During Apple's financial conference call, Apple's CEO Tim Cook noted that "We are also continuing to grow our mobility partner program. We added more than 25 partners in the December quarter, bringing the total to over 90. One great example of our progress in the enterprise is Eli Lilly, who boosted sales productivity by equipping 15,000 field-based personnel across the world with iPad. A leader in mobile in technology, Lilly has eliminated laptops in the field, and is upgrading its U.S. field sales teams to iPad Pro."
Today, ABC news in Indianapolis reported that "Eli Lilly and Co. is participating in a secretive program with tech giant Apple to make the iPad more business-friendly.
Apple, whose products are largely geared toward consumers, wants the iPad to become a player in the lucrative commercial technology market at a time when tablet sales are plunging. Relatively few details are known about the program and how its partners work with Apple.
Lilly in a statement confirmed it has bought iPads for all sales representatives, district sales managers, account managers and "certain medical liaison roles" who work outside the company's Indianapolis headquarters. The statement did not refer to Apple's mobility partner program.
"Several years ago Lilly made the decision to equip all field-based employees with iPads and eliminate laptop computers for non-management sales employees," Lilly spokesman Mark Taylor said in a statement. "The goals were three-fold: enhance interactions with health care providers, improve sales representative productivity and reduce costs."
"Despite some initial challenges in the transition to a completely mobile platform, the program has been successful and we continue to assess options as technology and our processes change," he said.
Taylor declined to specify how many employees received iPads or how much Lilly spent on them. But if Cook's 15,000 employee count is accurate, Lilly almost certainly has spent millions of dollars on tablets — even before upgrading to the iPad Pro.