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Palm aligns to provide handheld capabilities to CRM market

In order to encourage handheld computing in the enterprise, Palm, Inc. has launched a mobile field sales initiative with enterprise software providers and systems integrators, which adds new handheld capabilities to the CRM market. The software includes wireless and native handheld applications that provide mobile professionals the information that they need when working in the field.

Palm initiated its Enterprise Alliance Program (EAP), which includes systems integrators, professional services providers and consulting firms, to ensure that Palm's enterprise customers can easily deploy handhelds in their workforce. Many Palm EAP partners offer the consulting services necessary for mobile field sales and CRM applications.

The EAP includes Alliance Consulting, Analysts International, Bear River Associates Inc., Braxton Butterfield Consulting Inc., Ciber Inc., Condor Technology Solutions Inc., Datanational Corporation, I3solutions, IBM, Impact Innovations Group and Inforte.

Alliance Consulting's wireless practice specializes in custom integration of Palm OS software with enterprise systems, custom development with 5th Dimension Methodology and enterprise rollout management with Asset Management Software and Mobile Commerce software. Analysts International supplies organizations with ways to extend their corporate environment into an extended virtual enterprise, and Bear River provides enterprise mobile computing products and services.

Braxton Butterfield brings extended enterprise application development services and technology support to the alliance, while Ciber and I3solutions provide consulting. Condor Technology Solutions offers consulting, project management and help desk support throughout the implementation. Datanational develops e-commerce software for its customers, IBM offers complete software and services for companies extending their e-business to Palm handhelds, and Impact provides IT and business strategy, development, systems integration and IT outsourcing. Inforte designs wireless, handheld and voice-based mobile platforms as part of an overall architecture.

Palm also named six companies that provide software in its Palm handheld and Palm-powered mobile field program. E.piphany's E.5 for Wireless provides mobile workers with real-time business information in the field. GoldMine Everywhere Server, from FrontRange Solutions Inc., was developed specifically for the Palm VII series handhelds and allows users to update critical customer data immediately.

Palm also selected International Design and Construction Online to bring the wireless technology to the architecture, engineering and construction industry by hosting and supporting the use of tools, content and services on Palm handhelds. Pivotal Anywhere will provide an XML-based platform to allow employees to conduct demand-side processes, such as marketing, sales, service and support. SalesLogix for Palm Powered Handhelds gives users access to real-time account, contact and opportunity information.

Still to be released, Remedy Sales Continuum for Palm Powered Handhelds will combine Palm OS platform operating constructs and existing Remedy Sales Continuum elements to provide synchronization of sales information from handhelds to desktops.

Other companies have already made inroads in the market for wireless CRM software, including UniPress Software, Inc.'s FootPrints software, which provides two-way communication via Palm VII handhelds, and Talisma's Wireless Client, which allows mobile users to offer on-the-go sales and service via any WAP-enabled device.

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