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Mobile applications get on-demand push

Mobile applications on demand, like Vettro's Oracle offering, are now available and can boost productivity.

Mobile applications on demand is not a new paradigm, but with recent partnerships with Oracle to offer on-demand access to Siebel CRM, Vettro is leading a charge for access to business applications on the road.

Last week, Vettro became a certified partner in the Oracle PartnerNetwork and announced the integration of Vettro 360 Sales for Siebel CRM On Demand, which lets Oracle users leverage existing software and hardware for sales operations in the field. According to JiYoung Kim, Vettro's vice president of marketing, Vettro 360 Sales for Siebel CRM On Demand mobilizes users and gives them the ability to access, create and manage business information in real time from smartphones and PDAs.

Kim said all data captured and entered in the field is dynamically updated in Siebel CRM On Demand, eliminating the need for mountains of paperwork and ensuring that the system holds the most up-to-date sales and customer information.

The application is built on the Vettro 360 core architecture, which allows related information such as customer history, accounts receivable, support, and knowledge base to link seamlessly for mobile users, giving them a full and updated view of customer and prospect information. Kim said Vettro 360 requires no additional infrastructure investments and is installed over the wireless network in minutes.

Currently, Vettro solutions run on BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Symbian devices, along with other mobile platforms -- with the exception of Palm. The application can be sent to the user's mobile email and downloaded for installation. Also, updates can be pushed to the device. Since updates happen in the background, they will be evident when the user logs in.

Vettro's 360 suite of applications serves mobile workers throughout the enterprise with a single open mobile architecture. It allows enterprises to share field-operations visibility, deploy multiple mobile applications easily, and support critical decision-making processes with up-to-date information. It also supports additional mobile features -- GPS, Bluetooth peripherals, RFID, point-of-service transactions, printing -- to boost performance.

According to Kim, companies make a massive investment in CRM and other business applications, but difficulty in using the solutions in a mobile environment have kept them underutilized and out of date, nearly defeating the purpose of deploying them in the first place.

"Generally, these solutions were to appease the enterprise by keeping information up to date, but not to boost productivity," Kim said. "There was no correlation between usage of the applications and reps' ability to do more."

She said that mobility is bridging the gap between keeping information current and boosting productivity.

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Peter Bullas, head of corporate mobilization and technical specialist for O2, a wireless carrier in the UK, said roughly 150 of the company's sales team use Vettro for on-demand access to the CRM system. In the past, he said, all sales reps would spend an entire day in-house updating the system with a week's worth of new data. He said the process was counter-productive.

Bullas said that the entire sales team of roughly 200 will eventually have mobile access to CRM. He estimated that once the full deployment is realized, he will see productivity gains between 20% and 40%. Rolling out mobile CRM to half of the salesforce will result in a productivity boost of about 15%, Bullas expects.

"It gives them more face-to-face time," he said. "We're working to try and get rid of the paperwork."

Taking five minutes to update information after a sales call or meeting has nearly eliminated the need for additional paperwork, Bullas said, adding that the system is intuitive enough that it prompts users to enter specific data, which also reduces the probability of errors being entered into the system.

Current Analysis analyst Kathryn Weldon, who recently published a report outlining various mobile application providers, ranked Vettro as an up-and-comer, along with such companies as Dexterra, Antenna Software, Vaultus, Salesforce.com, Corrigo and Apachetta. She said that the Vettro 360 Suite offers access to sales, CRM, facilities management, service and repair, IT service management, and pick-up and delivery applications. It connects to Oracle/Siebel, Oracle DB, SAP, Salesforce.com, BMC Remedy, HP, Microsoft, Peregrine Coastal and iWay Software.

Daniel Taylor, managing director of the Mobile Enterprise Alliance, said distribution of mobile solutions has become an important issue for enterprises. He said companies such as Vettro, and others like Antenna Software, are taking some of the burden off IT.

Taylor added, "Anything that supports expanded distribution for mobile solutions is a good thing."

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