By: Jason Thomas, Skeleton Key
How can you leverage the iPad to help run your business? Let's take a look at a few ways clients are making productive use of iPads and how they have become highly valuable tools for their business.
1. Leverage software.
Group Logic's mobilEcho is a great, secure tool to leverage software. Without secure access to your files what can you really accomplish? For me, the answer has always been, ‘not much’. MobilEcho empowers mobile users with anytime, anywhere, access to their important files, delivering the full promise of mobile productivity and collaboration.
2. Use the apps associated with your cloud-based business software.
The list here is nearly endless and is really determined by your specific business and the software you already use. Many companies use applications like salesforce.com, Zoho, SugarCRM or Microsoft Dynamics as sales tools. All of them have iOS apps. If you're using QuickBooks or FreshBooks they also have iOS apps. Check the statements. The options are nearly endless but I'm always surprised how few business people leverage the mobile versions of software they already pay for.
3. Eliminate paper.
We have helped several clients eliminate paper that most often used to be attached to large clipboards and usually required the staff to decipher handwritten notes before it was ever entered into a digital system. We all know the bottleneck and errors that this routine can cause. It can be completely avoided by using apps like FormEntry or Formstack, if you need simple forms. In more complex situations, like site surveys or inspections. you may need to leverage custom application development to achieve your objectives.
4. Automate data entry.
Other clients have taken iPads into the field along with bar code scanners and have allowed their field technicians to scan barcodes and enter that same data in minutes, instead of hours/days/weeks.
5. Give killer presentations to clients.
Of course Apple offers it’s Keynote app but there’s also Prezi, which provides many templates and great zoom features, to create compelling presentations. Sometimes those solutions won’t deliver the kind of custom presentation you'd like for you or your clients. If that's the case, I have seen great examples of custom developed applications, that empower sales reps to do things like flip through products with buyers, mark items they're interested, etc. At the end of a sales meeting, the sales rep has a tailored quote with beautiful graphics emailed to that buyer. This minimizes sales cycle, eliminates data entry by the sales reps and gets them in front of more customers faster. 6. Dictate while driving. This entire blog post was drafted using the Dragon dictation application. There are other apps that provide similar functionality. The point is, I’m using my commute to create content. You can too. A few questions to get you going:
About the Author:
Jason Thomas manages Business Development at Skeleton Key and Brightsource IT. Skeleton Key is a Platinum Level FileMaker Business Alliance company, an Authorized FileMaker Trainer, a member of the Apple Consultants Network and a Microsoft Registered Partner.