From PC to iPad: How mobile is transforming businesses operations

Organizations everywhere are realizing that legacy PC computing architectures can no longer support complex, fast-paced global operations. Inventory and sales processes alone demand mobile and cloud computing solutions to help increase business agility and enable employees to perform critical tasks wherever they are — not just at a PC workstation.

But transitioning from legacy PCs to mobile can be a challenging process, and getting users up and running quickly depends on delivering a simplified experience with intuitive mobile devices and apps. For many companies, moving to iOS devices makes sense because so many of their employees already have iPhones and iPads, so the transition is virtually seamless.

For example, when the Plenus Corporation wanted to adopt a mobile strategy, iPads were the obvious choice because many employees already had their own iPhones and were used to the iOS experience. Plenus develops a popular line of take-out lunchboxes as well as full-service restaurants, and has been a leader in the Japanese food industry since 1980. The company currently manages about 3,000 stores across Japan and is expanding to North America as well as other parts of Asia. Until recently, the company had relied on PCs to process orders and inventory at their stores.

To improve the efficiency and speed of these operations, Plenus deployed about 8,000 iPad devices configured through the Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP) and secured with MobileIron Cloud. The company chose MobileIron Cloud because it greatly simplifies deployment. They don’t have to manage an on-premises solution or update software, and because the interface is already localized to Japanese, the choice was very easy.

For the initial iPad rollout, Plenus leveraged DEP to quickly configure devices and automatically distribute both in-house and third-party applications through the enterprise app store. In addition, the MobileIron Tunnel per-app VPN provides fast, secure access to backend resources. This allows employees to quickly and securely process orders and tally inventory by taking their devices directly to the stock room instead of manually updating lists on a desktop PC.

In addition to managing inventory, Plenus employees have begun to use the iPads as point-of-sale (POS) cash register devices. The devices are connected to a card reader and Bluetooth printer to print customer receipts. Prior to the MobileIron and iPad deployment, employees would have to upload sales data to the corporate data center at the end of each night. Now data is continuously uploaded to the data center and secured by MobileIron Sentry, which manages, encrypts, and secures traffic between the mobile device and backend system. And, if a device is ever lost or stolen, IT can lock the device and remotely wipe all apps and data using the MobileIron EMM platform.

Since applications and content vary from store to store, Plenus can use the enterprise app store to distribute relevant apps and content, such as video recipes, to different stores. The company is also working on distributing a customized eLearning tool to help train managers and new employees on their mobile devices.

With iPads configured and secured with MobileIron and DEP, Plenus is now able to:

  • Efficiently process orders and manage inventory
  • Quickly distribute and update apps and content on any iOS device
  • Distribute and update video-based recipes and training manuals to employees
  • Enable secure per-app VPN connectivity
  • Support paperless processes across every store

Moving critical processes from PC to mobile requires more than just a base of tech-savvy mobile employees. It requires logistical planning and mobile deployment expertise to make the transition without disrupting business. Helping customers transform their operations in this way has been the core of MobileIron’s business for years. To take the next step, check out our guide: MobileIron and iOS: The Security Backbone for the Modern Enterprise.

Cat Reu

Solutions Architect, Apple Business Development

About the author

Catalin (Cat) Reu has 24 years of enterprise groupware and enterprise mobile technology experience. Before joining MobileIron in June 2016,  he worked for Electronic Data Systems/HP, Intellisync/Nokia, Palm Inc., and Apple Enterprise Sales in systems engineering and technical consulting roles. In his current role as a technical solutions architect in our business development team, Cat promotes MobileIron’s best in breed EMM solutions to Apple enterprise channels and partners globally. He publishes blogs and contributes to Apple platforms white papers. Otherwise, he pursues mixed martial arts black belt excellence and dabbles in customizing autocross and road track cars out of a need for speed.