Can you run your company from the palm of your
hand? Perhaps not entirely, but there are many
functions today that can be performed using an
iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, or other mobile handheld
The BlackBerry used to be the favorite mobile
handheld for business because it was optimized
for e-mail and messaging, with strong security
and tools for accessing internal corporate sys-
tems. Now that’s changing. Companies large
and small are starting to deploy Apple’s iPhone
and iPad as well as Android mobile devices to
conduct more of their work. They are enhanc-
ing their security systems so that mobile users
can remotely accessing proprietary corporate
resources with confidence.
For some, these handhelds have become indis-
pensible. Eric Jackson is a champion kayaker who
spends half of each year following competitions
and events throughout North America. He’s also
president of Jackson Kayak, the leading whitewater
kayak manufacturer. It’s essential that he partici-
pate in athletic events, monitor industry trends in
the field, and meet directly with dealers and cus-
tomers. Jackson’s strong customer focus has helped
the company expand successfully worldwide, with
distributors on six continents. With the iPhone and
iPad, Jackson claims he can run the entire 120-per-
son company from afar.
Jackson’s Wi-Fi-equipped RV connects wirelessly
to the company headquarters in Sparta, Tennessee.
When Jackson’s not on Wi-Fi, he uses his iPad 3G cel-
lular connection. The iPad gives him instant access
to his entire operation, so he can analyze customer
data, refresh Web site content, or approve new
designs. Jackson’s iPad includes calendars, e-mail,
contact management, and the ability to create and
edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations—all
the tools this executive needs to communicate with
the home office, dealers, and customers.
Back at the shop, Jackson Kayak’s managers and
employees find iPad and iPhone equally invaluable.
In the factory, Chief Operations Officer John Ratliff
can compare Jackson Kayak’s manufacturing equip-
ment side-by-side with images of replacement parts
on the iPad to make sure he’s getting the correct
pieces. The iPhone and iPad have become so indis-
pensable that the company outfitted its entire work-
force, from customer service, to design, to quality
control, with iPhones. Many have iPads as well.
Using handhelds to run the business is not lim-
ited to small companies. General Electric (GE) is
one of the world’s largest companies, producing
aircraft engines, locomotives and other transporta-
tion equipment, kitchen and laundry appliances,
lighting, electric distribution and control equip-
ment, generators and turbines, and medical imag-
ing equipment. GE is also a leading provider of
financial services, aviation, clean energy, media,
and health care technology. This giant multina-
tional was an early adopter of mobile technology.
GE employees use their iPads to access e-mail,
contacts, documents, and electronic presentations.
GE’s Mobile Center of Excellence has developed
dozens of iPhone and iPad applications, including
industry-specific diagnostic and monitoring tools
and business intelligence tools that help decision
makers find patterns and trends in large volumes
of data. The company’s Transformer Monitoring
app helps manage gas turbine inventory and
electronic transformers throughout the world,
with the ability to zoom in from a global map to a
specific transformer and read all of the key perfor-
mance indicators. A PDS Movement Planner lets
service personnel monitor railway tracks and obtain
diagnostic information on locomotives.
With operations in 60 countries, Dow Corning
offers more than 7,000 products and services
for consumer and industrial applications, from
adhesives to lubricants, delivered as fluids, solids,
gels, and powders. The Roambi Visualizer app
lets Dow Corning executives use their iPhones
to quickly view and analyze real-time data from
their core corporate system, including sales fig-
ures, trends, and projections. It presents managers
with simple, intuitive dashboards of complex data.
According to Executive Vice President and Chief
Financial Officer Don Sheets, in 15 seconds he can
get a sense of whether there’s a financial perfor-
mance issue he needs to get involved with.
Dow Corning’s Analytics App for the iPhone
monitors Web site traffic and online sales for the
company’s XIAMETER brand of standard silicone
products. Analytics App interfaces with Google
Analytics. When Dow Corning rolls out XIAMETER
Web sites across the globe, executives can monitor
I N T E R A C T I V E S E S S I O N : M A N A G E M E N T
RUNNING THE BUSINESS FROM THE PALM OF YOUR HAND
Chapter 1 Information Systems in Global Business Today 39
MIS_13_Ch_01_Global.indd 39 1/17/2013 2:24:22 PM
1. What kinds of applications are described here?
What business functions do they support?
How do they improve operational efficiency and
2. Identify the problems that businesses in this case
study solved by using mobile digital devices.
3. What kinds of businesses are most likely to
benefit from equipping their employees with
mobile digital devices such as iPhones and iPads?
what content is and isn’t being used whether they
are home, traveling, or at the office.
Sunbelt Rentals, based in Fort Mill, South
Carolina, is one of the largest equipment rental
companies in the United States, with a $2 billion
inventory of rental equipment. More than 1,200
company employees, including sales staff, field personnel, and executives, are equipped with
iPhones to interact with contacts and stay abreast
of calendar events. In addition to using iPhones
for e-mail, scheduling, and contact management,
Sunbelt deployed a custom application called
Mobile SalesPro, which ties multiple systems and
databases into a single package for the sales team.
4. One company deploying iPhones has said: The
iPhone is not a game changer, it’s an industry
changer. It changes the way that you can interact
with your customers and with your suppliers.
Discuss the implications of this statement.
This application connects the corporate point-of-
sale system, inventory control and management
system, and enterprise system, which integrates
data from many different business functions. Users
are able to share sales quotes based on the most
up-to-date information on rental rates and equip-
ment availability. With this application, Sunbelt’s
sales team can respond immediately to customer
requests while they are at a job site.
Sources: “Apple IPhone in Business” and “Apple iPad in Business,”
www.apple.com, accessed September 6, 2012; Erik Eckel, “What
the IPhone5 Will Offer Business Users,” TechRepublic, September
5, 2012; and Doug Henschen, “Mobilizing Enterprise Apps:
The Next Big Leap,” Information Week, February 12, 2011.
C A S E S T U D Y Q U E S T I O N S
Whether it’s attending an online meeting, checking orders, working with files and documents, or obtaining business intelligence, Apple’s iPhone and iPad offer unlimited possibilities for business users. Both devices have a stunning multitouch display, full Internet browsing, digital camera, and capabilities for messag- ing, voice transmission, and document management. These features make each an all-purpose platform for mobile computing.
iPhone and iPad Business Applications:
1. Salesforce Mobile
2. Cisco WebEx
5. Documents To Go
6. PDF Reader Pro