April 17, 2001, 3:40 PM — ROAD WARRIORS of all stripes lean on e-mail, cell phones, and PDAs not just to keep up with the office but to maintain relationships with their clients. But taking care of customers requires having more information on hand than names and numbers, so many companies have started implementing CRM (customer relationship management) solutions.
CRM software can automatically assign new leads and create to-do lists for a prompt follow-up. New sales orders can be entered into the system immediately after a meeting with the customer. When the representative is in the office, the desktop provides the link to stay in touch with the company databases; whereas on the road, that link is usually replaced by a laptop equipped with the CRM client.
The new wave of CRM applications for wireless devices promises to make accessing CRM on the road even easier. Protocols such as WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) and WML (Wireless Markup Language) provide connectivity and content delivery as well as formatting capabilities for wireless devices, similar to what HTTP and HTML offer for wire-bound clients.
Better yet, the new generation of smart phones, such as the Nokia 7100 that runs custom applications on top of its traditional capabilities, and more sophisticated PDAs, such as the Palm VII with wireless connectivity, make custom applications and contextual wireless Web connectivity a reality.