With 3G enabled-Lenovo netbooks, the company’s 800-strong salesforce in India can now send sales reports on the go.
The sales personnel are its biggest assets, and yet until two years back, they didn’t even have company e-mail IDs.The biggest challenge for AZ was to track IT assets outside our office and ensure that they are compliant with the company’s policies The software has ensured that Kumar can have his IT assets spread across the country and still get a peaceful night’s sleep.
Organization: With the only dedicated research center for Tuberculosis in the world, AstraZeneca India (AZ) is a multinational pharmaceutical firm. The company recently created a stir in the pharma industry by being the first to announce that it’s scrapping payments for doctors to attend international medical congresses. This move was aimed at tackling corrupt practices in the pharma industry, especially bribing of doctors to promote AZ’s products.
Business Case: AstraZeneca has 800 sales representatives spread across tier one, tier two and tier three cities of India, who get just three minutes to sell their drugs to doctors. These sales personnel are its biggest assets, and yet until two years back, they didn’t even have company e-mail IDs. “Our mail server doesn’t allow Web access. Since the sales people would work on the go and report to zonal offices only once in a quarter, we weren’t able to give them the official AstraZeneca e-mail IDs,” explains S N Krishan Kumar, IS-manager (equivalent to CIO in the organization).
Consequently, at the end of each day, the sales people had to use either their personal computers or rely on cyber cafés to access their sales application, Delta (developed in-house) to do their sales reporting. Admittedly, it wasn’t the most efficient way to do things.
Challenges: Kumar had for long wanted to empower the company’s salesforce with laptops to make their task easier. But being in a research oriented pharma sector, the risk of information security was high. “We follow a high security and compliance policy within the organization. The biggest challenge for us was to track IT assets outside our office and ensure that they are compliant with the company’s policies,” he explains.
Kumar had been evaluating various solutions in the market. Finally, he came across Kaseya’s automated managed services solution that seemed to meet all his needs. The solution would enable Kumar to remotely track all activities on the netbook. But he wasn’t convinced.
“Before we could implement the solution, we asked Kaseya to take us to a client who was using the same solution to see the benefits ourselves. We were lucky that the vendor’s client was one of the largest pharma companies in India: Himalaya drugs. We saw the solution work for them and we were convinced,” says Kumar.
First Steps: AstraZeneca issued 800 Lenovo netbooks to its salesforce. Every netbook had the AMS software pre-installed. “We can push anti-virus patches, update software and manage them just like we manage our assets on premise, “says Kumar.
Along with the netbook, the company has given the salesforce a Reliance data card to access the Internet on the go and an RSA token for secure access to the company’s Intranet. What’s more the Lenovo netbook can also support 3G. Also, some of the company’s salesforce use tablet PCs and the software is compatible with that as well.
Benefits: The software has ensured that Kumar can have his IT assets spread across the country and still get a peaceful night’s sleep. “The good thing is none of the official company data, e-mails or application, reside locally on the machine. They are saved on the server. Without the access code, it would be a dumb machine for whoever lays their hands on it,” he says.
Besides ensuring stringent security, it has helped business monitor the productivity of the salesforce better. “If someone does not log onto his computer for three days, we immediately get in touch with him to find out what’s happening,” he says.
Having netbooks, has helped the salesforce ditch the practice of carrying bulky sales brochures and switching to smart digital brochures to make their sale more effective. After all three minutes is all they have.