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Associated Newspapers experiments with iPads for advertising and sales

by Doug Drinkwater

October 19 2011

Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the national Daily Mail and Metro newspapers in the UK, has revealed that senior management, as well as advertising and sales staff, are trialling iPad tablets in the work place.

A&N Media claims that up to 25% of staff use the iPad to do all or some of their work, and added that most of these are personally-owned devices.

Most of the employees decided to buy an iPad, when A&N Media offered up to £200 off the tablet. This offer was on the provision that the purchase was made within 24 hours of the ofer being announced.

A&N Media CIO David Henderson said that an increasing number of employees are using smartphones and tablets, and also said that more than a third of internet traffic is for journalistic research, sales enquires and other personal dialogue on Facebook.

Henderson said that senior managers were the first to access email, board reports and business intelligence on pin-code enabled iPads. This said that this drive helped push the company to adopt Salesforce Chatter, for business collaboration, and for employees to download the iPad Chatter client.

In addition to this uptake by senior managers, Henderson revealed that advertising and sales staff are also using iPads. Sales personnel take the iPads to show customers audio visual marketing content, offer a variety of sales tariffs and capture a digital signature, if a contract needs signing. The Metro newspaper last week launched its first iPad app, and sales staff from the newspaper have been using the tablet to book adverts on this iPad edition.

The advertising team, which has used iPads for about three months, are able to access merchandising while out in the field, store photographs from store visits and liaise with retailers on other matters.

All of the iPads have been in use at A&N Media since earlier this year and Henderson revealed that the publisher recently held a “making IT easy” day, where it asked for suggestions as to how the company could improve the use of the technology.

Single sign-on, simpler Wi-Fi and a provision of inexpensive iPads were all popular choices, while access to all applications from a single platform was another suggestion. “To this extent we have upgraded Wi-Fi across all of our 60 offices so that login credentials work across the entire country without having to find hot spots or re-enter a user name or password”, said Henderson, when speaking to CIO UK earlier this week.

“The tablet trial is in its very early stages and we need to work out if it’s cost effective”, said Henderson, when speaking to TabTimes. “We are trying to let people have more flexibility and more accessibility, in regard to mobile devices. We recognise that it is not a black and white issue, as people have their own product preferences, but we are embracing the use of these devices”.

Henderson said that the current iPad users have been using custom-built, web-browser based applications but said that the company is in talks with third-party developers about building specific mobile apps. To date, the more popular applications in use at A&N Media have included Evernote and Dropbox.

Henderson hinted that iPads could soon come to Daily Mail journalists and said that the publisher is now working on an Olympics tool, so that staff can work away from the office during the Olympic Games.

International Editor of TabTimes
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