While companies can claim their rugged Windows Mobile devices still have years left in them, the lack of support from Microsoft and the technology ecosystem, as well as security issues, is making them increasingly difficult and expensive to maintain.
But beyond these discernible expenses, there’s the opportunity cost. By failing to embrace current technology, companies are missing opportunities to empower their field teams.
The Evolution of Sales Force Technology
Since 2000, when Windows Mobile devices began replacing paper as the default method for retail execution, technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. The ubiquity and affordability of smartphones and tablets, coupled with integrated features such as GPS, cameras, touch screens, online/offline capabilities, and real-time access to data and analytics, has provided the catalyst for transforming the way reps work in the field. The fact that these devices can be equipped with rugged cases that can take a beating means productivity can be gain and nothing is lost – all at a significantly reduced price point.
It’s not surprising that many companies have incorporated smartphones and tablets into their sales and delivery processes. Powered by robust retail execution software, the increased speed, capacity and mobility of these devices eliminate many manual, time-consuming processes and deliver more information to the field, enabling reps to complete more work, proactively address issues at the store and uncover new opportunities.
Add in integrated tools such as augmented reality, image recognition and retailer EPoS data that drives “Next Best Action”, and the field rep can achieve more in store, execute perfect orders and deliver on expectations.
Choose the Right Device for Your Organization
When evaluating technology and mobile devices for your field team, key considerations are:
-Does the field force work in conditions where internet access is unreliable?
Devices that can function without internet access enable reps to be productive even in remote areas.
-What tasks need to be performed on the device?
The larger screen size of a tablet will be more effective in making presentations. In more task-based settings, a smartphone may be a better option.
-What devices or platforms will the business support?
Companies may mandate a specific operating system or type of device or it may have a BYOD policy. A mobile solution that supports multiple platforms and devices provides the most flexibility for the organization.
-What is the cost of the device?
When determining budgets, organizations should factor in service, data and support costs, in addition to the cost of the device.
The end of Windows Mobile support is an opportunity for companies to rethink their retail execution strategies and mobility solutions. For more information on how consumer goods companies are leveraging mobile technology to optimize field force activity and maximize in-store selling opportunities, download our Field Force Mobility White Paper here.
For more than 20 years, StayinFront has been consistently raising the bar, delivering and integrating innovative mobile field solutions that are focused on empowering retail field teams to do more, know more, and sell more on every store visit.