, like guided assistance, on the mobile browser than we’ve seen on conventional support experiences. Our customers, perhaps by being mobile consumers themselves first and foremost are seeing the opportunities for providing cost effective and differentiating experiences on mobile first. Currently the bulk of the consumer CRM experience space has been hardwired to think the other way around, and mobile can be an oversight for many businesses, even though firms like Gartner have been challenging that way of thinking in your predictions for 2013 and beyond. Ultimately mobile customers once they reach a critical mass will vote with their feet (or is it their fingers?) and change the way we think about Mobile CRM at a speed that will surprise many businesses, with the surprise being terminal for some.

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