Many business professionals who use Apple iPhones would love to use them like company-issued BlackBerrys or laptops so they could tap into such things as their corporate e-mail systems, customer contact lists, and accounting systems.
While options remain limited for using the iPhone like a networked computing client, they are expanding. Consider that when Apple's App Store went online in July, Oracle and Salesforce.com were the only enterprise software vendors with offerings at the site. Within the past few months, however, at least a dozen additional offerings have come online at the App Store that were designed to give iPhone owners a mobile channel into employers' computer systems.
What follows is a look at 10 enterprise-software oriented iPhone applications new to the App Store. In many cases, getting these applications to work may require the involvement of a company's IT department or the presence of specific software applications on company servers.
1. Oracle recently posted Oracle Business Approvals for Sales Managers and Oracle Business Approvals for Managers on the App Store. With the first app, sales managers can use their iPhones to review sales quotes and approve or reject them, and chart sales forecasts, quotas, and actual numbers. The second application, designed more for a general management job, lets an iPhone user review expense reports, job postings, and purchase orders, for example. The free apps are designed for iPhone users whose companies have installed Oracle software connectors that provide the links back into corporate data systems.
2. For business analysts who use ActiveStrategy's enterprise performance-management software, there is now ActiveStrategy Mobile at the App Store. Users can access balanced scorecards and other performance management tools from their iPhones. It's free, but requires company installation of ActiveStrategy Enterprise Server 7.1 and Mobile Synchronization Server 1.0.
3. Omniture, the maker of software for monitoring Web site traffic and online marketing campaigns, is offering Omniture SiteCatalyst for the iPhone. Marketing employees and others who track Web site traffic can now view reports from their iPhones. Current Omniture customers can download the app for free and use the same user name and logon information they would use on a PC or laptop.
4. Salesforce.com recently posted an updated version of Salesforce Mobile for the iPhone, first made available in July at the App Store, to give salespeople access to contact and account information in Salesforce.com. The new version has a feature designed to appease corporate data-security watchdogs and keep sensitive customer data from landing in the wrong hands: if iPhone users go more than 10 minutes without using Salesforce Mobile, they're locked out and have to log back on with a five-digit password. It's free to Salesforce.com customers.
Building A Mobile Business MindsetAmong 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps – and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.