A Look At Business Apps In The iPhone App Store - InformationWeek

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A Look At Business Apps In The iPhone App Store

Business intelligence and CRM software vendors are the most supportive of the Apple 3G iPhone.

When it comes to corporate business applications for the iPhone 3G, users are getting the most support from vendors that provide customer-relationship management and business intelligence software.

For those using their iPhones for business, software providers are increasingly allowing access to their offerings via the Safari browser, yet there are few native iPhone apps to choose from. Just 24 applications grace the business section in the App Store -- out of a total of about 500 App Store offerings on iTunes -- proving the iPhone remains largely a consumer device.

Only Oracle and Salesforce.com are represented among the big corporate software and software-as-a-service providers that have built native iPhone apps using Apple's software development kit. Companies that don't use the SDK and get their applications approved by Apple aren't allowed in the App Store.

Users of those native App Store apps will enjoy more of the iPhone features and user-interface functionality than those using the iPhone simply as an Internet browsing device into corporate applications.

The remaining App Store business section offerings are more of a cross-over between consumer and business applications. For example, Careerbuilder.com offers an app for viewing job postings, British Airways has one for checking on flights, and several apps are in the area of personal expense and budget management.

Salesforce.com offers Salesforce Mobile for iPhone, which integrates with the iPhone's native functions such as e-mail, phone, and maps. Salesforce users can navigate customer records, initiate phone calls and e-mails from within Salesforce CRM, and query the Salesforce CRM application. The offering is free to Salesforce Unlimited Edition customers; those using the less expensive, entry-level version of the software subscription service are advised to contact Salesforce.com for pricing information.

SAP, meanwhile, says it's working on a native iPhone app for its CRM 2007 software, but hasn't announced an expected delivery time.

Other CRM vendors are supporting access to their software via the iPhone's Safari browser. Open-source CRM vendor SugarCRM, for example, says iPhone users can view, edit, and create records in its software, conduct searches on customer records, and get detailed views of records.

SaaS ERP vendor NetSuite also supports the iPhone via the Safari browser. Using a hosted service called SuitePhone, CRM users can enter leads, file expense reports, view contacts and place quotes and orders.

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