The Apple iPad has garnered a global reputation for being among the most innovative consumer technology products since its 2010 launch. According to a new study from Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, however, that reputation is equally deserved in business – especially as firms leverage the popular tablet and others like it to improve operations and boost sales or customer service.
The recent study, entitled “Deciding When to Use Tablets for Business Applications”, published in the most recent issue of MIS Quarterly Executive (and only available to subscribers), is authored by professors Leyland Pitt from SFU and Pierre Berthon of Bentley University, with Beedie School of Business graduate student Karen Robson.
Their research argues that like many disruptive technologies, tablet computers such as the iPad are already changing the face of corporate computing, and will likely have an even greater impact in the future. Pitt and colleagues provide a set of frameworks that can be used to identify when and where a tablet computer device can add value to an organization – in areas ranging from health care delivery to hospitality to automobile marketing.
“By being on a constant lookout for good examples of applications in a wide variety of settings, and asking questions such as ‘How would that work in our business?’, organizations can identify how applications on table devices can shorten, short-circuit and shape business processes, and thus create business value.”
Recommendations for Using Tablets in Business
The researchers provide five actions that Information Systems organizations can take to ensure that the deployment of tablets provides business benefits:
- Regularly scan relevant media for effective, creative use of tablets in a range of business settings.
- Consider the Inscriptive (input) Informative (output) functions of information systems, and the interaction between them, to envision how tablets might enable these activities to be performed more effectively.
- Explore opportunities of moving applications that are purely Isolative into the Contextive and Contextual space to provide customers with superior service and improve the productivity of employees.
- Compare the 3 C-Abilities (Configure-ability, Consume-ability and Context-ability) of tablets versus other mobile devices, recognizing that even small changes in the technological capabilities of these devices may require changes in how organizations think about using these devices.
- Envision the needs of customers and employees using relevant strategic or business process models.