Lighten Your Load: The Value in Consolidating Devices

Remember your first smart phone? It felt revolutionary to hold a device in your hand that contained your phone, SMS, email, web browser, and a high-resolution camera. Gone was your need for a daily digital camera; gone was your pen-and-notepad note taking system; and gone was your need to be at a computer to connect via email. And while we've all come to expect multi-functionality on our personal devices, our work devices still need to catch up.

In this blog, we'll share IDC Health Insight's work with a top-10 pharmaceutical company, as they focus on the emerging need for devices that are truly multifunctional.

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We're in a time of innovation and change for both healthcare and life sciences industries. Many traditional pharmaceutical sales techniques become obsolete, speed is the new name of the game. Opportunities for meaningful in-person interactions with physicians have dwindled and will only further diminish, as is anticipated that an influx of new patients will skew the national ratio of primary care physicians to patients from 1:1,500 to 1:8,000, leaving little excess time for physicians to have conversations with sales reps.

While these developments have placed newfound pressure on life science companies to augment existing sales and marketing strategy with increased efforts to shift physicians toward more online touch points, in-person interactions via field sales are not going away, and most significant industry sales force reductions have already occurred. Consequently, manufacturers have a strong need to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of sales reps during the limited time they interact with physicians face-to-face given that the time window is now typically less than 30 seconds.

In response, most life science companies have replaced, or will replace, all laptops in the field with tablet devices and are implementing next-generation customer relationship management and sales force automation applications that help automate, simplify, streamline, and advance sales reps' capabilities in the field. The ability to more quickly and easily capture electronic signatures and display interactive drug-related e-detailing information makes the move toward tablets an easy decision.

IDC Health Insights recently interviewed a top-10 pharmaceutical company about its use of mobile technology, areas of adoption, and future plans for expansion. They spoke with five senior leaders of the company's mobility team – representing the viewpoints of the IT organization and various business units - who are charged with rolling out enhanced mobile capabilities across the business.

The pharmaceutical company has deployed 10,000 tablet PCs — mostly to employees in the sales and marketing organization. Cited benefits  ranged from a more interactive multimedia display to longer battery life and more reliable hardware performance (less downtime from broken laptops).

The company believes that laptops are not the best device for sharing information because tablets do a much better job of displaying data and making interactions more intuitive and intelligent. However, they also feel that most tablets today still function as companion devices rather than as replacements for the traditional laptop.

Supporting two devices for employees long-term is viewed as unsustainable by the team members. For this reason, they believe Intel-based Windows 8 Pro tablets may be a good longer-term solution to this problem, allowing them to converge all non-field employees onto a single tablet PC.

Intel-based Windows 8 Pro tablets also have a longer battery life similar to those of other leading consumer tablets available today, provide good multitasking and collaboration tools (i.e., screen sharing and video conferencing at the same time), and have great peripheral compatibility with most people's existing equipment (mouse, printer, etc.).

In the comments section, tell us: When giving your employees tablets, what are the devices you're hoping the tablets replace?

Business tablets should not  only be multifunctional, but also powerful and safe. Learn more about keeping your mobile workplace productive and secure.

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