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Take two tablets and call me in 2015

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Posted: January 25, 2013 | | Categories: Guests

Editors Note: The following is the first guest post published to this site. David Via is a long time friend (a really, really long time) and a really smart guy. Enjoy!

By David Via

I was conducting a ride along activity today when I was struck by a remarkable idea.  Could it some day soon make sense for some mobile professionals to carry two tablet devices?

Let me backtrack just a bit.  A ride along is when I shadow a mobile employee of a large enterprise in his daily activities to help identify ways in which they might realize benefit from mobile applications.  Today I was riding along with a sales person.  In case you have been living under a rock for the past two years, sales people absolutely LOVE mobile tablets.  I have heard tablets (OK, specifically the iPad) referred to as "the greatest sales tool ever invented".  Tablets are an ideal platform for mobile sales professionals. They are small, light and fast. They encourage interaction and collaboration with a customer over an intimate on screen experience.  Quite the opposite experience of opening up a notebook computer in a customer meeting in which the flipping open of the screen essentially creates a "wall" between the seller and the his prospect.  Tablets are equally terrific for presenting content and quickly capturing information on the fly.

And therein lies the problem.

While I was observing the sales interactions on my ride along today, I found myself in a dilemma.  Where would mobile applications on a tablet have the greatest impact?  Facing the customer or facing the seller?  Certainly both have a lot of value.  A highly interactive presentation - think 3D walkthroughs or detailed product models -  on a tablet could augment the sellers' knowledge and presentation.  At the same time a true sales force enablemment tool on a tablet - here a guided selling tool comes to mind, or other job aid that truly supports the seller, not the type of management-driven data gathering that traditional CRM or SFA tools sometimes turns out to be - would really help the sales person to perform better in their day to day role.

But we only have one tablet, right?  So maybe we just need to get another tablet.

It sounds crazy at first, but is it?  I have run into this dilemma myself in my role as a frequent presenter.  I'm often asked why I present slides from my Macbook and not from my iPad.  The simple answer is that I rely on my iPad to take notes and there's really no way to use one tablet screen to do both.

Prices are falling and so are device sizes and weights.  Even in today's market two tablets cost and weigh less than the tablet and notebook combo that many of us travel with to customer meetings.

So maybe the ideal technology travel combo of 2015 will be two tablet devices and zero notebook computers?

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