Resco MobileCRM vs. CWR Mobile CRM

Here’s a side by side comparison of the 2 best mobile offerings for Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Resco MobileCRM and CWR Mobile CRM – with a focus on the iPhone or iPad as the mobile device.  I have no affiliation with either vendor, this post is a summary of my research and my opinions.

A significant difference between the 2 vendor’s offering is Resco has the Resco MobileCRM Studio – “a developer platform fully integrated with Microsoft Visual Studio that includes Resco designers and components and controls”.  If you want to build a Mobile Dynamics CRM app that you can extend with custom UI components and custom business logic then Resco is the only way to go (aside from bespoke custom development).  Resco’s approach though is to give you the source code and a development framework so you are not just tacking customisation around their product like you would do if customising Microsoft CRM.  So going down this path is not for the faint hearted.  Unfortunately neither CWR or Resco have a lightweight extensibility model yet. 

For the purpose of this article I am not looking at the Resco MobileCRM Studio but rather comparing CWR and Resco’s offerings from a configuration perspective.  Both vendors have invested significantly in providing a configurable application that lets CRM Administrators rather than programmers configure out the forms, views and user experience.  Most CRM customers out there will not have an appetite for mobile application development so let’s see what Resco and CWR have to offer them:

Last updated: 18 July 2012 (Resco v5.4.0.0, CWR v5.0.1.7)

 


Firstly, here’s how the 2 mobile apps look on the iPhone:

Home screen:

Resco MobileCRM

CWR Mobile CRM

IMG_2676 IMG_2679

Mobile Dashboard:

Resco MobileCRM

CWR Mobile CRM

Not available on iPhone.

iPad:

clip_image002

photo

Opportunity List View:

Resco MobileCRM

CWR Mobile CRM

IMG_2677 IMG_2680

Opportunity Form:

Resco MobileCRM

CWR Mobile CRM

IMG_2678 IMG_2681

The mobile experience is similar on both apps.  CWR Mobility have aligned their app to the look and feel of Microsoft Dynamics 4.0 (which is even more evident in their configuration tools I will talk about later). 

I definitely prefer Resco MobileCRM’s Form layout – e.g. the Opportunity form you see above.  CWR Mobility’s Mobile CRM forms are in desperate need of a face lift. 

The user experience works on both apps but the Resco UI is definitely a nicer place to be hanging out.

For those customers that are concerned about storing customer data on the mobile device Resco has the edge with its ‘always online’ option.  However with CRM 2011 soon to support Safari on iPad, customers who don’t want offline capabilities may be better to just use the native web client on iPads rather than pay additional licenses for a mobile client.  The same option will exist for Windows 8 tablet / Surface users.

 


Here’s how the 2 mobile apps look on the iPad:

Firstly Resco:

IMG_0149

 

IMG_0150

 

IMG_0151

 

IMG_0152

 

IMG_0158

And here’s CWR on the iPad:

IMG_0154

 

IMG_0155

 

IMG_0156

 

IMG_0157

Resco make a lot better use of the real estate available on the iPad.  In a generic CRM demo where I want to show off that CRM can run on iPads I will always go with Resco you get a much better wow factor response.

 


Device Support Comparison:

image

Whilst CWR and Resco support a similar set of mobile platforms there are some differences…

CWR supports the following mobile devices:

image

Resco supports:

image

 

The big differences there are:

  • Only CWR supports Blackberry (do business still make their staff use BlackBerrys?  Are they that cruel?)
  • CWR’s Android support does not include Tablet support.  Resco has separate mobile apps for Android phone and Android tablet.
  • Resco supports the older version of Windows phone (Windows Mobile 6.5)
  • Resco has a mobile apps for Windows 7, XP, Vista
  • Resco has a mobile app for Windows 8
    Resco having a mobile app for Windows 7, XP, Vista and Windows 8 is very interesting to me.  This offering gives you an alternative user experience for your laptop/desktop workers.  It includes offline support.  This is an interesting client option, it sits somewhere between the native web client and the Outlook client.  If using Outlook is an issue but offline access is required then this could be of interest.   It looks pretty slick too, here it is running on my Windows 7 laptop:

image

 

Interestingly enough it sounds like this sort of ‘app’ like user experience is exactly where Microsoft sees Microsoft CRM going in future releases as they embrace the Windows 8 Metro user experience.


Here is a comparison chart of the features of the mobile apps:

(As at 13 Jan 2012: Resco v5.1.2.0, CWR Mobility v5.0.1.4)

Feature

Resco MobileCRM

CWR Mobile CRM

Supports offline access

Y

Y

Can run in ‘always online’ mode so no data is stored on the device

Y

(new April 2012)

N

Manual synchronisation

Y

Y

Automated background synchronisation

(to a schedule)

Y

(new April 2012)

Y

Automated background synchronisation

(on launch and/or following updates)

Y

(new June 2012)

N

Mobile user can remove unwanted entities from their menu

Y

N

Mobile users can create new records

Y

Y

Mobile users can view related records from e.g. the Opportunity form

Y

Y

Mobile users can add new related records to e.g. the Opportunity form

Y

Y

Supports iPhone rolling Date picker

Y

Y

Supports lookups for e.g. Regarding fields

Y

Y

Supports drill through on e.g. Regarding fields

Y

Y

Has a Calendar view of CRM Activities

Y

N

Calendar integrates with iPhone calendar

N

N

Has an Action for closing Opportunities

Y

Y

Has an Action for completing Activities

Y

Y

Has an Action for converting Leads

Y

Y

Has an Action for resolving Cases

Y

Y

Has an Action for converting Activities to Opportunities

Y

(new June 2012)

Y

Has an Action for converting Activities to Cases

Y

(new June 2012)

N

Entity views support Search

Y

Y

Support for multiple Views per Entity

Y

Y

Default view definitions filter out inactive records

N

Y

Can click to dial on phone number fields

Y

Y

Can click to SMS on phone number fields

N

Y

Can click to email on email fields

Y

Y

Emails initiated from within App are tracked in CRM

Y

N

Mobile dashboards

N

(iPad app: Yes)

Y

Standard CRM dashboards are viewable on the mobile device with data pulled from the server at run time to provide a real time visualisation

N

Y

Can configure mobile dashboards

N

(iPad app: Yes)

N

Map view of multiple CRM records

Y

N

From a CRM record you can easily see the record’s address on the mobile device’s Map based on address coordinates stored in CRM

Y

Y

Capture GPS location of records

Y

N

Existing records are displayed via a Read Only form initially on which the user can then click to Edit

Configurable

Y

Mobile users can define offline filters to control volume of records synched to the mobile device

N

N

Mobile users can view synch status of individual records

N

Y

Mobile users can view their access rights in relation to individual records

N

Y

I found it annoying that Resco’s default view definitions do not filter out inactive records (I would rather not have my closed leads and opportunities and inactive customers showing up in my lists).  However, it only take 5 minutes to change this configuration. 


And here is a comparison of the server side configuration tools that you use to configure the Mobile Apps :

 

Feature

Resco Woodford

CWR Mobile CRM

Can be accessed from Microsoft CRM

Y

Y

Can be installed and run locally

Y

N

Derive entity icon from CRM

N

Y

Entity icons are maintained separately but can be changed (or in the case of custom entities: added)

Y

N

Can select which entities are made available to the mobile device (including custom entities)

Y

Y

Can define the home page list of entities

Y

Y

Home page can be divided into Areas

N

Y

Can define mobile views (columns, search fields and filter conditions)

Y

Y

Can define multiple view per Entity

Y

Y

Can define Mobile CRM Charts and Dashboards

Y

N

Can configure which fields appear on CRM forms (including custom fields)

Y

Y

Support for field groupings (e.g. sections / tabs) on Forms

Y

Y

Can define synchronisation filters globally to limit which records are mobilised

Y

Y

Can auto-create Entity views and forms based on CRM from and view definitions

N

Y

Can define individual fields as read only

Y

Y

Can set requirement level for fields

N

Y

Can define which related record types should be accessible on each form

Y

Y

Can define which columns appear in lookup views

Y

N

Can define fields to search against in lookup views

Y

Y

Can remote wipe CRM data from a mobile device

Y

Y

Export/import support for deploying configurations between dev / test / prod environments

Y

Y

Can define iframes on mobile forms and append entity field values to the iframe URL as query string parameters

Y

N

Can add Map views to mobile forms that render address coordinates of the CRM record on the Map

Y

N

Can execute customer searches on a Map rather than in a List View

Y

N

Define different Mobile CRM configurations per CRM Security Role and have users inherit these based on a prioritised hierarchy

Y

N

Define multiple Mobile  CRM configuration profiles and specifically assign each user a profile

N

Y

Can define Filtered Lookups

Y

N

CWR clearly spent a lot of time and effort aligning their user experience here to match Microsoft CRM 4.0.  It looks good, its intuitive and feels robust but now that we have CRM 2011 it suffers from looking a little out-dated.

View configuration in CWR is a more familiar and robust experience then it is in Resco with the one exception of defining filters where Resco has a nicer UI (but the functionality is much the same). 

Resco’s iFrame functionality is very interesting and could push the app ahead of CWR Mobility’s in some scenarios providing an easy integration mechanism.

In general the CWR configuration application feels more robust, with little quirky events in Resco leaving me feeling cautious about the maturity of the product, although this visibly improves with every release. 


Here’s a look at Resco’s configuration tool (oddly named “Woodford”)…

Home Page Editor:

image

View Designer:

image

Form Designer:

image


And here’s CWR Mobility’s configuration tool…

Main menu:

image

Site Map editor:

image

View Designer:

image

Form Designer:

image


Deployment Options

Ok, the mobile apps just get downloaded by end users for free via the App store, the user punches in the connection details you would provide to them and on first synch the mobile app picks up your company’s particular configuration, that bit’s easy.

For Resco, the Woodford configuration tool is supplied as a Silverlight application that you can run locally or if on CRM 2011 you can import into your Microsoft CRM organisation as a managed solution and then run from a new link on your CRM menu:

image 

Resco store’s its configuration information in your CRM database.  There is no middleware for Resco, the mobile app connects directly to your CRM system.  The synchronisation logic sits in the mobile app.  The mobile app reads the MobileCRM configuration definitions from the CRM database via the CRM web services and then synchronises data the same way.

What this means is your CRM system needs to be internet accessible.  Either you need to be running CRM Online or be partner hosted or have IFD / Claims Based Authentication configured on your on premise system.  i.e. if you can’t access your normal Microsoft CRM system from an internet cafe without VPN then you won’t be able to use Resco either.

The CWR Configurator is a standalone web application that CWR Mobility allow you to launch from the CRM menu:

image 

CWR Mobility took a different approach with their application architecture (or more correctly, Resco took the different approach as CWR Mobility were around first).  CWR Mobility have a middleware component – the CWR Mobile CRM Server.  They offer this as an on premise offering or they can host it for you.  The below table explains the configurations they support:

 

CWR Mobile CRM Hosted

CWR Mobile CRM
On Premise

CRM Online

Supported

(note: this offering will be provided by Microsoft in the future, see the end of this post)

Supported, the CWR installation needs to be made internet accessible

CRM On Premise

Supported, the CRM system needs to be IFD/CBA enabled

Supported, the CWR installation needs to be made internet accessible

The architectural difference is interesting.  Resco tout their lack of middleware as an advantage as  it is a simpler architecture and there is no need for an additional server / server component.  But I have heard colleagues talk about CWR Mobility’s middleware as an advantage as it provides better separation of application roles.  I’m not yet sure either way. 

CWR does offer an architecture though that does allow you to open up your CRM system for mobile access without opening up your entire CRM system to the internet.  Not sure whether a customer would ever have that specific requirement though.


My Conclusions

Previously I had CWR winning this showdown.  As at 11th April 2012 I am less sure.  I had CWR winning because it is the more functional, more robust, more mature product.  However, I preferred (and still prefer) Resco’s UI.  The fact that CWR had automatic synching was a big advantage which Resco has now met.   I still feel CWR is the safer bet for enterprise customers, Resco’s product just needs to mature a bit further.  However, in terms of look and feel and functionality Resco is starting to look like the winner.  It is also very noticeable that Resco are releasing new functionality at an impressive rate and increasing their functional lead over CWR.

I will add though that Resco as a company seem to be more about custom Mobile CRM application development and the Woodford product they have released probably takes priority 2.  Their Mobile CRM SDK gives them a whole other feature set where CWR Mobility currently has no comparative product, so businesses need to consider whether mobile CRM development is of interest or not.  In my opinion both products are lacking basic jscript support.  Not being able to easily inject jscript into the forms via configuration like you can in the web client is a real problem.

Please share any experiences you have had with either product and correct anything I have wrong.  I will update this post as updates to the products are released.

Update (7 Feb 2012):  Today it has been announced that Microsoft will start offering a Microsoft-labelled CWR Mobility offering from Q2 2012 [delayed to Q4] called Microsoft Dynamics® CRM Mobile:

image

The solution will be cloud hosted and charged on a per user per month basis.  You will use the CWR Mobile client, it will connect to this new offering which in turn will connect to your CRM system (which will need to be internet accessible).  CWR Mobility had a cloud offering before and Microsoft are taking this over.  The table below explains when you will buy the CWR product from CWR vs. from Microsoft:

image

 

Microsoft’s announcement suggests closer ties between these companies going forward which will be a point of concern for anyone going down the Resco path.  But then again Microsoft didn’t just go out and buy CWR like they could have so things are still up in the air from my perspective.  The pressure is certainly on Resco to keep pushing out quality product to make customers look beyond CWR’s ties to Microsoft.   So far, they have risen to the occasion impressively.  l can’t wait to see what happens next!

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10 thoughts on “Resco MobileCRM vs. CWR Mobile CRM

  1. Pingback: CRM 2011: “R8″ Service Update Due in Q2 2012 « Parvez Ghumra

  2. Pingback: Parvez Ghumra – Microsoft Dynamics CRM Blog » CRM 2011: “R8″ Service Update Due in Q2 2012 (CRM Anywhere)

  3. Mike Karls

    Great article Gareth. This really lays everything out in a very organized and detailed fashion. Thank you again for all your work and contributions to the CRM community!

    Reply
  4. Jaap

    I am also comparing those two because I have to choose which one to use. This article has been very helpful.
    Do you also have any information on pricing and licensing? I wonder wether the prices are comparable too …

    Reply
  5. Eric L

    Resco is a lot cheaper (1/3 of the cost). Licenses are based on the number of users. You’ll need to talk to sales reps from CWR & Resco to get specifics

    There is also new Mobile CRM vendor that looks pretty good -> http://www.mecrm.com/

    Reply
  6. Lentini

    Hi Gareth great article. I was wondering if you have had a chance to look at the new versions of RESCO and CWR and get an update view of the above ?

    Reply

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