Getting off Apple and going all Google has increased my respect for both companies. I've come to realize that the very best mobile experience right now is built on a foundation of Google services on Apple hardware. I wish only that these two companies could get along better, and that Apple will allow more Google integration on the iPhone.
Command from the head of sales: Get my entire staff iPads!
There are two common story lines regarding the consumerization of IT in the enterprise. The first features a bottom-up invasion of personal devices into the workplace by employees who insist on using the best tools to do their jobs, tech staff be damned.
The second is a top-down affair in which some high-ranking executive falls in love with his or her personal device and insists to IT that the enterprise must embrace this cutting-edge technology.
The tale of how medical technology and services vendor St. Jude Medical ended up distributing more than 3,000 iPads to its sales force and other employees falls into the latter category, according to Mark Kreitz, mobility manager for the St. Paul, Minn.-based company.
“What happened was about a year and a half or almost two years ago, our then president of sales got an iPad and absolutely fell in love with it,” Kreitz tells CITEworld. “And he said, ‘You know what? My sales guys need to be able to do what they’re doing with their laptop on their iPad.’ So he contacted IT and we said, ‘We’ll make it happen.’”
Make it happen they did.
“We’ve rolled out more than 3,000 iPads,” Kreitz says. “Not only to the sales team, which consists of 2,300 to 2,400 people across the world, but also to support staff, development staff on-site, internal apps developers, as well as our marketing team and all the people that help our sales out.”
These sales pros generate a lot of revenue for the company: $5.61 billion in fiscal year 2011 alone. St. Jude is a major player in the medical technology industry, a publicly traded company (NYSE: STJ) with a market capitalization of $12.47 billion and competitors such as Medtronic, Boston Scientific and Edwards Lifesciences.
Among the sophisticated medical products developed and sold by St. Jude are heart valves and valve repair products, artificial pacemakers, electrophysiology catheters, and vascular closure devices. In other words, life and death stuff.
Now, instead of “lugging around a 9-pound Dell laptop,” Kreitz says, St. Jude sales pros can “take this tiny 1-pound or 2-pound device, go into a doctor’s office and give whatever presentation they need to give, show all of our marketing collateral, our catalogs and our products in 3D in real time -- how it works, the whole nine yards, standing right there in the doctor’s office.”
St. Jude Medical’s iPad program wouldn’t work, however, without another important element of the consumerization of IT – the cloud.
Even though St. Jude has opted for the iPad with the largest storage capacity – the 64GB model – Kreitz says even that is insufficient.
“We’ve got movies alone that are 5GB and 6GB,” he says. “You get a couple of them out there with good-sized apps and the iPad’s full.”
So the company embarked on a search for a cloud-based storage solution.
“We looked at a couple of options, some kind of internal storage box, DropBox, Google Docs, and Box just won hands down,” Kreitz says. “It was everything we needed it to be. It was secure, it was simple, there was no learning curve. It qualified not only for our legal parameters, but for the beginning stages of HIPAA compliance as well.”
The combination of the iPads and Box has enabled St. Jude to streamline processes, starting from the field. Explains Kreitz:
New data visualization apps for Excel 2013 could help Microsoft hang on to customers looking for better data visualization tools.
Surface has been a stiff so far, but Microsoft reportedly has big expectations for its next fiscal year. Here's why the company may not be crazy.
Brandon Porco, the chief technologist for defense contractor Northrop Grumman, says that IT will have to try lots of different things and move quickly to keep abreast of evolving employee needs. "Google has it very well-patterned: Launch and iterate."
Although Apple is often accused of not being an enterprise company, it's only in the last few years that Apple has abandoned its enterprise-oriented products. The real story may be that Apple's discovered that making enterprise-focused efforts simply don't deliver a huge return on investment.