For a company-planned distributor iPad rollout, there is a little more to it than pulling the device out of the box and hitting the power button. For companies with distributor networks ranging from 20 to 2,000, rolling out iPads for business can seem like a daunting undertaking, but the road to a successful distributor iPad rollout doesn’t necessarily need to be a long or bumpy one.

If you’re not a fan of Arrested Development, bare with me for the next minute (and immediately update your Netflix queue). G.O.B. Bluth is my favorite character, and his memorable quote “I’ve made a huge mistake” always gets me. Making huge mistakes in a TV sitcom is something you can laugh at, but making mistakes in a distributor iPad rollout is no laughing matter.

This is a great time to recommend Why companies deploy iPads? and the Guide to Launching iPads; two free ebooks that will get you primed and ready for your big rollout.

We have had a number of business mobility clients go through the process of distributor iPad rollouts, on a large scale and small. Walking them through their rollout, we have found there are some places you can trip up along the way. To keep this from happening to you, heed our advice and avoid these five critical mistakes in a distributor iPad rollout.

1. Not enough training

And I’m not talking training specifically on your app itself, but just on the iPad device alone. It is a critical mistake to assume all of your distributors understand how an iPad works. While iPad usage is on the rise, many people have spent little to no time ever using iOS software. Many of the basic iPad features will become a majority of the initial training for any rollout.

2. Fishing for a solution, came back with a problem

So you know you will need a strategy implementing mobility into your business, so you buy iPads for your distributors. But knowing how distributors will actually use them can be a hurdle. I’m that way with power tools, buying them without clear knowledge of how to use them, but that’s no way to think in your distributor iPad rollout. Know exactly what business problem you want iPads to solve for your distributors. Otherwise all you’ve done is create another problem.

3. Lack of success metrics

Now let’s say you have your iPads and your distributors are using them. How do you know if you can deem the rollout a success? Using a rating scale for your distributors will give your company honest and quick insight whether or not the problem was solved. Having some objective data, with questions like “did this tool help you sell?” for example, will give you the success grades you need to determine whether a solution was found, or if it needs tweaking. Otherwise you really have no way to gauge any success, and your boss won’t like hearing that.

4. No policies in place

All of your distributors now have this shiny new iPad, and you think all they’re going to use it for is work related matters? I don’t think so. Your company will need to set parameters for any distributor using a device you provided them. What apps are allowed or banned for downloading on the iPad? What should happen to the iPad if an employee is terminated or resigns? These and other questions will need to be answered by policies to keep your company, your distributors and their employees safe. [7 tips for Establishing a Successful BYOD Policy via]

5. Internet-dependent apps

You shouldn’t rely on the Internet when it’s time for your distributors to shine in front of potential clients. Make sure whatever apps in your distributor iPad rollout are used can be used offline. A good business solution app will download all necessary collateral or updates while connected to the Internet, and perform all necessary functions without the need to connect. Wi-Fi is a lifeline you should not expect to rely on, especially if your distributors spend a lot of time in the field or rural areas.

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