The iPad has indeed arrived. You can’t head to a news site or check out the latest on the tech blogs without seeing a mention of Apple’s newest device. You know what I’m talking about – with its debut recently, the iPad has seemingly taken on a life of its own. From reviews in publications like The Economist to an article on application development in the New York Times, the media and the public alike are abuzz with its possibilities.
Before too long, some of the early users, who are now just getting comfortable with the device, will find ways to use it to perform job-related tasks. After the iPad 3G comes out, users and application developers will already have begun turning iPad into a serious enterprise device.
I expect that enterprise users will embrace the iPad for many of the same reasons they took to the iPhone (attractive design, ease of use and range of applications). Its form factor makes it suitable for tasks for which a laptop would be unwieldy, but a phone interface would be limiting. The iPad will especially appeal to mobile workers who need to access information and complete relatively simple data entry on the go. Salespeople will likely be early adopters since the lightweight device will be easy to carry on road trips and will provide a flexible platform for presenting product demos, photos and other graphical information. The iPad should also be put to good use in the medical field, providing doctors and other health care staff access to patient records and other information on an easy-to-carry device.
My advice to IT is this: apply the lessons learned from the iPhone and plan for iPad deployments. Anticipate how your end users might employ the device. Then consider what types of controls you’ll want to put in place to manage it effectively. In other words, treat the iPad like a smartphone or a laptop. It promises productivity benefits but will undoubtedly challenge your staff. They are not going to have a lot of time to come up to speed before end users start connecting the iPad to your network.
We’ve been hearing from more and more companies that lack Apple expertise but need to deploy iPhones to considerable numbers of users. In recent engagements we’ve applied our mobility tools and best practices to get fully loaded iPhones into the hands of our customers’ corporate users. By adapting our iPhone mobility services to the iPad, we’ll be ready when the iPad comes into the enterprise, whether it’s supplied by IT or brought in by enthusiastic users.