Last week we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of Cloud ERP solutions and whether or not “The Cloud” is the right fit for all businesses. This week we’d like to discuss another emerging trend for 2013:  it’s predicted that businesses will begin to rely heavily on mobile devices for CRM access away from the office.

The Prediction: Smartphones and Tablets Enter the Workforce

“Smartphones and tablets will be leveraged more heavily as businesses move beyond using them just for simple communications,” says Mike Pugh, vice president of marketing for j2 Global, a cloud services provider for small businesses. “Business systems, such as CRM, will go mobile, enabling teams to input and access sales information on-the-go, driving higher levels of communication and productivity.”

We feel this trend really depends on your company and your employees.

While it is true that our world is becoming more mobile and customers are generally communicating with companies via mobile devices, you may want to hold off on adopting mobile business software, such as CRM. While there is definitely value in supporting mobile CRM solutions, you need to determine if it’s the right solution for your business and employees.

Are your employees (or workers out in the field) comfortable enough with using smartphones or tablets to receive payments, input time, enter client information, access email addresses, etc.? If your employees consist of the younger generation, the answer is probably yes. But what about companies with employees that did not grow up with smartphones in the palm of their hand?

A lot of field service companies that we speak to, both in and outside of South Carolina, are hesitant to adopt mobile CRM solutions or other mobile technologies. These companies generally have employees that have been with the company for 25+ years and are used to recording customer information by hand. The idea of handing over a smartphone or tablet to these employees is scary and seems almost counterproductive. While these workers can generally fix any issue with their eyes closed, they may struggle to use mobile CRM solutions to gather customer information and payment out in the field.

Mobile CRM is not the solution for everyone. Before you decide to jump on the mobile business software bandwagon, seriously consider whether it will benefit your employees and realistically improve your productivity. Are you considering adopting a mobile CRM solution? If so, what are your reasons? If you’ve already transitioned your employees to operating on mobile devices, share your experience below. Was it beneficial to your company? How are your employees adapting to the new technology?