Businesses should consider Microsoft for managing mobile sales data

24 January 2014

Businesses across the United States have been weighing the pros and cons of leveraging mobile and online payment systems, as consumers start to become more active on their smartphones and tablets. More so than ever before, Americans are reliant on their mobile devices when it comes to buying products and even comparing prices. Although this trend has been emerging for several years, data suggests that the use of mobile tools is increasing at an incredible rate.

According to technology provider Fiserv, the number of Americans that completed a mobile payment doubled between 2012 and 2013. Last year, 16 million consumers across the U.S. used smart devices to make bill payments. Moreover, one in four tablets were used to conduct such transactions during 2013. It's remarkable growth that indicates Americans are becoming more comfortable with making mobile payments.

In the past, many individuals and organizations expressed concerns about the speed and security of such solutions. However, the latest Fiserv report shows that Americans are starting to rely on their on-to-go devices to make regular payments. Not only does this change the game for utility and financial firms, but it suggests that retailers may be able to increase sales if they implement ecommerce solutions that are compatible with tablets and smartphones.

Revamp required
Although mobile sales represent a lucrative opportunity for retailers in the U.S., most outlets need to seriously reconsider their consumer relationship management (CRM) strategies. In particular, they need to rethink how they collect, store and analyze consumer information.

A recent report from Experian Data Quality found that the vast majority of online sellers collect poor or incomplete information from buyers on ecommerce platforms. In fact, just 5 percent gather and verify full email addresses, while only 30 percent go as far as collecting an apartment number for a physical address. These shortcomings show that modern online retailers are failing to take full advantage of what ecommerce has to offer.

With online and mobile sales portals, companies and brands can access consumers more easily than ever before. For this reason, they need to have the solutions in place to collect large, complete data sets. If they do not, they are doing themselves a disservice and failing to optimize their mobile and online investments.

SQL Server and Dynamics make it possible
In order to create an IT environment where such data collection is possible, enterprises should invest in new technology. In particular, they need to consider procuring new servers and database solutions that offer more superior security features than older platforms. For example, integrating Microsoft SQL Server into a company's operations can be beneficial. Doing so will allow retailers to create more modern database instances that run faster and are built for the new online environment where big data is king. With the right Microsoft training, internal database administrators can obtain the skills they need to launch and manager SQL Server in the office.

More importantly, ecommerce outlets should include Microsoft Dynamics in their long-term CRM plans. It's one of the most trusted and used CRM suites on the market, as it's easy to integrate with other Microsoft products and comes with a number of useful services. In particular, the platform allows retailers to better manage sales data through an easy-to-use interface.

The reason it's such a widely used system is not only due to its usefulness. Rather, it's incredibly cost-effective as well. According to Microsoft, a Dynamics license offers 48 percent cost savings when compared to a Salesforce.com subscription. This is why Microsoft certification courses relating to Dynamics is a worthy investment for any IT professional or leader looking to build a more useful online and mobile sales and data infrastructure.

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