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Best iPhone apps: SFA, CRM, and BI

By Mike Heck, InfoWorld
January 06, 2009 12:00 PM ET

InfoWorld - The surprise among business applications that support the iPhone is how many of them have gone native. Of the seven business apps on our list, only one -- SugarCRM -- reaches the iPhone via the Safari Web browser. Native apps that tap Salesforce.com, Oracle CRM, Oracle BI, QuickBooks, and SiteCatalyst come from the App Store.

Salesforce.com Mobile

This free application (which works with a paid Salesforce.com account) lets you easily interact with customer data on your iPhone. Further, you can log sales or service activities and immediately respond to new leads. The latest update, Version 2.0, lets you edit, create, and delete records from the iPhone -- an important addition.

Oracle Mobile Sales Assistant

Are you running Oracle CRM on Demand and supporting field salespeople with iPhones? Then check out this free application, which has a rich interface that lets mobile users locate key information on customers and deals in your Oracle CRM database. It also handles common tasks such as creating appointments, sharing contact information, managing leads, and communicating with customers.

Oracle Business Indicators

Enterprises running Oracle Business Intelligence Applications will want to consider this free app that provides real-time, secure access to business performance information. The intuitive interface lets employees interact with Oracle financial, human resources, supply chain, and CRM analytics. Beyond charting business metrics and providing alerts, Oracle Business Indicators provides detailed views of each metric.

SugarCRM

This commercial open source CRM solution (available in a free community edition or in various supported configurations starting at US$40 per month) doesn't have an iPhone-specific user interface. However, we think SugarCRM is sweet for two reasons. First, the basic application is easy to deploy, customize, and use. Second, there's no need to deploy a separate mobile application. Just access the server from your iPhone's Safari browser with the standard URL; the application detects that you're logging in from a mobile device and reacts appropriately.

QuickBooks Desktop Data on the Go

Small-business owners who live by QuickBooks will appreciate this service from OpCenter ($19.95 per month, but the iPhone application is free), which lets you view QuickBooks Enterprise, Premier, or Pro data on your iPhone. You can get the latest accounts receivable, payable, and checking balances, then drill down into the details. Plus, it lets you access customer and vendor information in QuickBooks.

SiteCatalyst for iPhone

This free, native iPhone application should interest Omniture SiteCatalyst customers. It puts your Web analytics reports and dashboards on your iPhone, where you browse the metrics in an intuitive way. For marketers who are often out of the office, this is a very handy tool for keeping informed on site stats and quickly spotting Web performance trends.

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