Sales Force Automation
M-Business technologies can play a key role within sales force
automation (SFA). Sales staff are highly mobile and spend most of
their time with customers and traveling between appointments. For
the salesperson in the field, there is a need for unified communications
and personal information management, together with the ability to
interact with corporate management and customers and to receive
updates on incoming orders and order status. There is also a need for
information to be provided by the salesperson to the customer in
terms of product and pricing information, presentations, pre-sales
support materials, scheduling of follow-up appointments and demon-
strations, nondisclosure agreements, trial agreements, license agree-
ments, contracts, quoting, order taking, and much more.
M-Business technologies can play both obvious and non-obvious
roles in improving the business process for the sales force. Simple
applications include the use of two-way interactive pagers for e-mail,
Chapter 4 • Process Models and Applications for M-Business Agility >> 95
Another company providing wireless monitoring services is US Telemetry. The
company has technology that permits both static objects such as meters and gauges
and mobile objects such as cars, trucks, and packages to send and receive data over
their 218-222 MHz wireless network. The company provides the endpoint devices
(transmitters), the cell transceiver sites, and the network operations centers for the
Note: The “monitoring” application category is often employed for field service
automation, but is being included in our business intelligence category under the
“horizontal” theme of alerts and notifications that can span all user constituencies.
The process improvement in the case of remote monitoring is that many steps in
field service can be eliminated. For example, the schedule for field equipment
inspection may be able to be lengthened from say quarterly to yearly checkups.
When and if an error condition does occur, the appropriate field service technician
or company is immediately notified by the equipment in question. This is far prefer-
able than having to be discovered by the owner of the equipment and being reported
into the call center. This pro-active notification can also save substantial costs by
reducing equipment downtime and associated operating losses.
When communications between field service personnel and field equipment
become two-way, it also opens up considerably more opportunities for process
improvement and cost reduction.
96 >> Business Agility
PDAs for personal information management (online and offline), and
laptops with wireless modems for quoting and order taking. Some rel-
atively new applications of M-Business technology include the use of
cell phones as “remote control” devices in order to store and retrieve
documents from the network and direct them to a fax machine.
Some of the typical functionality found within M-Business Sales Force
Automation applications is as follows:
>> Account Information—Information about customer accounts
including company information, key contacts, purchase history,
payment history, returns, service history, open customer support
issues, and so forth.
>> Product and Service Information—Information about company
products and services that can be offered to customers. This may
include configuration tools when selling multipart products and
services as in the high-tech industry for networking solutions.
>> Order Entry and Quoting—Ability to generate a quote and input
an order via a wireless device.
>> Inventory Management—Ability to check inventory levels while
at the customer site in order to minimize partial order shipments.
>> Competitor Information—Up-to-date information on competi-
tors, their products, and pricing.
>> Opportunities—Ability to input leads, and to track opportunities
through the sales cycle.
>> Reports—Ability to view sales reports and forecasts via a variety
of filter and sort criteria.
>> Alerts and Notifications—Ability to send or receive alerts based
upon business events such as a key customer ordering 20% less
than the typical monthly order volume. Alerts and notifications
may be computer-generated or human-generated.