Salesforce1 mobile app gets design overhaul

App icons coming out of a phone

SaaS giant Salesforce has overhauled its Salesforce1 mobile app, adding more than 30 new features it claims will enables users to truly run their business from anywhere - including via wearable computing devices.

The app and the Salesforce1 platform that underpins it was only unveiled six months ago at the firm's Dreamforce convention in San Francisco. However, it says now the time is right as more people are using mobile apps over desktop apps.

Everybody is talking about the Internet of Things, but behind every one of those things is a customer. Indeed, behind every device and every app we build there is a customer.

Launching as a beta for Windows and generally available for other platforms (any mobile browser, including Blackberry Z10 and Good Access Secure mobile browser) from July, the new app will enable various business departments to keep on top of workloads - whether that be sales, marketing or customer loyalty.

New features include being able to respond to customer social media comments or email them directly from the app.

Facebook is a hyper-connected app that has won the hearts and minds of users, according to Michael Peachy, senior director of mobile products at Salesforce. In fact, because of its vibrant ecosystem, user-friendly interface and wealth of features, users spend more than 17 per cent of their total app use time on Facebook.

This, Salesforce says, means Zuckerberg and his team have "cracked the mobile code" and it wants to do the same for the enterprise space.

"Just four per cent of our time on a mobile device is spent in productivity or business-related apps," Peachy told IT Pro.

"There is a shortage of business apps and it's really difficult for enterprises to build and customise them and roll them out to their employees. One of the reasons behind that is it's very hard to connect those apps to legacy systems."

The real draw for many businesses will be the ability to take the app and customise it into their own line of business and other systems, according to Peachy, who dubbed the new Salesforce1 as the "Swiss Army knife of apps."

"Everybody is talking about the Internet of Things, but behind every one of those things is a customer. Indeed, behind every device and every app we build there is a customer," Peachy added.

'Mobility is really at the centre of everything here. We know that there will be five billion smartphones in the market by 2017 and, according to IDC, 70 per cent of the connected device market will smartphones [by then].

"The smartphone is really becoming the dashboard to our lives. As a consumer, I can order a cab, book a restaurant, pay a cheque into my bank account... But we need to be able to do more when we're working on those mobile devices."

Salesforce1 enables businesses large and small to "sell, service, market and manage any business process from any mobile device," according to the firm.The new features set includes the ability to:

  • Sell from anywhere. Sales people get access to essential reports and dashboards, in addition to easy navigation and offline data access.
  • Service customers anywhere and everywhere. Knowledge, Questions & Answers, and Email and Social Case Actions are some of the new features in the Salesforce1 Mobile App that enable agents to boost customer satisfaction and service levels right from their mobile device.
  • Market to customers on a 1:1 basis. Marketers can access their contacts' social, campaign and related data collateral so they can understand and engage with customers on every level.
  • Connect with legacy apps and back office data. Organisations can integrate third-party apps with new Canvas functionality. In addition, new SAP connectors from Informatica and Mulesoft enable the speedy building of mobile workflows that encompass mission-critical back office data.
  • Build and deploy custom apps. Firms can also build and deploy custom mobile apps for their business processes so every employee, regardless of role, can work directly from their mobile device.
  • Benefit from an ecosystem of more than 65 partner apps. The new app is the gateway to an ecosystem of key partner offerings such as FinancialForce's accounting app and Kenandy's ERP app.
Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.