IPads, tablets: A developing asset for sales

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Recently, Makino, like many companies, has deployed iPads to our sales force. IPad and tablet use is increasing dramatically in the manufacturing world, as many companies are actively deploying them to their sales organizations to deliver presentations, video and other content. In addition, CRM systems and email are also being utilized on tablets.

Some data suggests that since its launch in April 2010, iPads have been adopted by a majority of Fortune 100 companies and over two-thirds of manufacturing companies—and who knows how many tens of millions have now been sold. IPads and other tablets provide collaborative tools and numerous ways to share files and content, but tablets are designed primarily for the consumption of content, not the creation of it. 

One of the challenges we are finding with the deployment of iPads is maintaining the security of technical documents, pricing, product availability and video files. If you need to control security on some of the materials on the tablet or restrict a function to only certain users, there are a number of mobile device applications that allow for automatic syncing of content or to prevent editing of certain file types. There are also a number of other mobile device management (MDM) applications to help keep sensitive or confidential information secure if a device is lost or stolen.   

One area that we have discovered that needs new tools developed is the management of secure video assets. Are there any applications developers listening! 

Without question, our recent experience has been very positive. Delivering effective sales presentations, electronic brochures and other collateral materials to a prospect has been greeted very positively with our direct and distributor sales forces. In essence, we have eliminated printed sales materials.  

We are managing the content on our direct and regional sales force's iPads, and our distributors are obtaining their own mobile devices external to our MDM application systems, but we are providing the extensive content for their use in the field. We are controlling the distribution and syncing of this content via applications like Box and GoodReader. After just three months of iPad deployment, we can cite numerous examples of successful sales calls and new business generated as a result. 

Now they can throw away those brochures that used to clutter the trunks of their cars and make room for their golf clubs! And my marketing team has a lot more work to do to develop, produce and update materials for effective operation and viewing on mobile devices. The revolution may only be starting. Good thing I don't play golf.

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