How early iPad adopter Hologic overcame integration issues

May 6, 2013

Such was the case with Hologic, a Bedford, Mass. company that develops, manufactures and supplies diagnostics products, medical imaging systems and surgical products for women’s health. The company previously relied heavily on laptops and BlackBerry smartphones, but executives were in need of a way to arm its sales team with effective, relevant, up-to-date business content regardless of location or connection status.

Historically, a conservative company when it came to technology adoption, Brad Shafton senior manager at Hologic, noted that the company began to add more iPhones into its networks as executives began bringing them in… and then the iPad debuted.

“We rushed out of the gate in 2010 in purchasing iPads for the company,” Shafton told TabTimes. “We felt if we waited to long, it would have a negative impact for our sales teams.  We wanted to be ahead of the trend and not behind.”

The company issued iPads to all executives and traveling management to stay productive and every single sales rep in the company has a tablet. Hologic completed its iPad rollout to its U.S. sales team about 18 months ago. The company also issues iPads to some of its manufacturing workers who need a mobile solution.

While the iPads are being used by salespeople to engage with customers and also train radiologists in the field instead of using a laptop, the tablets initially did not become a laptop replacement. Hologic also found it a challenge to equip sales teams with the most up-to-date presentations, brochures and videos.  

“The iPad was a huge change for us and we began figuring things out as we went along,” Shafton said. “We worked internally to create a customer relationship management and sales training tools with our information systems and information technology departments. We had to find that neutral zone where we work with the salespeople, but we don't want to force things on them and negatively impact their jobs.”

Hologic's case is unfortunately common for many companies that adopt tablets without a clear business strategy. An overwhelming majority of the 140 sales executives and managers surveyed by analysts at Profitable Channels still wrestle with deploying devices and providing access to basic sales apps. One third of businesses surveyed report they even still struggle with justifying their mobile sales investments going forward.

Broad range of software support

To better get a handle on its marketing and sales assets and to provide its iPad users with confidence, Hologic evaluated several iPad solutions throughout its search.

For mobile device management – or MDM, Hologic uses MobileIron which augmented the management changes in iOS from version 4 to 5. The company uses the same software for its iPhones as well.

For general file management and file transfers, Shafton says Hologic uses Good Reader. The goal was to get assets out to salespeople efficiently. However, executives said there was no easy way to see where sales assets were being picked up or verification that the sales materials were up to date.

Hologic ultimately selected the bigtincan hub for its in-depth reporting and analytics, automatic syncing, search functionality and robust security capabilities. Sales teams also use the bigtincan software to view, interact and share its content and understand what type of content really works with prospective customers.

“We have had a tough time putting a number on the impact of sales revenues or number of closes, but we continue to hear on a weekly basis that we were able to make a sale because of the iPad,” Shafton said.

Because salespeople are very protective of their tools, replacements for stolen or lost iPads is less than 1% of the total number deployed, Shafton says. A mere 4%-5% are damaged annually.

The next step for Hologic, says Shafton, is to complete the worldwide rollout of iPads and convert its laptop and BlackBerry apps to iOS. The company will also begin replacing its first-generation iPad devices with newer models as needed.

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