Laptop issuance to sales persons and return on investment

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The study conducted by Atrostic and Nguyen (2006) categorically declared that the prevalence of informational technology (IT) means that just investing in IT no longer confers a competitive advantage (p. 1).After all, business use of computers dates back to about 50 years ago. Could it really be possible that man has outgrown the need for the good old computer? However, what Atrostic and Nguyen (2006) actually meant was that the manner in which businesses use IT does matter. Hence, competitive advantage may be achieved depending on how businesses harness the power the computer. Research Question and Justification Hoskins (2011) maintained that the laptop is tailor-made for business (para. 1). Coincidentally, I overhead two neatly attired gentleman seated on the next table talking about their accomplishments for the day. The two appear to be sales people and were using information from their high-end laptops every now and then, either to support their assertion or to clarify their point. It is common knowledge that most companies issue laptops to their salespeople, presumably to facilitate presentation to prospective clients. But would the issuance of laptops to employees in charge of sales or marketing produce a corresponding return on investment? This paper was conceived to gather research-based evidence of the aforementioned quandary. Specifically, the study would address two research problems: (1) What are the advantages of using laptops for people engaged in sales? and (2) Is there a relationship between use of laptops by salespeople and increase in accumulated sales? The study will also test the null hypothesis that there is no significant relationship between use of laptops by salespeople and an increase in their accumulated sales based on a non-directional or two-tailed analysis and a 0.05 level of significance (0.05). The justification for this study rests on the premise that although empirical studies have already demonstrated the link between productivity and use of computers and IT, results have been generalized for the manufacturing industry, not strictly on the sales aspect. If a direct and significant relationship is confirmed between use of laptops as an aid to sales talk and presentations and corresponding increase in accumulated sales, it is highly possible that issuance of laptops to salespeople by the companies they represent does, indeed, produce a return on investment. Hence, this paper will serve as an exploratory study to pave the way for further investigation of the association between issuance of laptops to salespeople and return on investment. This study adopted a descriptive – exploratory methodology using a researcher-constructed survey questionnaire as the primary data collection instrument. The research instrument consists of three parts (respondent profile, advantages of using laptop for salespeople, and relationship between use of laptop increase in accumulated sales) and 10 items. Respondents of the study were salespeople selected using purposive sampling. It is a non-probability sampling technique wherein the sample is chosen on the basis of the researchers’ judgment about some appropriate characteristics of the sample, and is alternatively called judgment sampling (Zikmund amp. Babin, 2010). A small sample of 25 respondents served as resources for the study. Profile data were presented as frequency and percentage distributions in the form of a pie chart. Advantages of using laptop for sales people were shown as horizontal graphs. Methodology for examining the relationship between use of laptops and increase in accumulated sales is discussed in the results section of this paper. Review of Related Literature and Studies Jenkins (1999) outlined several advantages of using a laptop computer in sales in terms of: (1) professional image. (2) resource and time management. (3) information dissemination. and (4) customer interaction. In a customers’ perspective, the use of technology such as laptops