First, Miyachi Unitek mobilized email.
And the response was "Wow!"
The few dozen Palm Treo 600s and 650s in the field have Good Mobile Messaging tied into the server, and adding mobile email to the mix has "helped efficiency," said Jim Malloy, a Miyachi Unitek vice president.
"Just having wireless email has saved us seven hours a week in productivity," he said.
But a few weeks ago, Miyachi Unitek -- a global supplier of equipment and systems for resistance welding, laser welding, laser marking, heat seal bonding and hermetic sealing -- took the deployment one step further, rolling out mobile salesforce.com to the sales team.
If mobile email boosted productivity, mobilizing its salesforce has shot it to the moon.
"I'm hoping to get the same 'Wow' factor," Malloy said, comparing the salesforce deployment with the mobile email rollout.
The sales team now has instant mobile access to contacts, leads, opportunities, reports and quotes, he said.
According to Malloy, sales opportunities move through the pipeline sooner, time with independent sales representatives is more productive, international travel is a breeze, and the response time has improved dramatically. Malloy added that the application was easy to deploy and support.
Malloy said that something that typically would have had to wait until the end of the day to be entered into salesforce.com can now be done on the fly, almost in real time. It takes roughly 10 minutes.
Tara Griffin, vice president of enterprise markets for Palm, said Miyachi Unitek's use of Palm Treos with advanced business applications is part of a growing trend in mobility. More and more applications are being pushed out to smartphones, upping productivity and efficiency and effectively making a handheld device a mobile office.
"This deployment shows, yes, mobile email is important," she said, but to compete globally, a company must do more to have an edge.
Griffin pointed to a recent Frost & Sullivan study which found that Treo smartphones used for businesses have an average ROI payback period of two months and that field agents experienced productivity gains that equaled $11,125 in average savings per agent each year.
In the study, Frost & Sullivan vice president Dan Colquhoun said, "Treo smartphone users reported significant productivity improvements; workflow efficiency gains; the ability to respond more quickly to critical, time-sensitive communications; and reduced expenditures on other hardware."
Griffin said the study's findings illustrate exactly what Miyachi Unitek experienced.
"Email is one way to be more responsive …the other is applications," she said.
Mobilizing salesforce.com keeps sales teams in touch with their customers, Griffin said, adding that businesses are mobilizing in baby steps, but it doesn't take long to realize the benefits.
"Email is the first solution," she said. "They get that and they're going to be more productive. Then they start thinking of ways to integrate applications."