iPad in the Enterprise

Slalom Consultant Greg Martin

Greg Martin is a member of the Slalom National Mobility team which incubates emerging technology solutions in areas such as mobility, user experience and alternative application hosting.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Apple launched a new product this week.  The iPad promises to fill the gap between your desktop/laptop and your phone as a multi-functional personal media center.  For months the rumors have been building and expectations for this device have reached extreme heights.  Due to those high expectations, rumors that our minds would be blown by how you interact with the device or by features it would have, many are coming down pretty hard on it.

This reminds me a lot of when the iPhone was first released.  The technology was cool, groundbreaking even, but there were still a lot of critics talking about what it didn’t do.  That was magnified when it came to enterprise.  It took a year for the iPhone to get Exchange support.  However, with the release of iPhone OS 2.0 we got Exchange plus a whole lot more with the addition of the iPhone SDK and the App Store.  The iPhone SDK changed nearly all of the “it cant”s to “it can”s almost overnight.  In the enterprise space, new and powerful mobile messaging, BI and CRM solutions are cropping up constantly.  And the ability for companies to create their own custom solutions, specifically tailored to how they do business, should not be discounted.

With the iPad, the hardware is not as groundbreaking as we experienced with the iPhone.  We’ve all become used to our iPhones and iPod touches and the impressive experience they provide.  The iPad is an extension of the iPhone and one can certainly come up with niche examples that would benefit from it, such as healthcare and education.

So does the iPad have a place in the enterprise?  I think so, but I think it’s up to the software developers and service providers to unlock that potential.

– Greg

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