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Salesforce Looks To Drive The Mobile Future

The CRM leader is adding low-code development tools to its Lightning platform to help enterprises struggling to embrace mobile application development.

Salesforce sees mobile devices as the enterprise platform of the future and is looking to empower partners delivering mobile application development capabilities.

"If the last decade was about cloud computing, the next decade is about enterprise mobility," Leyla Seka, Salesforce's executive vice president for mobile, told CRN.

To better enable customers to rapidly release mobile apps, the CRM leader recently upgraded its Lightning development platform with a feature called Publisher, which streamlines the process of posting apps to the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Along with other low-code components of Lightning, Publisher is intended to ease the struggle enterprises face in recruiting mobile developers, Seka said.

[Related: Salesforce's Revamped AppExchange Imparts Greater Visibility For Consulting Partners]

"Companies that get this right are the ones that are going to win in the next decade," she said. "We see ourselves at the cusp of helping our customers unlock the potential of mobility in the enterprise."

Seka, who took charge of the mobile division last year after running the Salesforce AppExchange software marketplace, said most enterprises recognize they need to engage employees and customers on their mobile devices, but don’t know where to start.

Consumer applications have created high expectations as far as functionality and user experience that are reverberating into enterprise projects, she said.

But enterprise apps have requirements their consumer cousins don't worry about, such as needing to seamlessly connect to many diverse data sources throughout the business.

"Mobile changes so quickly," Seka said. "That level of change often in large enterprises can be daunting."

Salesforce has bulked up Lightning with low-code tools to make the process easier.

Lightning Flow Builder delivers drag-and-drop functionality for automating business processes and tailoring the mobile experience. Salesforce also offers mobile services on the platform that enable push notifications, artificial intelligence, integration, and security; as well as Lightning Object Creator, a tool that converts spreadsheets into apps without code.

Another important component of Salesforce's mobile strategy is its strategic partnership with Apple, Seka said, through which the two companies have teamed to optimize the experience of Salesforce apps on iOS.

Phil Weinmeister, vice president of product management at 7Summits, told CRN the Salesforce integrator based in Milwaukee, Wis. is embracing those mobile tools to empower its Salesforce Community Cloud practice.

"The demand for official Salesforce support of communities via iOS and Android apps has been constant for some time," Weinmeister told CRN.

"The convenience of and native functionality found within mobile apps will likely make the new Mobile Publisher for Communities a highly requested feature that is at the center of Salesforce Community Cloud discussions in 2019," he added.

Features like persistent authentication, Chatter-based push notifications, and mobile file access through Mobile Publisher "will absolutely add value to the overall experience," Weinmeister said.

Silverline, a New York City-based Salesforce partner, is also leveraging Salesforce's mobile capabilities to enhance the Community Cloud experience for customers and workers in the field—a capability many clients have expressed interest in.

"We see opportunities for health care providers and possibly patients to be able to have easy access to health information, test results, care plans and instructions, schedule appointments and more," said Scott Thomas, Silverline's vice president of product and solutions.

Capabilities like an easy login experience, access to files on devices and cameras, and in-app push notifications allow partners to create new mobile experiences for their customers that will drive further adoption of mobile solutions, Thomas said.

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