Not Just Mobile, Mobile First

Venkat Rangan

Venkat Rangan
CTO, Clari

Not Just Mobile, Mobile First

I used to build software for Wang (no, that’s not a typo and then HP and Microsoft. I know lots of people who used our software every day, but I can’t remember anyone saying they loved it. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone – most everyone who develops software for enterprises end up building something that doesn’t quite make it when it comes to capturing the hearts and minds of their users . I recently met a sales executive from a storage company who told me he’d like his CRM system more if the data in it were somehow part of the mobile apps he used every day. “I don’t just want CRM on my phone,” he said. “I want information from the CRM system and other apps I use all the time to be right in front of me, telling me something I don’t already know. Preferably something that helps me or my team close deals faster.”

That conversation reminded me of discussions I’d had with the sales team at Clearwell. I was a founder and the CTO there, and we were all working day and night to get customers using our product. But we didn’t really know what was happening in the field – what was working and what wasn’t. I thought it might be because we were a new company with evolving processes, but when I talked with former colleagues at bigger companies, they said the same thing. Best practices in sales didn’t seem to be working for anyone. Around this time, my engineering friends and I also began to see mobile technology transforming consumers’ lives. If one consumer could get real value out of a core set of apps on a phone, I thought mobility might be the missing link to greater sales productivity. So we founded Clari.

Our vision is “mobile first.” We think of a mobile device as an extension of an individual, and that is critical to all of our decisions. A device is always there, so it seems like it should help reps get things done faster and better. Our phones know our location, our calendar, our contacts, and we have always-on connectivity to the web for news. Our phone could, for example, be used to determine what internal and external information sources are most relevant, at what point in time. This is what makes it the most human of computing devices. Of course, ease of use and delightful user experience are a big part of our “mobile first” vision. With a well-designed mobile app, it just takes a few swipes and tabs to enter data and it can be used anytime, anywhere – on the train, waiting in a lobby, and even during commercial breaks. Most important, “mobile first” is about making the individual productive, and I think we can do that by combining the power of mobile with relevant, contextual information needed for making that critical “in the moment” business updates.

I hope you can imagine what we’re imagining. It’s beyond a typical window into a browser-based application, developed for web-based needs. Our vision is a truly mobile app for mobile users—specifically mobile sales reps. If you’re a sales rep who wants more from a mobile device and enterprise apps, Clari is for you. I hope you love what we created as much as we do!

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