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11/14/2011
10:38 AM
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DoubleDutch Goes Freemium, Pushes Mobile CRM

Like a Foursquare for salespeople, DoubleDutch wants to make mobile check-ins pay off with access to customer records instead of coupons.

Seeking to cement its position as Foursquare for the enterprise, DoubleDutch is introducing a freemium version as it expands its location-based sales productivity service.

DoubleDutch founder and CEO Lawrence Coburn said he believes his HYVE Sales product has an opportunity to take ground in the customer relationship management (CRM) market in much the same way Salesforce.com displaced CRM incumbents who were slow to react to the new possibilities of the Web and cloud computing. "We're trying to reinvent CRM for mobile and over time, perhaps, take a chunk out of that market."

Enterprise 2.0
So far, DoubleDutch is more likely to be used as a supplement to a tool like Salesforce.com than as a replacement for it, and even integration with existing CRM systems is still a work in progress. In the free version, customer records will have to be loaded into the DoubleDutch independently of any other CRM system. Even in the enterprise version, DoubleDutch does not yet have two-way synchronization with other customer management systems, Coburn conceded. Where DoubleDutch thinks it has advantage, however, is in providing sales tools specifically built for use on a smartphone.

[Find out what's on tap for the Enterprise 2.0 conference this week: In Search Of Enterprise Social Media Integration.]

When a Foursquare user checks in with smartphone GPS coordinates, the payoff comes in recommendations and tips from other users, as well as coupons some merchants offer through the service. With DoubleDutch, the payoff can be a listing of customer records associated with that area, or automatic identification of the company whose building a salesperson has just entered. The mobile application also simplifies the process of recording the results of that customer visit.

Until now, DoubleDutch has sold customized versions of its applications to large clients like Cisco, which has deployed a version of the application to its salesforce in the Asia Pacific region. Coburn said DoubleDutch has only recently delivered a version of the product that supports self-service signups and configuration, which lowers the cost and complexity of bringing on new customers. DoubleDutch has been "signing up premium customers pretty fast" and had to develop a strategy for adding a free version without undermining those sales.

The freemium strategy, which has become common among cloud computing companies, is to offer not just a free trial but a truly useful free version of the product that may be adequate for light users--but with a clear upgrade path to premium versions. For example, the DoubleDutch free product provides some analytics and reporting on mobile sales activity, but it's limited to the last 14 days. Coburn is betting that organizations that become serious users will be willing to pay for more detailed analytics, including access to historical data.

A premium version is available at $25 per user per month, and offers access to full analytics, gaming mechanics, and management and configuration capabilities. The DoubleDutch HYVE Sales enterprise version, originally released in June and now upgraded, is designed for larger-scale deployments and provides an application programming interface for integration into backend CRM systems like Salesforce and SAP.

DoubleDutch also offers a mobile application specifically for trade show organizers, a version of which is being used at this week's Enterprise 2.0 conference, a UBM TechWeb event in Santa Clara, Calif.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard

The Enterprise Connect "Phone, Tablets, Smartphones--Who Gets What In Your Enterprise?" virtual event will help you sort through the choices that are out there today. It happens Nov. 16. Sign up now. (Free with registration.)

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