What handheld device has had the most dramatic impact on your business operations? The cell phone. I was in Europe this past summer and was able to return a client's call while in the middle of the Baltic Sea. The client's issue wasn't significant, but the impression left with them was substantial. The cost-about $5. To top it off, the call was so clear that if I didn't tell her where I was she would think that I was in my office.
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Howard J. Schneider
CPA, CVA, CFFA
Litigation Support Group
Coral Gables, Fla.
PDAs allow everyone to turn unproductive 'downtime' into productive billable time. Often, when access to a laptop is not practical or possible, important documents can be delivered electronically to a PDA. This method has saved us on more than one occasion when something important for a client meeting may have been changed or forgotten. A last-minute 'ping' to a staff member's PDA, when they are just about to walk into a meeting, can make the difference between a flawless presentation and one that doesn't get the business.
The integration of phones and data devices is making scheduling, contact management and email-who doesn't need more time to catch up on their emails-much easier. I have been a user of PocketPC OS-based phones since September 2003 and have had various different models and OSs and frankly each generation the features, models and phone capabilities just seem to be getting better and better.
Kevin R. Baum
In the CRM and back-office world, delivering critical information to handheld devices is not only a huge competitive advantage today but will be an absolute necessity in the near future. The sales reps that can access and update customer data on the road saves time, makes more sales calls and is more accurate with their forecasts. If they have access to pricing and inventory availability, they can provide faster quotes and close sales in fewer calls. In fact, if you are a sales-based organization that does not have a plan to implement CRM on your handheld devices, you are already behind your competition.
Infinity Info Systems
Handhelds have revolutionized physical inventory counting. They can cut the time required to count by two-thirds. No more tick-sheets, adding the ticks, then data entry.
CompuData has issued BlackBerry devices to all outside consultants. To avoid any unnecessary distractions, we do not publish direct cell numbers to clients. All calls and emails come into our central office and consultants are alerted on their BlackBerry that the call or email has come in. They can then choose to attend to the matter immediately, attend to it later, or forward it to our help desk for immediate attention by another consultant. Additionally, all consultants can respond to emails, check and maintain appointments on our calendars and access contact information from our databases. This technology has improved our focus on our clients when we are on site, while still handling critical issues in a timely fashion.
My PDA allows me to work faster and work smarter in today's 24-7 environment and provides me with greater control over where, when and how I 'connect' with my clients who are all across the country and around the world. I cannot forget to mention my iPod. It allows me to have personalized audio content 'on the go' in my car, while commuting to clients, and while in my hotel room when away overnight on business.
Susan M. Saidens,
CPA, ABV, CVA, CFE
SMS Valuation &