Is the Pharma-iPad Romance over? Is Windows 10 Next?

Deep Bhatia | October 8, 2015 | In the News

Despite the Pharma-iPad Romance, Windows 10 has the potential to become a serious disrupter.

While the pharmaceutical industry was slow to adopt iPads early on, the device finally started making headway in late 2012—due in part to its instant-on capability and for the fact it allows sales to deliver relevant information to Health Care Providers in a far shorter time frame than paper-based processes.

Mobile CRM apps from companies like Veeva, Cegedim Dendrite help to increase iPad adoption and enhance sales rep productivity, enabling further growth of iPad in the industry. Add to this the ability to capture detailing behavior and make it available to home office teams for analysis and we’ve achieved true insight into sales.

In many cases, however, IT oversights are neglected by business teams looking to move quickly to gain competitive advantage by making more and more information available to sales while IT lags behind since their strategy and roadmap is limited to infrastructure, device management, and app distribution.

Now consider the flip side. Although iPad remains the most popular device in the Pharma sales industry, from IT’s perspective it suffers from limitations in its ability to effectively manage the ecosystem:

  • Although Apple still officially supports older devices with a new iOS release, historically, newer iOS’s don’t work as well in older devices. (Apple claims this will no longer be the case with iOS 9). Apple releases one major upgrade per year (2013 – iOS 7, 2014 – iOS 8 and 2015 – iOS 9) along with a new generation iPad. In a typical enterprise the average refresh time for iPad hardware is 2-3 years, meaning devices lag behind the latest iOS by 2-3 years. Fine for consumers but not so for a sales rep with 2 minutes to tell his story to an HCP—an app-crash midway through a presentation would be devastating.
  • While iPad is ideal for information consumption, it suffers significantly when it comes to its content creation. It’s still not easy to create artifacts like Excel spreadsheets or manipulate large Excel files. The absence of a mouse doesn’t help matters either.
  • Many enterprises would prefer to adopt a single tablet (music to the ears of any CIO) and save millions annually in IT support alone! And while a few companies have tried none have yet been able to successfully realize this goal. Most organizations remain unconvinced iPad can accomplish everything sales needs to be effective.

Besides the issues listed above, plenty of legacy and web apps still don’t work well on iPad—even with VDI.

Now consider a tablet with all the bells and whistles of iPad that also includes a full office suite plus a mouse and keyboard and the ability to connect to a USB drive and a large HD display. Voila!! You’ve got the ultimate tool for pharma sales executives.

Add to this better management control of version, security, data backups and other IT functions. Some are concerned Microsoft won’t allow users to disable auto-feature updates. Thankfully, while this is true for the Home version of Windows 10, it doesn’t apply to the Enterprise edition.

On Jan 21 2015 Terry Myerson, EVP Microsoft announced

For enterprise customers and partners, we will continue to deliver exclusive value and offer extensive flexibility in how Windows 10 is deployed and managed as Windows evolves to become a service.”

Windows10 is undeniably garnering interest from Pharma IT groups and CIO offices as well as from sales executives. I am in no way advocating one over the other. Many questions remain and much more scrutiny is needed. Along with the release of iOS 9, Apple is working towards introducing a few enterprise-friendly capabilities and will likely continue on this path in the foreseeable future.

Before your enterprise actively pursues the possibility of migration, it will need to take a careful look at the entire playing field of devices, app/platform investments, not to mention evaluating all the issues around change management, vendor support and more to determine if any real ROI is to be gained and if the benefits indeed outweigh the costs of this potential disruption.

The Propelics team has deep experience helping enterprise customers tackle new technologies, develop mobile strategies, and streamline business processes to dramatically boost revenue and reduce costs. Let our mobile strategists help your organization determine the best path to follow moving forward. Check out our Enterprise Mobile Roadmap Kickstart and let us take you from ideation to action-plan and build a spot-on mobile app strategy.

Deep Bhatia

Deep Bhatia is a Senior Mobile Strategist at Propelics. He helps organization create effect mobile strategies to gain competitive advantages. He has deep passion for emerging trends and technologies in mobile ecosystem. Deep has extensive experience in pharmaceutical industry specifically around how mobile can impacted its various aspects and process over the last few years.

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