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How to deploy tablets to your mobile workforce

Jen A. Miller | July 2, 2015
Wakefield Canada needed a new tablet PC for use in the field. Who better to ask then the very folks who’d have to use the mobile devices? Here’s what they chose and why.

Wakefield Canada works on all types of tablets, including iPads. He says they're powerful machines and can be perfect for people who have to stand up a lot in their work environment, like inspectors and health services employees. There, weight is a big factor, and something slim like an iPad Air might be a better choice (it weighs just under a pound versus the 1.76 pounds of the Surface Pro 3). 

But for salespeople, a tablet with more laptop-like functionality may be more appropriate, as it has been for Wakefield Canada. For the record, Bricklin talked to CIO.com while using his own Surface Pro 3. 

An additional benefit of the Surface Pro 3 is that, for people who travel, it can replace a laptop and still be used with a docking station in the office or at home. Wakefield Canada has arranged for the Surface Pro 3s to be tethered to smartphones, which means the tablets can always be connected, no matter where the salesperson is. 

Sell the change

Even though Wakefield Canada's top sales reps chose the Surface Pro 3, the company still had to get the rest of the sales team about 50 people in total on board with the decision. 

Before its national meeting, where employees would be getting their new Surface Pro 3s, IT send out teaser videos. Some included a quiz, and the first three employees to send back correct responses got a coffee gift card. "By the time they got here, they'd seen all the videos and they were jazzed about it," says Mills. 

In the meeting, they added what Mills calls "a little sizzle" to the introduction of the new machines. They themed the transition as "the best of both worlds because you can easily break it apart," he says, referring to how the Surface Pro 3 can snap away from its stand. The presentation also included breaks like "retro treats" and a "Surface Showdown" based on the "Showcase Showdown" portion of the television game show "Family Feud."  They also had support on hand to help users with any questions they may have had during the transition. 

And then they had a little luck. Wakefield Canada made their transition in February, right around the time of Super Bowl XLIX, where Surface Pro 3s were on commentator desks and in the hands of Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll (Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen owns the Seahawks, and the team is obviously based in the Redmond, Wash. company's backyard). 

"It's worked out really well," says Mills.

 

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