In the past, I’ve discussed how there are three phases of mobility. In the first phase, a business will simply rework many of its existing solutions so that it operates in the mobile domain, or they will seek out mobile versions of existing applications. In many cases, companies start by replacing volumes of paper or paper-based processes with mobile apps or mobile content management.

Phase one begins with a wave of productivity enhancements that lessen the time it takes an employee to complete a transaction and for it to flow throughout the organization. For example, a salesperson can submit a price discount request from  a customer’s location, and the sales manager can immediately view and approve the discount from a mobile device while on the road.

At Tablet West, many examples highlighted how companies of all sizes have successfully embraced phase one, and they are now beginning to use tablets to accelerate business processes.

Real estate agent closes more deals

For example, Cassie Maas, a realtor for Alain Pinel Realtors, illustrated how using a tablet has improved her ability to support clients. After replacing a heavy backpack of literature with her tablet, she demonstrated how easy it is to share disclosure documents with her clients, prepare multiple offers to improve her customer’s success in the bidding process, and efficiently plan routes to tour homes. By using a mobile tablet, she’s delivering better customer service by getting information into her client’s hands faster. She’s also closing deals more quickly and minimizing fuel expense by planning optimal routes for her tours.

Medical equipment sales embraces BYOD tablet

Chris Simmonds, Senior Director Marketing Services at Intuitive Surgical, discussed how tablets can enhance the sales experience by providing richer content, such as videos of the product in action. Today, eighty-five percent of the company’s sales staff is participating in a BYOD tablet program. Like the agents at Alain Pinel Realtors, Intuitive Surgical first used tablets to replace paper binders. Simmonds said they’ve created a new tablet application that replaces sales binders , which previously cost the company $60,000 apiece. With approximately 850 sales personnel, this change equates to jaw dropping savings over time because it is cheaper and easier to update and maintain this content digitally. The application also provides richer sales tools by integrating video.

Physicians rely on tablet apps

Daniel Kivatinos, co-founder of DrChrono, demonstrated an application that replaces paper for electronic medical records (EMR). It starts as a free EMR app but moves to a paid application once the doctor requires premium features. This app offers a great example of consumerization of IT. Before tablets, most software used by doctors was purchased by the hospital. Today, a doctor can purchase numerous work-related applications from a consumer mobile application store.

My takeaway from the conference is that businesses have definitely embraced tablets for the first phase of mobility. The next step is for organizations to look at how the business can improve or change business processes as they adopt applications. Application designers should consider how location, motion sensors, and data from other sensors could be used to change business processes. To learn more about how businesses are using tablets, you can view many of the presentations from Tablet West.

You can hear my comments on trends in the device landscape by viewing the video “The future of tablets: iPad and its competitors”.

How are you using tablets? Share your thoughts here or send me a message on Twitter at @MaribelLopez.

 

Maribel Lopez is the CEO and mobile market strategist for Lopez Research, a market research and strategy consulting firm that specializes in communications technologies with a heavy emphasis on the disruptive nature of mobile technologies. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.