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Salesforce.com Reveals Next Mobile App

Salesforce1 Mobile App update features drill-down dashboards, access to SAP data, and support for -- gasp! -- disconnected operation.

It doesn't seem so long ago that Salesforce.com was introducing its be-all, end-all Salesforce1 Mobile App at Dreamforce 2014. On Thursday it announced a significant upgrade due out in July.

The new Salesforce1 Mobile App, which will bow in with the annual Salesforce Summer Release, packs several upgrades added at the request of customers who wanted to be able to do more with their smartphones, said Michael Peachy, Salesforce.com's senior director of mobile products, in a phone interview with InformationWeek.

"It's pretty obvious that the smartphone form factor is now, and will remain, the dominant computing platform, but we're still waiting for those killer mobile business apps," Peachy told us. "We need to keep doing more for enterprises to help them roll out successful mobile solutions."

[Want more on mobile? Read Salesforce.com Plans SOS Service For Mobile Apps.]

The short list of Salesforce1 Mobile App upgrades includes:

  • Drillable dashboards. The old Salesforce1 Mobile App has dashboards, but the update adds a Drill to Reports feature that lets you get into the deeper meaning of the data when you spot a performance metric that sparks interest.

  • Access to backoffice data. Salesforce.com's Canvas feature lets you tap into data in legacy systems from mainframes to modern-day enterprise apps. SAP was on the short list, and new data connectors available from Informatica and Mulesoft will enable mobile users to check inventory levels, supply chain matters, or financial data in SAP directly from their smartphones.

  • Community agility. Job roles are complex, and users might be members of multiple internal, partner, and customer communities. A new Account and Community Switch feature lets mobile users switch from community to community without cumbersome logins and logouts. You'll catch up on the Chatter social feed for each group more quickly.

  • Offline support. Salesforce.com has long said the world is "always on and always connected," but it's finally acknowledging realities such as subways, airplanes, and corners of the Earth where connectivity just isn't available. The new Salesforce1 Mobile App gives you access to data even when you're offline.

  • More devices. You had a choice of iOS or Android with the old mobile app. But come July, BYOD rebels running Windows Phones, BlackBerry Z10s, or even Samsung Gear Watches will be able run the Salesforce1 Mobile App. Windows Phone support will be at beta stage with the July release, while in the case of Gear Watches, you'll be able to get notifications on the watch and then go deeper on companion Samsung smartphones.

The Salesforce1 Mobile App is easily customized, according to Peachy, with Design Within Reach and GE being examples of customers that have customized their apps. Design Within Reach furniture stores use the Salesforce1 Mobile App as the backbone of a customized in-store sales process, while GE's Power & Water unit has rolled out the app to more than 1,000 sales, service, and product management executives.

What do Uber, Bank of America, and Walgreens have to do with your mobile app strategy? Find out in the new Maximizing Mobility issue of InformationWeek Tech Digest.