Avi Steinlauf

Tablets storm the corner office

October 13, 2011: 5:00 AM ET

For Edmunds.com and its President, Avi Steinlauf, the Apple iPad is transforming the workplace.

By Alex Konrad, reporter

Steinlauf drives his business with an iPad.

FORTUNE -- Avi Steinlauf doesn't sleep with his iPad, but otherwise the Apple (AAPL) tablet is almost always by his side. Like a growing number of senior executives, Steinlauf, president of car-guide publisher Edmunds.com, views his iPad as a crucial business tool -- and not just for sending e-mail, reading documents, or looking up information online. (He does all those things too.) Tricked out with a combination of customized applications and off-the-shelf software, Steinlauf's iPad is actually changing the way he manages his company.

Using an app that Edmunds.com developed with tools from software company MicroStrategy, Steinlauf can sort and analyze huge volumes of data about auto sales. The company always had those numbers in its databases, but thanks to the app, Steinlauf can instantly pull up the information he needs at any time -- before a meeting with his sales staff, say, or while calling on a client. And he can keep tabs on the traffic on Edmunds.com using SiteCatalyst, an application developed by Adobe's Omniture unit.

Pre-tablet, Steinlauf says, he would have had to run back to his desk when he needed to check site metrics and user statistics. Now he can keep tabs on the website's performance even in the car -- "if I'm not the one driving!" Steinlauf is quick to add.

Steinlauf says that as a result of having more data at his fingertips he can ask more specific questions of his staff, and make quicker decisions. Having an all-knowing boss may make life tougher for Edmunds.com executives, but there's at least one reward: Senior managers also are able to keep tabs on their performance -- on their own company-issued iPads.

This article is from the October 17, 2011 issue of Fortune.

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