Salesforce.com CRM upgrade puts heavy emphasis on mobile

Scores of new enhancements in the upcoming Winter '15 release flesh out the Salesforce1 mobile app

Salesforce.com's development teams are continuing their steady pace of improvements to the Salesforce1 mobile application, which first debuted at last year's Dreamforce conference.

More than 50 features being rolled out as part of the upcoming Winter '15 release of Salesforce.com's CRM (customer relationship management) suite target the mobile app, according to a set of release notes recently posted on its website.

On the whole, the updates focus on improving the app's usability while also giving users the ability to do more things.

One of the more significant updates is a new "action bar" that replaces the previous "action tray." The bar uses a different layout scheme that provides access to more actions -- such as "post," "edit" and "new contact"-- are available in one place by touching a button. This feature will be available initially in the browser version of Salesforce1, and added to the downloadable version later, according to the release notes.

Other new features include the ability for to attach files to comment streams, and an improved search experience.

For the latter, Salesforce has made the global search bar accessible from the application header, rather than users "having to switch away from their work to the navigation menu," the notes state. It will also be possible to narrow the scope of a search to records related to a single object in the system.

A slew of additional mobility improvements center on information sharing, visuals, task management and other areas.

The Winter '15 release has updates in store for core sales functionality as well, as the second version of Salesforce.com's territory management capabilities will be generally available.

Territory Management 2.0 gives managers the ability to safely conceptualize new sales territories by cloning an existing territory model, which can then be tweaked.

Salesforce.com will also roll out a panoply of improvements to its Data.com contact information service, Force.com development platform, Work.com performance management application, Chatter collaboration tool and customer service software. These are detailed at length in the Winter '15 release notes, which run nearly 300 pages.

Customers can get access to Winter '15 as soon as Sept. 5, when a sandbox preview period begins, with a general launch to come some weeks later.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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