I was on an airplane recently and was really struck by the number of devices people pulled out of their bulky carry-on bags: Kindles, laptops, smart phones, USB drives, portable hard drives.
These days “mobility” apparently means multiple mobile devices containing all of your apps and all of your data — all of which you’re carrying with you.
Is this really making anyone more productive? Not only that, key company data is often sitting on all those mobile devices, posing a real security risk.
However, I believe the tablet presents the best opportunity to unify all this mobile stuff and make some serious strides in true productivity.
In a recent article in TabTimes, Ben Bajarin, a director at consulting firm Creative Strategies, says he believes we are in “a new era and tablets are leading the charge,” noting rapid adoption by consumers and enterprises alike. In particular, the rapid pace at which enterprises are adopting tablets strikes Bajarin, citing a Morgan Stanley survey that finds 72% of CIOs are currently purchasing tablets for employees.
Today’s tablet users need easy access to the relevant and up-to-date information on the device, stored in a format that is ideally editable and sharable even when the user is offline. In short, all of this great promise lies within the tablet, connected to the cloud.
The Sales Call – Transformed
Consider this scenario: your sales team is in a conference room preparing to pitch an important client. They fire up a laptop which takes a few minutes to load up and connect to Wi-Fi. Then they scroll through hundreds of emails to find the PowerPoint presentation that was emailed to them by someone on their team.
While they’re waiting, the clients ask for the latest data sheets, and the sales team provides them with out-of-date sheets since, unknown to them, they were updated that morning. Oh wait, there’s another email with a more updated presentation. The potential customer waits patiently.
What part of this scenario impresses the client, makes the sales team look sharp and helps to close the deal?
Now picture this same meeting – the salesperson starts the tablet in a few seconds. They are able to conduct business faster, from anywhere, with their business critical information stored in one central secure place (the cloud), where only the appropriate people have access, and can access it from any device they own. Now the marketing team at the back-office shares the latest sales collateral into this central place.
Files in any format are synced from the cloud down to the device, so they are also available when offline. As the sales person interacts with clients and prospects, they can share and forward directly from the device, and even capture signatures through the device when the deal is closed.
The sales team’s instant access to all of the company’s behind-the scenes information makes it professional, prepared and confident.
The tablet with the help of a central cloud has transformed the device into a true mobile workstation.
From Content Provider to Content Creator
The time is also ripe for all of these tablets to be transformed from “content providers” to “content creators” while also tying the company together with IT maintaining control over who has access to the data.
A real estate agent out in the field can scroll through a hundred emails to find the contract they need, but what if they could simply access their agency’s cloud and grab it in a folder? And if the client has some last-minute changes to the contract, the agent can easily mark up, annotate and highlight any different file type.
Instead of a sales video stalling due to size limitation, a sales person making a presentation simply opens up their tablet and has the video rolling in seconds.
A marketing person out in the field collecting competitive information with photos can add comments and share this information real-time to the rest of the team. Instead of a pharmaceutical rep scrolling through emails to see if she can talk about the new drug and download the datasheet, a notification comes through on her tablet – even though she’s out in the field without a Wi-Fi connection — that the new drug is available and the collateral materials are ready.
These kinds of services would provide incredible value in realizing higher levels of productivity for the growing number of mobile teams that need to stay in sync. I believe it will enable businesses to do more business faster, making more informed decisions with instant access to information, and accomplishing all of this with the enterprise’s IT department still fully in control of security.
It would enable a managed environment that includes users creating the content back at the office and the people out in the field who need access to it. This could include not just internal and external workers, but outside suppliers, consultants and clients all able to get to the business at hand quickly instead of scouring through dozens of emails and folders and fretting over which version is the latest.
By embracing this kind of thinking, enterprises can maximize their investment in tablets because productivity may truly be at a whole new level. Not only that, all of our carry-on bags will be a lot lighter – we’ll feel more confident as business people and not fighting for more space in the overhead compartment.