B2e mobile internet: an
exploratory study of Italian
Andrea Rangone and Filippo Maria Renga
Department of Management, Economics and Production,
Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy
Purpose – The paper presents an exploratory study to investigate the impact of B2e MI applications
and, in particular, an empirical analysis of the main features of Italian B2e MI applications for
automating sales- and ﬁeld-force activities.
Design/methodology/approach – The study has been carried out with 16 case studies of B2e MI
applications employed in different Italian companies.
Findings – The paper describes the main features and impacts of the applications, showing how the
network is utilized, how the device and the usage mode (online or ofﬂine) affect these applications and
indicating the major opportunities for improvement.
Practical implications – Some indications for management regarding B2e mobile applications are
the need: to develop simple applications; and to start mobilizing the sales-force, because this provides
faster pay-back and easiest implementation.
Originality/value – The paper provides material to illustrate the current situation and serve as a
starting point for scientiﬁc analysis. Findings regarding the use of mobile phones and mobile networks
as compared to ﬁxed-line solutions are presented and explained. Differences in the use patterns of the
applications are also discussed with real case examples.
Keywords Italy, Mobile communication systems, Automation
Paper type Research paper
Over the last years, there has been an inter-linked evolution of the internet and the
wireless telecommunications world, resulting in the coining of the term “mobile
internet” (MI), which is also used here. The convergence of these two worlds has
presented a wide range of new opportunities that can improve companies’ current
business and develop new areas. Mobile data applications are playing a major role in
new mobile services in the business to consumer (B2c), business to business (B2b) and
business to employees (B2e) areas.
Despite substantial interest from all the parties involved (telecom operators,
software integrators, software vendors, consulting ﬁrms), there are only a few
examples of B2e MI applications in European companies (Accenture, 2001; Air 2 Web,
2002; Carnevale Maffe
2001; Deloitte Consulting, 2001b; Synchrologic, 2001, etc.).
Moreover, little is known of the impacts of mobile B2e applications on companies.
Literature concerning work automation (Speier and Venkatesh, 2002; Swenson and
Parella, 1992) and mobile technology is broad. Nevertheless, there are few
contributions concerning the main features of B2e MI applications. Just a small
number of academic papers (Rodina et al., 2003; BenMoussa, 2003; Kumar and Zahn,
2003) focus on this topic from a managerial view, all providing little empirical data.
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Business Process Management
Vol. 12 No. 3, 2006
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited