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Apps drive business productivity, respect for IT

Adam Bender | Aug. 28, 2013
Mobility success increased IT's prominence in business, says Swisse official

From left to right, Stockland's Craig Miller, Eastern Tree Services CFO Paul Tymensen and Adam Troughear from Swisse Wellness
From left to right, Stockland's Craig Miller, Eastern Tree Services CFO Paul Tymensen and Adam Troughear from Swisse Wellness

Mobile applications have streamlined business processes and increased the capabilities of Swisse Wellness, Stockland and Eastern Tree Services (ETS), the companies said on a customer panel at the AirWatch Connect conference in Melbourne.

Swisse Wellness has a customer-facing app on point-of-sale devices called iHubs located in pharmacies throughout Australia. The app includes marketing materials and how-to guides about the company's vitamins and supplements.

"It's enabled our customers to make a more informed decision about what they want to purchase," said Adam Troughear, IT communications, mobility and innovations specialist at Swisse.

Internally, Swisse has developed apps for its sales team. "We're just slowly adding more and more apps to tackle individual little business problems," Troughear said.

While the sales team had initially resisted using iPads, they are now giving positive feedback to IT, he said. "They can go into the store and they are able to interact a lot more naturally with our customers because they don't have a laptop in front of them."

The success has increased the prominence of IT in the business, Troughear said. "It's started to help IT become more integrated with all of the other teams within the business. Other teams in the business are starting to come to us to help them solve a challenge."

Looking ahead, Troughear expects that mobile apps will fuel Melbourne-based Swisse's international expansion, he said. The company has entered the United States and New Zealand and is looking at Europe. Mobility will "allow us to keep a really lean IT team and still manage everything from Melbourne".

Stockland, a retail and residential property development company, has 1000 smartphones and 300 iPads in the business, according to Craig Miller, the company's IT operations manager. Like the other companies, Stockland has apps for internal and external uses.

One of the most popular recent iPad apps is used by leasing executives at shopping centres to quickly get information about shop fronts, Miller said. "They can give [customers] information in real-time about the square footage of the shop, how much it's going to cost, what potential revenue they could be getting, what traffic goes by" and other analytics, he said.

The app has only been available for three to four months and it's already considered "business critical" by the staff, Miller said. "There's even talk about commercialising it."

Meanwhile, IT and the business is now working closely together to develop additional apps to improve other business processes, he said.


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