Sramana Mitra: I’m trying to understand what are the customers trying to accomplish. You’re doing a sales training application. So, they’re trying to deploy sales training on the iPad?
Lori Cohen: No. Basically, we spent a lot of time with their sales force to understand what a-day-in-the-life is like. What do they do? How do they spend their time? How can mobility help them in what they do, save them time and make them more productive? We didn’t come in with a preconceived notion of what they needed. We did interviews in the field with managers, with the sales force to get a sense of what they did and how we could help. Then we visualized how mobility could make them more effective and built a day-in-the-life scenario that included applications that would enable them to do their work more efficiently. So, everything from e-expenses, when you meet with a doctor, which they do often, and they never submit their expenses because it takes time out of their days. There’s an application for e-expenses where you can take a picture of the receipt and it gets formatted. You add a note, whom you met with, and it gets queued up.
SM: You built this application for them?
LC: Yes. First, we have to build the experience.
SM: I don’t understand. There’s an enterprise application category that is quite well serviced by e-expense vendors like Concur and so forth. They all have mobile solutions. I guess where I’m getting a bit confused is when you started to talk about videos of a day-in-the-life and sales training. Now, you’re talking about e-expenses. It seems a bit all over the place to me.
LC: What we try to do is integrate these activities into a single application. Bill, if you want, you can pick it up from here.
Bill Seibel: There are components that we integrate into one user experience that’s created for that salesperson. If it’s an application that does expenses from someone else, that would be something that they wouldn’t have to separately log into. It would already be connected into their financial systems and their approval systems. But it would have an application built into that would help them to know what products they should recommend to the customers they’re selling to and where those products are from an inventory standpoint, and then be able to show their customers videos of those products and use them to tell the customers about what new products are available.
The point Lori was trying to make is that there are 20 things that a salesperson does in a day. What this customer wanted to do was to not create 20 separate apps, but something that a salesperson could go in and work with in the confines of that as an enterprise-class application, to be able to do any and all of those things.
SM: The scenario you’re describing is something that you’re in the early stages of, or it’s something that is already being rolled out?
BS: We finished the [creation], and we’re in the early stages of taking it to the next step.
SM: This raises a lot of questions in my mind. Are all of these sales force facing applications, whether it’s order systems or expense reporting systems, there’s a tremendous amount of enterprise legacy applications already in there, right? Each enterprise has a ton of these applications, so help me understand what is your role in there. If they’re using Salesforce.com, Salesforce.com has a mobile interface.
BS: Yes. Our role in that is to integrate with whatever they’re using and make it work within a well-designed for the end user. That’s what I mean by hooking into their IT architecture. Sometimes there’s stuff like that that we would hook into and leverage to bring the information into that environment. Sometimes it’s not quite there, and we need to build the APIs on a set of things. Sometimes it’s not there at all, and we need to go in and build that capability.