CEOs told to prepare for enterprise-wide iPad deployment

1 Oct 2010

Business leaders have been told that the iPad from Apple is more than just the latest consumer gadget – it is a truly disruptive technology that should be examined by every enterprise.

The report by Gartner analyst Stephen Prentice notes that while the iPad is not a notebook replacement for the majority of users it is a valuable companion device.

“Individuals are willing to buy these devices themselves, so enterprises must be ready to support them,” says Prentice. “Recognise the soft benefits of a device of this type in the quest to improve recruitment and retention. Technology is not always about productivity.

“The device is much less intrusive in face-to-face environments than conventional notebooks, making it well suited to a sales or information-sharing environment.

Among the recommendations Prentice makes to CEOs is require your CIO to provide a concierge-level iPad support for a limited number of key users and prepare a budgeted plan for widespread support by mid-2011.

Decisions, decisions …

“It is not usually the role of the CEO to get directly involved in specific technology device decisions, but Apple’s iPad is an exception. If your CIO, CTO, CMO or product development people have not already discussed the likely impact of this device on your enterprise, and outlined their plans to address it, you should initiate that conversation yourself, without delay.

“Why? Because the iPad has the potential to be hugely disruptive to the business models and markets of many enterprises.

“Like the iPhone before it, the iPad is an iconic device that redefines markets. Media ‘gurus’ and forecasters struggled to categorise this device at the time of launch — and some made the mistake of assuming that, like all tablet-format devices before it, it would remain a niche product for a limited market.

“Three months and 3 million sales later (with a global rollout still under way) the industry is scrambling to revise forecasts upward and understand the complexities of product substitution, segment cannibalisation and price points. Conventional thinking fails to explain the appeal and application ‘sweet spot’ of this difficult-to-categorise device.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years