Redefining “Mobility” and creating an “Emotional Environment” with the iPad

Eric Carlson | August 26, 2011 | Mobile Strategy

Most of the iPad in the Enterprise stories we read today are primarily about how iPads are infiltrating IT organizations through end users bringing these devices to the office. Spawning the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) angle on how IT will need to support these devices whether they’re ready for them or not.

Another discussion revolves around the Bring Your Own Apps (BYOA) aspect of this – these are typically mobility type applications that are installed by the end user for use within the Enterprise. These applications can include Exchange mail support, WebEx integration, Note taking/sharing applications, usage, etc. These applications are typically consumer based applications that have applicability within the Enterprise.

For Propelics, these Mobility applications are an important aspect to tablet use in the Enterprise, but this is just scratching the surface of how tablet use can impact an organization’s top and bottom line. For us, these are the types of applications that get us excited for the future:

  • Mercedes Benz changing the financing and sales discussion location (more here, here, and here)
  • Insurance carriers working towards collaboration (more here and here)
  • And other industries where a remote sales team is interacting with customers (more here, here, and here)

These are examples of where the iPad is changing the sales process by utilizing the environment as a key differentiator in the decision making process. Typical “mobility” apps are based around the idea of delivering functionality “anywhere”. This definition doesn’t fit the applications we’re building for organizations today. We feel this new breed of Environment Apps on the iPad are important because they deliver a customer experience built around a specific setting. Whether that setting is behind the wheel of a new Mercedes, walking the halls with a doctor discussing new research on an available drug, or configuring window sizing and options while standing at the window location, these examples are about removing the perceived technology layer from the sales process.

The largest challenge in delivering these applications to our customers has been having our customers re-think the entire sales process from this viewpoint. Strategically, questions such as:

  • Where is our prospect or customer the most emotionally involved in our product? How do we act on this location?
  • What delays are we imposing on the sales process that loses this emotional involvement?
  • What product configuration or differentiation can we do in this emotional environment?
  • How can we better position our higher margin products during this interaction?
  • How can we depict our solution in our customers’ environment quickly? How can we define and show those benefits interactively during the sales process?

Or from an operational standpoint:

  • How do we reduce the number of sales calls it takes to close an opportunity?
  • How can we reduce the time it takes for internal processes such as product configuration, quote creation, or order placement?
  • How can we automate the signature process for acceptance?
  • What data and information can we integrate with to create a more complete view of our customer?

These are just a sample starting point, but it does allow the team to rethink the possibilities during customer interaction. This is still a very new market, and as we’re seeing a larger push in typically technology-forward industries (pharmaceuticals, insurance, retail, etc.), we’ll also see this spread into other markets quickly. Read more about our approach in our iPad Primer and FAQ, and to receive updates you can follow us on twitter at @propelics.

Eric Carlson

Eric is a seasoned leader with a keen eye for emerging technologies. He is well respected in both technical and business circles, due to his ability to match up the right amount of technology "geekiness" with business understanding to craft truly unique solutions. As a seasoned executive, with startups through successful exits to his name, Eric has the experience to advise companies on the discipline and objective approaches that are needed to turn ideas into reality. Eric can be reached at or on twitter at @ericjohncarlson.

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