To make its mobile employees more productive, the Information and Technology Center for Transport and Infrastructure (CROW) outfitted a test group with Samsung tablet PCs running Windows 8 Pro. Salespeople
are so much more efficient that they are each able to make three to four more sales calls a week. This means higher revenues with no staff growth. The sleek devices also enhance CROW’s reputation with customers as an innovator.
The Information and Technology Center for Transport and Infrastructure (CROW) is a nonprofit organization that brings Dutch municipalities, government agencies, and businesses together to better design, build, and manage roads, traffic, and transport
facilities across the Netherlands. CROW performs research in this area, sets standards, creates regulations, and provides guidance to municipalities and private contractors. The organization is based in Ede, a city in the center of the Netherlands.
Approximately 25 of the company’s 150 employees work outside the office nearly all the time—its four-person sales force, plus trainers and consultants. All require access to server-based applications while traveling, but connecting to these applications
remotely required that employees repeatedly start their laptops to establish a connection through a virtual private network (VPN), both time-consuming steps. “Connecting to office servers took a lot of time and reduced the number of appointments each salesperson
could make each day,” says Robert-Jan van den Berg, Manager of the Account Management Team at Information and Technology Center for Transport and Infrastructure. “Sometimes salespeople could not establish a connection at all and had to leave meetings to return
to the office for documents. Struggling with clunky old laptops also made a bad impression on customers, who often asked, ‘Why don’t you just use a Mac?’”
CROW wanted to make its revenue-generating salespeople as productive as possible. “Due to the ongoing financial crisis in Europe, there’s no way we can add staff,” says Nancy Mailleur, IT Manager for Information and Technology Center for Transport and Infrastructure.
“We needed to make our existing employees more productive.”
Because of the many mobile employees at CROW, OGD ict-diensten, the agency’s longtime technology partner, thought that it would be a perfect candidate for the Windows 8 Pro operating system running on tablet PCs.
||Each of our four salespeople can fit in three to four more sales calls a week thanks to the efficiency gain delivered by the Windows 8 Pro tablets. This translates to greater sales with no new staff.
| Robert-Jan van den Berg
Manager, Account Management Team, Information and Technology Center for Transport and Infrastructure
OGD helped CROW acquire eight Samsung ATIV Tab 7 tablet PCs running Windows 8 Pro. The sales team received four of the tablets and embraced them wholeheartedly. “Startup time is very quick, as is connecting to the Internet, and using the tile interface is very
handy for getting to information quickly,” van den Berg says. “My team has nearly instantaneous access to all the applications they need. If a customer has Bluetooth, they can connect to the Internet through that network in seconds.”
Recently, van den Berg conducted a professional training session and used his tablet to drive the presentation while walking around the room and answering questions, giving him increased interactivity with customers. He and the other salespeople use a stylus
and a handwriting recognition app from the Windows Store to take notes quickly in Microsoft OneNote 2013. “When we are with customers, we can jot notes and send documents to them from the tablet,” van den Berg says. “Using a tablet and pen is not nearly as
intrusive as having a big laptop between you and your customer.”
It took a couple of weeks for the CROW staff to get used to the Windows 8 Pro interface, but once they did, they found it intuitive and blazingly fast. “With the swipe feature, we can quickly navigate to applications, and the search capability helps us find
information instantly,” van den Berg says. “After using these tablets for two months, my salespeople say that they will never go back to their laptops.”
CROW employees use Citrix XenDesktop virtual desktop software to access server-based applications, and XenDesktop runs great on Windows 8 Pro—as does Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013. In addition to OneNote 2013, van den Berg’s team frequently uses
Microsoft PowerPoint 2013 and likes the new look and feel.
CROW installed Windows 8 Pro on four existing laptops. “Windows 8 Pro works great on the older laptop hardware; it’s much faster than Windows 7. But employees find themselves swiping the laptop screens, which are not touch-enabled,” Mailleur says with a
laugh. “Windows 8 really shines on a touch-enabled tablet, and that’s how we’ll deploy it going forward.” CROW plans to give Windows 8 Pro-based tablets to its remaining mobile employees as budget allows.
CROW has been able to improve sales productivity by about 10 percent by using Windows 8 Pro-based tablets. “Each of our four salespeople can fit in three to four more sales calls a week thanks to the efficiency gain delivered by the Windows 8 Pro tablets,”
van den Berg says. “This translates to greater sales with no new staff.”
The project managers and consultants who tested the tablets realized productivity gains comparable to those realized by the sales force. “One project manager who insisted he only wanted to work on an Apple device came to me after four weeks with the Samsung
tablet and said he was done with Apple and only wanted to work with Windows 8 Pro,” Mailleur says.
CROW customers are also impressed by the tablets. “We are talking to city councils and companies about future transportation strategies, so it’s important that we be seen as keeping abreast of the times,” Mailleur says. “We have more credibility when we
are using the latest technology, especially with people who follow the latest trends. We want to show that we’re innovative, and Windows 8 Pro demonstrates that.”
van den Berg goes even further with this idea. “Our customers have been amazed at these devices,” he says. “Today, instead of asking us why we aren’t using Macs, they say, ‘Wow, your tablet is amazing!’”
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