Is Your Partner Relationship Management Software Mobile-Friendly?
Vendors selling through the channel need to automate the management of their partner relationships. Over the past decade, many examples of partner relationship management software have come to market, but very few have been truly mobile-friendly. This creates major challenges, particularly with partner adoption, and in this article we will explore why.
Partner relationship management software has several basic core functions, including the provision of web content, documents, co-branded assets, lead management and analytics. All of these capabilities are key components of any partner relationship management software platform. In addition to these capabilities, there may also be additional modules for partner training management, partner incentives management, business planning and contract management. Since most of today’s web applications are now accessed via mobile devices, it is essential for partner relationship management software vendors to make their applications mobile-friendly as well.
Now, there are two ways partner relationship management software can be mobile-friendly. First, as a mobile-responsive web application. In this scenario, users don’t actually have to download an app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Instead, they can simply access the web application via their mobile browser. If the web application is designed properly, it will automatically adapt to the screen size and format of the user’s handheld device, and it will not look like a smaller version of a desktop application.
The second type of mobile-friendliness in a web application takes the form of an actual native application that can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play. This is a standalone application, and the user should be able to run every aspect of the desktop version of the partner relationship management software via this mobile app. This scenario doesn’t exist today for most partner relationship management software vendors. ZINFI is the only vendor that has a fully native mobile responsive app that can be downloaded by the user from various app stores.
Now that you understand the two different types of mobile-friendly web application, let’s talk about the pluses and minuses of each. With a mobile-responsive app that is not a native application on the handheld device but is instead accessed via a web browser, the data refresh and the overall application response may be heavily dependent on a particular device’s connectivity and the bandwidth it can consume. On the other hand, if the entire web application is mobile-responsive, then the user will be able to access all features and functions via a mobile device. This is the primary benefit of a web-based application.
In the case of a native mobile app, where the app actually resides on the device, a primary benefit is that the response times are typically much faster because the application is running locally on the device and not going back to the cloud to fetch large volumes of data. Another benefit of a native application is that it can store a certain amount of data offline for editing, review, and so on. Then, when net connectivity is available, it syncs back to the cloud. This allows the app to function even during periods when it isn’t connected. There is, however, one primary potential problem with a native application: If the partner relationship management software vendor hasn’t made all features available via the mobile application—and this is common, since it requires additional development—then users may lack access to some of the features they require.
I hope this article provides a high-level overview to anyone who is considering procuring partner relationship management software that is mobile-friendly. As you consider different offerings in the marketplace, please make sure you not only get a thorough demonstration from the vendor, but also actually have the opportunity to download the application on your device. That way, you will understand in detail which functionalities are accessible and how they are delivered on the handheld device—either via mobile responsive web application or native standalone application.