Red Bull has turned to a Pocket PC-based application to give its sales staff a boost when introducing its energy drink to weary people.
The software will be used to cut down the amount of time it takes to get information back for analysis.
Red Bull consumer sampling teams - or 'samplers', as they are called - are sent out to find 'tired' people and introduce the energy drink to them.
The samplers fill out four screens of information when questioning potential customers and telling them about the product.
The data is sent back to the company's Lotus Notes server where it is analysed, and possible sales leads are followed up.
Kirk Greenway, IT manager at Red Bull UK, said the system had to be Lotus Notes-compliant and one that allowed changes to the central database from a Pocket PC.
The system took six weeks to get up and running from the initial discussion with integrators BlueTrail. Since then it has grown to incorporate details of the sampler's pay and expenses.
"The database started off just being purely for sampling occasions. It has grown from recording information from people sampling the drink to almost being a workflow suite," said Greenway.
The company is taking things a step further in Ireland by web-enabling the sampling records so workers can check all the sampling data on the internet without returning to the office.
Greenway said the samplers use a Compaq iPaq and an infrared mobile phone to send data back to the office.
He hopes in future to roll out combined Pocket PC/mobile phone personal digital assistants - such as XDAs - to samplers, "to eliminate a bit of technology out of the loop and make it easier for the samplers to use".
"Ultimately, as the Pocket PCs get smaller and wireless networks and Bluetooth kick in, we would like to look at these things," he said. "Ideally what we would want is to have all staff with Pocket PCs so they can access emails and other work applications without the need to provide them with full-blown PCs."
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