A CRM vendor has ported its service onto Apple's iPhone, despite the widespread belief that the devices are not enterprise-ready.
Etelos has made its CRM platform available via the iPhone's Safari web browser, arguing that sales professionals will buy the iPhone themselves and use it at work, even if their employers don't supply the devices. Etelos also said it is close to launching a tool kit that will let developers create applications for the iPhone and sell them through the Etelos store.
"Basically, we've got a real [web] browser on a mobile device. Users in the enterprise have been craving an easier way to develop and deploy their own applications to mobile scenarios," said Etelos CEO Danny Kolke.
Numerous analysts and CIOs have said the iPhone should be kept out of enterprises because it lacks security and is not compatible with business email servers such as Microsoft Exchange.
Kolke admitted that businesses are unlikely to buy iPhones for employees, given the $599 price-tag. But said he believes users will buy the devices themselves and will want to use them at work.
Etelos' CRM platform previously was available for the BlackBerry, but that device's limited browser made it difficult for salespeople to launch new projects and view the schedules of colleagues, Kolke said.
Etelos made its CRM program available in Google Apps in April. Converting the product to the iPhone was not difficult because the screen dimensions are similar to those of Google's Desktop Gadgets, which fill only a portion of a computer monitor, Kolke says.
Etelos CRM for iPhone is available at no additional cost with several versions of its CRM product, available both as a service and for in-house deployments. The software-as-a-service editions cost $12 to $35 per user, per month. A server-side software version goes for a flat rate starting at $2,500.
Any iPhone owner can try out the product for 24 hours at the Etelos iPhone website.