Apple, IBM add 10 more MobileFirst enterprise apps covering field work, shift tracking & more

Posted:
in iPhone edited July 2015
Apple and IBM on Thursday announced 10 new MobileFirst enterprise apps, raising the total to 32, while focusing on several new areas including business travel, shift management, and field operations.




The travel apps include Travel Plan -- offering up trip recommendations and itineraries on an iPhone -- and Travel Track, which provides information on an iPhone or Apple Watch while a trip is in progress, with a special emphasis on linking up business colleagues. The shift management tools include Shift Sync for the iPhone and Apple Watch, and Shift Track for the iPad. Together the apps let workers submit time-off requests and accept or decline shifts, while managers can authorize and track coverage changes.

The various field work apps include Expert Resolve, Asset Inspect, Field Connect, and Safe Site. Field Connect, which provides job alerts for technicians, is notably available for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Most MobileFirst apps support just one or two Apple devices.




Finally, two apps for mortage loan officers include the iPhone-only Loan Track and the iPad-based Loan Advise. The latter is meant to help officers suggest loans to clients.

Apple and IBM first announced the MobileFirst partnership over a year ago. Since then the companies have grown even closer, with new ventures into education and healthcare, and IBM offering its workers a choice between a Mac or a PC when setting up a new or upgraded workstation.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    Great to see these generic apps keep coming!

    They provide useful function and an entree for enterprise IT to expand/customize to their own needs ... while using Apple devices and IBM services.

    It is interesting that most (all?) of these offerings have an attendant Apple Watch app.

    Hmm ... What if your employer provided an Apple Watch and required that you wear it as part of your job ...


    One final thought on the [I]Travel[/I] app ... When I worked for IBM, 1964-1980, I traveled a lot. It was a real PITA to record/submit/get approval on travel expenses -- and coordinate that with travel advances, accounting and company policy.

    I don't see travel expense reporting mentioned in the article. IMO, that would be a real plus for the traveler, himself!
  • Reply 2 of 11
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,486member
    It's interesting (and good to see!) how they are splitting related functionality across multiple, smaller, simpler apps rather than trying to cram a whole bunch of functionality into one giant app that would be slower to load and more complicated to use.
  • Reply 3 of 11
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,074member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post



    One final thought on the Travel app ... When I worked for IBM, 1964-1980, I traveled a lot. It was a real PITA to record/submit/get approval on travel expenses -- and coordinate that with travel advances, accounting and company policy.

     

    I used to work at IBM also - IBM doesn't always use its own tools.   At the time I worked there IBM owned ClearCase, but we used some other much worse piece of shit for source code management.

  • Reply 4 of 11
    e1618978 wrote: »
    One final thought on the Travel app ... When I worked for IBM, 1964-1980, I traveled a lot. It was a real PITA to record/submit/get approval on travel expenses -- and coordinate that with travel advances, accounting and company policy.

    I used to work at IBM also - IBM doesn't always use its own tools.   At the time I worked there IBM owned ClearCase, but we used some other much worse piece of shit for source code management.

    Yeah, tell me ...

    IMO, one of the premiere tests of the MobileFirst offerings is if Apple and IBM both dogfood their own solutions ... Eh?
  • Reply 5 of 11
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,899member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post



    One final thought on the Travel app ... When I worked for IBM, 1964-1980, I traveled a lot. It was a real PITA to record/submit/get approval on travel expenses -- and coordinate that with travel advances, accounting and company policy.



    I don't see travel expense reporting mentioned in the article. IMO, that would be a real plus for the traveler, himself!

    Most companies already have travel and expense software. These are often tied into the company credit card whereby the expenses are entered manually by the employee or automatically by the credit card company, submitted and approved electronically. Very few paper receipts nowadays. The last two companies I worked for paid the CC bill directly, saving time and energy on my part. I never had to lay out money except for incidentals where you have to pay cash and those were reimbursed on the very next payroll check.

  • Reply 6 of 11
    mike1 wrote: »
    One final thought on the Travel app ... When I worked for IBM, 1964-1980, I traveled a lot. It was a real PITA to record/submit/get approval on travel expenses -- and coordinate that with travel advances, accounting and company policy.


    I don't see travel expense reporting mentioned in the article. IMO, that would be a real plus for the traveler, himself!
    Most companies already have travel and expense software. These are often tied into the company credit card whereby the expenses are entered manually by the employee or automatically by the credit card company, submitted and approved electronically. Very few paper receipts nowadays. The last two companies I worked for paid the CC bill directly, saving time and energy on my part. I never had to lay out money except for incidentals where you have to pay cash and those were reimbursed on the very next payroll check.

    I suppose a lot has changed since I retired in 1989. In those days, there were many places US, Europe, South America where you could only charge major expenses (airplane flights, hotel room, car rental) to a credit card. Much of the travel expenses involved incidentals, parking, transit, meals, personal services -- that required cash payment.

    For someone who traveled a lot (and I do mean a lot *) you really needed to get cash advances to cover these expenses -- and clearing these along with your non-cc travel expenses in a timely manner was difficult ... For example, company policy prohibited issuing a travel advance unless all prior travel advances were cleared.


    * When I moved from IBM Tucson to IBM Palo Alto DB/DC Center in 1973 -- I immediately, went on a multi-week, multi-city trip -- putting out fires for early CICS customers. I was mostly on the road for 5+ months with periodic stops at my new office in Palo Alto. My family lived in Tucson, and AIR, The IBM policy covered 2 house-hunting trips & moving and living expenses for 90 days after accepting the new job. Housing was in short supply in Silicon Valley in 1973. Every time I was headed for Palo Alto, My wife would fly in from Tucson and we'd house-hunt over the weekend. If we'd seen something we liked on a prior trip -- it was gone a few weeks later.

    Anyway, it took over 6 months to buy a house in Silicon Valley. My boss had to get IBM VP approval to extend my moving and living from 90 days to 6+ months ...

    Sadly, this seemed to piss off the Accounting people in Palo Alto -- who had it in for me for all the years I worked there.
  • Reply 7 of 11
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,154member
    This partnership with IBM was genius. This and the iPad Pro will allow iOS to make great headway in enterprise.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    slurpy wrote: »
    This partnership with IBM was genius. This and the iPad Pro will allow iOS to make great headway in enterprise.

    Not to mention the Apple Watch -- and all the Macs enterprise will buy to write custom code to interface the apps and services.

    That's one area (IBM's influence on enterprise) that Tim understands in a way that Steve never did.

    Steve provided the place to stand -- Tim brings the lever!
  • Reply 9 of 11
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,162member

    The partnership between Apple and IBM gets little attention from the tech press. I wonder why that is? With this partnership iOS is worming its way into the Enterprise while Android is almost a nonstarter. My son-in-law’s employer is almost 100% iOS on mobile devices and Macs are worming their way in big time. This should be news.

  • Reply 10 of 11
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,093moderator
    As co-founder of TimeTrade.com, I can tell you that Shift Track and Shift Sync will get a lot of uptake. My company created enterprise class customer-facing real-time appointment scheduling SaaS solutions, so resource leveling in shift environments was close to, but not exactly in, our wheelhouse. We decided not to tackle it, in order to focus our limited resources on our core competence, but it could be very big. Every restaurant, fast food chain, retail store needs a simple solution for managing shift workers while maintaining appropriate staff levels. It's one of the main hassles for store/restaurant managers.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,281member
    Seeing the watch in this context makes so much sense. For businesses there might be some killer apps for the watch. I hadn't even thought of that till now.
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