Personal Small Business Enterprise

Turn Your Tablet Into a Strategic Knowledge Machine

Posted November 29, 2012 in Business, New Technology, Tabs on Tablets by 0

There’s a wide gulf between the public perception of the typical tablet, and the reality. While most of us tend to see them as ideal for surfing the web, dashing off the occasional email and running a few basic apps, businesses in all sectors are already learning that tablets can be serious productivity machines for users on the go.

While tablets won’t replace laptops anytime soon as primary workhorses, their architecture makes them ideal for the kind of agile, in-transit use that can help small business owners and employees be more productive on the go. With a bit of planning, even the most basic tablet can complement existing technology and give small businesses a major edge. Consider the following usage scenarios that I’ve come across lately – they might surprise you:

· Retail sales associates carrying tablets through a store to answer customer questions on-the-fly.

· Warehouse workers using tablets and smartphones to update inventory levels from anywhere in the facility instead of walking back and forth to a deskbound PC.

· Road warriors accessing supply chain and marketing data directly, and updating customer information without having to double-enter it after returning to the office.

Virtually any business can find tactical ways to enable employees to use tablets to work faster and smarter – and delight customers in the process. Keep the following best practices in mind before you proceed:

Define the benefit. Build a brief list of the key outcomes. Are you aiming to reduce unnecessary trips in a warehouse or drive knowledge for front-line employees? Know what you want to get out of tablets before you put them in your employees’ hands.

Ensure the proper connectivity is provided. Your business will need to assess how mobile your tablets will need to be. For example, Wi-Fi should do the trick for the warehouse workers in the previously mentioned example, whereas sales reps on the move would benefit from having Wi-Fi and cellular network access.

Assess the apps. Software choice is key. Choose apps that let users rapidly look up, share and leverage the information they need to do their jobs. Search, CRM, note-taking, collaboration and publishing apps can all turn a basic tablet into a much more sharply focused productivity tool.

Regularly update the mix. As needs change, your software should evolve as well. New software choices can expand the possibilities and further streamline workflows. Make it easy for your staff to suggest and test drive productivity apps. Regularly publish updates to the suite of chosen software: quarterly is a reasonable cadence for most organizations.

While the average tablet won’t solve every company’s productivity challenges, it can represent an inexpensive, focused solution for getting more done in less time. And by carefully selecting the right software titles for the job, you can customize any tablet’s capabilities to the unique needs of your small business.

Has your business implemented tablets and other mobile devices? How have they helped improve efficiency and workflow? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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