AT&T, Antenna Software to Team on Mobile CRM

AT&T on Monday announced it will partner with enterprise mobile solutions provider Antenna Software to market its business application mobilization, starting with mobile CRM for sales force automation and expanding to field force and executives’ data requirements.

Another aspect of Monday’s announcement is that AT&T has begun using Antenna’s technology to enable its own sales force to access applications from their mobile devices. Antenna has been working with Cingular, the cellular operator now renamed AT&T Mobility, for the last five years.

AMP Studio

The mobile solution, Antenna Mobility Platform, includes AMP Studio, a model-driven, open standards-based software development environment that allows users to build or customize enterprise applications for use with wireless devices, according to the company.

With AMP Studio, “firms can quickly, easily, develop ‘mobilized’ applications with little or no custom coding,” Gregg Plekan, Antenna’s senior vice president of product development, told CRM Buyer.

Antenna’s solution consists of the A3 SmartClient, can reside on devices running Windows Mobile (SPV and PPC), Palm OS and the BlackBerry platform (along with Symbian support, which will arrive later this year). It also comes with the A3 SmartConnect server software, which connects with a corporate’s network’s back-end system, and the Any Control Center platform that manages communications between the other two.

The Any Control Center includes AMP Studio; MobileManager, which lets IT managers initialize, manage and update the AMP Studio software; Escalation Manager, a tool that facilitates the delivery of service calls to the field; Real-Time Status Board, which processes and displays information about call and messaging events; and Mercury, which is a back-up system for messaging to field staff in case of emergency or a corporate network system outage.

AMP Studio leverages service-oriented architecture (SOA) and standard technologies such as Web Services, XML/XSD/XSL and Java.

“The result is a simple, graphical, and unified system for the ongoing development and maintenance of mobile applications that reduces development time from months to weeks, even days,” said Jim Hemmer, president of Antenna.

Rolling Their Own

In addition to plans for co-branding and selling Antenna’s solution, AT&T is also using the solution. The telecom giant “is using the AMP platform itself, to deploy their mobile platform for their entire sales force using Siebel’s On Demand CRM,” noted Plekan.

AT&T’s wireless sales representatives will have the ability to view, update and create accounts, opportunities and contacts, as well as review contract and order information in real time from their wireless handheld, said Plekan.

Mobility Initiatives

The partnership “underscores how wireless data is exploding across the enterprise space,” said Jeff Bradley, vice president of wireless business data services at AT&T. “Companies are now moving beyond wireless e-mail and exploring other business processes that can be extended to a mobile environment using their existing wireless handheld assets.”

“The next few years represent a transitional period when companies should begin optimizing their mobility initiatives,” said Michael King, research director at Gartner. “Enterprises should look to invest in strategic mobile solutions — capable of supporting multiple applications, managing devices, and securing data and transport — and limit tactical deployments that support only single applications.”

By 2009, “50 percent of enterprises will have migrated away from tactical mobile application silos (supporting a single application) to strategic platforms capable of supporting multiple applications, managing devices and securing data and transport (0.7 probability),” according to Gartner.

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