Allergan slashes laptop use in full-throttle mobile push

The long-heralded, little-seen death of the laptop may actually be happening at Allergan. A push to restrict staffers to one device and the arrival of Microsoft ($MSFT) Office on the Apple ($AAPL) iPad reportedly drove a 10% year-on-year decline in laptop use at the company.

Wei Wang, director, EMEA IT at Allergan, described the trend and the decisions that are driving it at Computing's Enterprise Mobility and Application Management 2015 conference. The move is part of a deliberate attempt to limit salespeople to one device, in part to cut costs--a pressure that could become even more acute now that Allergan is part of Actavis ($ACT). Wang argues that the restriction is also a positive for sales teams, because it means everything they need is housed within one device.

Microsoft made such consolidation of devices feasible for more people when it made its Office software suite available on Apple's iPad. The move toward one salesperson, one device is occurring in parallel with an attempt to bring more interactions with customers into the digital realm. When Wang arrived at Allergan from Procter & Gamble ($PG) in 2013, about 2% of interactions with customers happened digitally. Now, the figure has more than tripled to 6.5%. Computing's roundup of Wang's comments includes no details on the effectiveness of these digital interactions.

Wang's attempts to create a modern workforce have, on occasion, butted up against the realities of being a large company in a heavily regulated industry. Internally, decisionmakers can be made to see the value of mobile and other IT trends through hard evidence of effectiveness, but external constraints are an issue. "You can't really develop social media because of regulatory obstacles," Wang said. Even less contentious topics take time. "It can take 6 months to approve even a simple process, with every permutation of an emailed list of suggestions being heavily vetted and explored." 

- read Computing's article

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