iPhone Case Studies: What Enterprise Users Are Saying

By Compiled By Susan Nunziata — September 01, 2009

We've excerpted details from a series of enterprise case studies that appear on Apple's website that describe how enterprises are using the iPhone. Click here for a summary of the key themes.

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A Computer In Your Hand
iPhone was an obvious technology choice for Illumina, says Jay Flatley, President/CEO. of the San Diego, CA-based biotech firm that designs tools for genetic analysis.

"First and foremost, it's a great phone. But what our employees need goes well beyond that. They need a computer in their hands that can do calculations and data searches, and can manage sales using SalesForce Mobile. Because of the flexibility of the interface, iPhone was the ideal tool for us."

With iPhone apps like Workday HR management software and Cisco WebEx Meeting Center, Illumina executives can do everything from tracking payroll to participating in meetings wherever they are.

"iPhone has improved the overall productivity of people at Illumina," says Scott Kahn, Illumina's Chief Information Officer. "It's rare that you deploy a tool and don't get any negative feedback. But with iPhone, the first response is usually 'Thank you.'"

European newspaper company Axel Springer made Apple its new IT standard, according to  Michael Zurheide, Senior Manager Axel Springer Media Systems. "iPhone is a great mobile device that increases productivity in the enterprise," he says. "Moving to iPhone has been a positive change that has helped the company shift to digital information."

Axel Springer has begun building custom iPhone applications for its employees. IT created iCockpit, an iPhone app that gives senior managers instant access to sales and revenue for each of Axel Springer's publications, portals, and media brands.

With iCockpit, Axel Springer publishers and executives can use iPhone to access the SAP data warehouse figures, such as forecasts and actuals, stored on the corporate network. "Executives can see numbers and graphs calculated as percentages," says Hans-Christian Pahlig, team leader for the BILD Newspaper Production Systems at the company. "They can drill down to each division and to each newspaper, and keep an eye on profitability."

Journalists count on iPhone, too. Axel Springer editors use the Safari browser to access an Internet-based application that aggregates relevant industry press clippings and news. "The editorial guys use iPhone to keep up to date," says Pahlig. "They can stay in constant contact with the wire agencies and watch the newswire."

Due to the fact that Axel Springer owns three state-of-the-art offset printing facilities, Zurheide's team also plans to use iPhone to streamline production management. The company is developing a way for press teams to get newspaper and magazine production status updates on iPhone.

At Fort Mill, SC-based Sunbelt Rentals, which manages a $2 billion inventory of rental equipment, 1,200 of the company's sales people, field personnel and executives are using the iPhone. "They get in a truck in the morning and drive from job site to job site, office to office, and they don't slow down," says John Stadick, Sunbelt Rentals VP of IT. "iPhone works better for them than a laptop because of the power of the platform and its ease of use."

Sunbelt Rentals' custom iPhone application, Mobile SalesPro, ties multiple systems and databases into a single package for the sales team. The app connects the corporate point-of-sale system, inventory control and management platform, and ERP system. Sales reps can retrieve sales data, inventory reports, and complete customer histories. Sales quotes and reports are shared in real time, so they reflect constantly changing rates and equipment availability.

Kraft employees rely on their iPhones for push email, calendar, and contacts. By connecting directly with Microsoft Exchange Server, iPhone 3G gives the company's international workforce enterprise-grade access to essential business information. iPhone also serves as an internal communications conduit. Kraft employees can listen to audio messages, dubbed "Kraft Casts," from the CEO and other executives on their iPhones to stay up-to-date on the latest corporate strategies and branding initiatives.

For Gannett, the introduction of iPhone in the corporate enterprise was instrumental in the company's mobile transformation. Gannett IT supports Microsoft Exchange Server and Exchange ActiveSync, so employees can use iPhone to get secure access to essential business information, including push email and calendar. iPhone also gives them mobile access to Gannett's global address list of 41,000 employees.

IT Integration
Kraft Foods is procuring, configuring and deploying the iPhone for its employees, according to Dave Diedrich, VP of Information Systems. The company maintains a basic Web page with iPhone configuration instructions, and an active online user group offers help to the user community.

In addition to providing the phone to specific groups, any employee who has an iPhone, or purchases a new iPhone will be able to access their Kraft email -- an option that large numbers of Kraft employees have already taken advantage of.

"Our people decided they wanted iPhone," says Mark Dajani, Senior Vice President of Global Information Systems. "It wasn't one of those things IT decided for them."

Deploying iPhone within Illumina's existing IT infrastructure couldn't be easier. Using iPhone Configuration Utility, the IT staff can push configuration profiles for their virtual private network (VPN) and enforce passcodes to secure each device. Setting up iPhone to leverage Exchange capabilities is as simple as double-clicking a configuration file, says Scott Skellenger, Senior Director of Global IT Operations. "All we have to do is direct the phone to the Exchange server and input the user's credentials, and they're off and running."

According to Axel Springer's Zurheide, the rollout of iPhone at the company began with distribution of the devices to company management in Berlin and Hamburg. IT set up Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and configured the devices for employees.

"We prepared the rollout in a way that employees just had to type in their email passwords on iPhone, and they were working on their own," Zurheide explains. For Axel Springer employees in Germany, iPhone provides secure, enterprise grade access to essential business information, including push email and calendar. iPhone also offers mobile access to Axel Springer's address list of nearly all of its 10,666 employees.

At Sunbelt Rentals, iPhone communicates directly with the firm's Microsoft Exchange Server, connecting the company's mobile workforce with push email, calendar, and contacts. In the field, Sunbelt Rentals employees use Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and iPhone to seamlessly interact with contacts and stay current on calendar events.

Distributing iPhone to the workforce is quick and easy, says Dean Moore, Sunbelt Rentals' Senior Systems Manager and Architect.

The IT group activates and configures each new user's iPhone, adds a distribution and provisioning profile, and installs the company's proprietary iPhone app, Mobile SalesPro, all in about 10 seconds. "The iPhone tools are simple to use and make the deployment process very smooth," Moore says.

With iPhone, Sunbelt Rentals can be confident that their data remains secure. Each iPhone has an encrypted user ID and password, and any data sent between iPhones and corporate systems is encrypted as well.

"With the security in iPhone and in our application, we maintain the level of integrity that we need," says Moore. "iPhone is more secure than a laptop in the field. If an iPhone was lost or stolen, we could instantly remote-wipe that device."

In addition, training was minimal. "The iPhone UI is the best I've seen on any mobile device," says Sunbelt's Stadick. "It does no good to roll out these devices if the interface is difficult to use. With iPhone, Sunbelt employees are instantly productive."

Customer-Facing Opportunities
Based on the popularity of iPhone within Kraft, the company cooked up its own application for the iPhone App Store, called iFood Assistant. The app gives consumers more than 7,000 delicious recipes, a library of instructional cooking videos, full-meal shopping lists, and a store locator -- all accessible via iPhone or iPod touch.

With iPhone, Kraft can deliver interactive, consumer-focused content where and when its customers need it. "We're able to make our content come alive on iPhone," says Ed Kaczmarek, Kraft's Director of Innovation, New Services. "It provides the best consumer experience available."

Kraft built iFood Assistant with iPhone SDK and Apple developer tools. Kaczmarek describes the development process as straightforward and quick. Now that the app is available to the public, Kraft expects the downloads, plus potential content partnerships, to introduce new revenue streams.

For Illumina, iPhone is the delivery platform for an ambitious new approach to personalized medicine.
"Illumina is developing an iPhone application that will allow consumers to carry around their genomic information," Flatley explains. "Part of it may be on the phone itself, part of it may be in the cloud that the phone would have access to. It would allow the customer to bring up the application and interact with it live in conjunction with their doctor."

The iPhone SDK has been extremely easy to work with, Illumina's Flatley says.

Though Illumina's developers had never written an iPhone application before, they were able to produce a fully functional prototype of the application within just ten days. When completed, the final application will allow the company to present complex genomic datasets in an easy-to-understand, consumer--oriented interface.

"The understanding of the human genome, which is very inaccessible to most people, can start to become accessible through iPhone," Flatley says. "It will be a mechanism for communications, for sharing, and for data management. iPhone can translate something very complicated into something very user-friendly." At Illumina, the convergence of science with iPhone is helping transform the future of individual health care.

At Axel Springer, the move to iPhone is part of a larger shift toward digitization of content. In reaching beyond the printed page, the company is discovering better ways to distribute its massive daily deluge of information and entertainment.

"With the evolving Internet, we need to evolve our offerings for our printed paper, websites, and mobile content," says Pahlig. "The mobile content we are providing is quite new, so employees need to understand how our content will look on a mobile device like iPhone."

With the digital initiative, Axel Springer has already begun converting some of its popular BILD newspaper content into mobile-friendly formats, starting with the most sought-after information in Europe: soccer scores.

"Our BILD newspaper is very famous for its sports section," says Pahlig. "So we have with "Mein Klub" (My club) a mobile application that keeps readers up-to-date with the soccer schedule -- it looks great on iPhone. Having an overview of soccer on iPhone is a big benefit for our readers."

Gannett launched its own mobile USA Today app in the iPhone App Store in December 2008. It garnered 1 million downloads in only 53 days.

Access to the iPhone audience has unleashed advertising opportunities as well, creating new revenue potential for Gannett. The company, along with its subsidiary PointRoll, has developed the first mobile rich--media advertising for iPhone. The mobile ads are fully expandable and provide advanced features such as video tap-to-play, coupon downloads, integrated mapping technology, and user-initiated tap-to-call.

"iPhone presents a new business opportunity that allows our traditional print advertisers to extend into mobile and leverage that influential, affluent audience," says Jones. "We are very pleased with the feedback we are getting from our users and advertisers. Developing for iPhone is a very bright future for us."


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