Mobility

Access Microsoft Dynamics CRM from an Android tablet

Android and Microsoft Dynamics CRM seem like an impossible mobile CRM combination, but some free apps in the Google Play Story say otherwise.

Microsoft and Google might be natural enemies in the wild, but you can find neutral ground in the Google Play Store with a growing number of third-party apps that enable full access to Microsoft Dynamics CRM from an Android tablet. These CRM apps range in quality and performance. However, they mean that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and corporate Android tablet users don't have to be shut out from Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Resco Mobile CRM for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Resco Mobile CRM is a polished, professional, and well-crafted app. Its performance (when connecting to my Microsoft Dynamics CRM trial site from my Nexus 10 tablet running Android 4.2.2) was fast, even over public Wi-Fi. In fact, Resco Mobile CRM is my top recommendation for Android users who need to access Microsoft Dynamics CRM because of its high quality.

The app requires several permissions:

  • Hardware controls
  • Location
  • Network communications
  • Your personal information
  • Storage

Resco Mobile CRM has no middleware component, and the only credentials your mobile users will require is your Microsoft Dynamics CRM URL and an Office 365 login. This app supports the following:

  • Full map integration
  • Photo capture
  • Signatures
  • Attachments for customer-oriented documents, including Microsoft Office and PDF documents
  • Advanced filters and sorting (necessary for mobile workers who go through a lot of CRM records)
Figure A shows the main screen of the Android tablet version of the app: Figure A

Resco Mobile CRM for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Resco has also built a version of this app for the major mobile and PC platforms, which is ideal for supporting BYOD initiatives and offering end users a consistent CRM experience across platforms.

MECRM

The Google Play Store miscategorizes MECRM as a free app. After you install it, the fine print says that the app is only free for 14 days. When your MECRM trial ends, you'll be prompted for In-app billing to purchase the app for $69.99 (USD). Subscription-based pricing for $4.00 (USD)/month or annual pricing for $39.99 (USD)/year is also available.

Unfortunately, MECRM isn't the only CRM app that falsely advertises its price. I'd like to see the Google Play Store better delineate free vs. free trial in app store entries.

MECRM is still rough around the edge with performance lags, but the Workplace screen is more usable than I expected after reading online reviews. It includes the following features:

  • Offline access
  • System view
  • Personal view
Figure B shows the MECRM Workplace screen: Figure B

MECRM Workplace screen.

Despite the issues I encountered, I do think MECRM has some potential, but it needs better packaging. However, at the current time, it's hard to justify paying for this app when you compare it to Resco Mobile CRM.

MobileNAV

The free MobileNAV app performance is excellent but lagged behind Resco Mobile CRM.

MobileNAV supports the following fields:

  • Accounting and controlling
  • Purchasing and sales
  • Inventory and warehouse management
  • Marketing and customer management
  • Service
  • Production

It also requires these permissions:

  • Network Communication
  • Your Personal Information
  • Phone calls
  • Storage
If you're using Microsoft Dynamics CRM on an Android tablet, I recommend putting this app on your list to check out. Feature-wise, it's a contender. Figure C shows the MobileNAV main screen: Figure C

MobileNAV main screen.

CRM Mobility

Unlike the Resco Mobile CRM or MECRM apps, CRM Mobility doesn't have an Android tablet native version. However, it has online and offline modes — and it syncs CRM data when it's in online mode. As with MECRM, CRM Mobility is only free for 14 days. For pricing information, contact applabs@sasken.com.

CRM Mobility requires these permissions:

  • Location
  • Network Communication
  • Storage

With this app, you don't need middleware or additional components to enable Microsoft Dynamics CRM access. It includes the following standard views:

  • Account
  • Activities
  • Contacts
  • Leads
  • Opportunities
Figure D shows the CRM Mobility main screen: Figure D

CRM Mobility main screen.

Mobile Client MS Dynamics CRM

The Mobile Client MS Dynamics CRM is an example of a bad Android app stereotype that holds the platform back with slow syncing, view loading, and various internationalization and translation needs around the user interface. For example, changing the language settings to English didn't work for me during my testing. The app includes the following customizable views:

  • Activities
  • Status
  • Contacts
  • Leads
  • Opportunities

With its performance hiccups and rough edges, regardless of their origin, it's hard to recommend this app when you compare it to Resco Mobile CRM.

Onto the paid apps?

While the options I profiled in this post are all free (or free trials, in some cases) there are more expensive options in the Google Play Store, including:

Unfortunately, high prices don't exactly inspire the purchase of these mobile CRM apps, since neither one have many reviews or a verifiable enterprise mobility track record.

Conclusion

With a third-party app developer ecosystem, the Android apps available for accessing Microsoft Dynamics CRM show that the CRM requirements of today's mobile workforce can even transcend the products and platforms of two such staunch competitors as Microsoft and Google. What CRM apps do you use in your organization? Please share your experience in the discussion thread below.

About

Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management ap...

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