Alpha Software Blog

Mobile CRM’s Missing Link: Data Integration Between Apps and Legacy Systems

Mobile customer relationship management (CRM) software is growing like gangbusters - Gartner has said that mobile CRM likely grew by 500% between 2013 and 2014. But that doesn't mean that there aren't problems with the technology. An article in SearchCRM titled "CRM data integration still hobbles mobile" warns that poor data integration between mobile CRM apps and backend and legacy systems can cause serious problems for enterprises.SearchCRM

The main issue is that companies want to get a complete, 360-degree view of each customer, which means getting data from every possible source in the enterprise. That requires getting data sources to talk to mobile CRM apps. But data silos often makes that impossible.

Why Data Access Is Vital for Mobile CRM Apps

Denis Pombriant, managing principal at Beagle Research, told SearchCRM, "Business processes are becoming more complex and the old siloed approach is more appropriate for simple transactions. Increasingly, businesses want and need CRM to support not just their transactions but their end-to-end processes, and you can't do that if all your data is fragmented."

One problem is that many CRM mobile apps aren't designed well for mobile devices. They focus on squeezing an old, desktop interface onto a small mobile screen rather than re-imagining what's important for mobile --- and on spending the time and effort on data integration.

Kate Leggett, analyst at Forrester Research, told SearchCRM, "Some vendors ... are taking their capabilities and shoehorning them into their mobile form factor. But it's a different process, a shorter conversation" when someone uses mobile CRM compared to a desktop-based system.

Companies that do mobile CRM right by integrating data among multiple systems see big payoffs. The article points to one success: North State Communications, a telecom provider in the Southeast, integrates data from many sources,  into its mobile CRM system, including digital signature software, an internal collaboration tool, and external services such as Foursquare and Instagram.

Integrating data from multiple sources may seem daunting when you're building a mobile app. But it can be easier than it seems. Alpha Anywhere has been built for data integration. It has its own built-in database engine but provides comprehensive back-end data access via native drivers for virtually all major database back-ends including Microsoft SQL Server, Access, Excel, My SQL, Oracle, DB2, and many more. And you can also easily connect to external environments including DLLs, OLE/ActiveX, .NET and web services, or your SQL database.

Learn more about how Alpha Anywhere helps mobile app developers easily integrate with corporate data and legacy systems.
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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.