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Faster CPU. Videoconferencing. An HDMI video out for corporate presentations. These represented the grand total of what could charitably be labeled as new enterprise features in the iPad 2. Though that  requires you to stretch the definition of enterprise as much as a pair of bicycle tights on a sumo wrestler.

In fact, you could argue that some of the iPad 2’s new features would actually put off enterprises, as IDC analyst Bob O’Donnell did. “”There was nothing specific there for the enterprise. Indeed, some companies don’t want the new cameras because of privacy and security concerns.”

I won’t go that far. But I will argue that Apple, as is its wont, basically chose not to devote its engineering prowess on the enterprise front. No encryption – as the iPhone has; no improvements to iTunes for easier enterprise security and management; no “true multitasking,” as analyst Jack Gold argued.

Not that it will matter – my prediction is that adoption of the iPad by businesses will only accelerate from its impressive debut year (80% of Fortune 100 testing/deploying, 366 documented mass rollouts).

Why? Let’s go through my list – oh how I love my lists – of reasons:

1) The Bring Your Own Device phenomenon. According to IDC, half of the iPads used at work are being brought in as individually-owned devices. The other half are being deployed by organizations who have calculated that the productivity gains from equipping executives, salespeople, business analysts and others with iPads outweigh the inability to lock them down with hundreds of group policies, the typical overkill on a corporate PC.

2) It’s the software, stupid. IT knows that any meaningful upgrade to the iPad’s enterprise-worthiness will be delivered via improvements in iOS. iOS 4 released at last year’s WWDC was huge because it opened up lots of APIs for third-party vendors to add their own enterprise and security controls. Speaking of the ecosystem…

3) The iOS ecosystem is hu-uge. Besides Sybase and our mobile device management and app development platform, there are plenty of competing firms (though our position is that most of those are less integrated solutions that will, for large or growing firms, create more cost in the long run). There are even plenty of firms solving one of the iPad’s less-obvious but nagging problems – its lack of enterprise storage capability, such as the ability to connect natively with SharePoint. Turns out there are plenty of vendors offering solutions.

4) Low price. As widely noted, the iPad starts at a significantly lower price ($499, not including the temporary $399 price for the original iPad) than its rivals, and not just the unapologetically enterprise-oriented rivals like the Cisco Cius. That’s important because, as noted, half of the iPads in business use today are being brought in by consumers. So even if IT is not particularly price-conscious, consumers are.

5) Apps. I’ve always found that my satisfaction from a restaurant meal can be expressed by this formula:

Tastiness + Portion Size + My Hunger At That Moment / Price = Satisfaction

If I were to create a similar formula for user satisfaction for a tablet, it might look like something like this:

Hardware Sexiness + User Interface + Apps / Upfront Price + (Long-term Cost of Ownership, i.e. mobile subscription / 2) = Satisfaction

The point here is that apps matter, both the quality and the quantity. Apple wins hands-down on both counts.

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4 Comments

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  1. Gregory Misiorek
    Eric,

    great overview of the impact of iPads on businesses and i think i agree with most if not all of your points. i’m a bit hesitant on videoconferencing as meetings are a group events and iPad is quite personal, but maybe it’s just a matter of time before someone comes up with a group app that would take care of it  (maybe it’s already there?)
    i agree that iPad2 is incremental and a timely upgrade for those who haven’t bought it yet or were thinking about going to competition.
    from what i have seen about xcode (haven’t really done much with it myself) it’s a legitimate IDE that ties iPad to the rest of Apple family and allows for intergration builiding with the rest of the IT world (SAP included).
    in my book, iPad remains a great replacement for PowerPoints of the corporate world and the ability to drill down into an ERP transaction straight from the device will sell any spreadsheet obsessed CFO out there.

    @greg_not_so tweet #5

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  2. Hari Guleria
    Being a devils advicate I tend to disagree with this posting and to the IDC comments.
    From a BI perspective we have deployed IPad for a CPG customer with IPadized Informatics and teh results have been exceptional.
    Its not about the HW or the SW. Its not about the technology or the things it can do.
    It is all about setting, understanding and then meeting business expectations.
    In all technologies – in my area from SAP BW, to BWA to Accelerated explorer and possibly HANA, I have two comment to make.
    1. Some customers attain Nirvana/Mecca status – or very high satisfaction
    2. Some customers attain Absolute damnation/ Siberia status – or very low satisfaction.
    The key differentiator is
    A. SAP BI has all the capabilities to meet business expectations
    B. In most failed cases technology was sold, deployed and delivered. 98% of BI implementations are declared successful in week 1, yet only 50% remain successful by week 10.
    What one had to sell is ‘Meet Business Expectations’
    In IPad too it is critical to expose the capabilities and limitations to business stakeholders, then perform an alternatives analysis. Then define what strengths of IPad can be leveraged for business users (withing very clear strength framework).
    If you deploy using this method, called the BVA methodology, failure cannot be an option any more
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  3. Hari Guleria
    THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
    (This recommendation is backed by the surgeon general of sustainability)
    Most vendors, including SAP bid for strategic SAP Support to new customers. Once selected the final step is Orals.
    The average attendee in a 20-40 million project is anywhere from 30-40 customer attendees.
    During the orals it is customery to color print all handouts only the night before the next days agenda. In most cases daily printing costs can run into 10 to 30k just on printing costs x 30 copies of each presentation..
    Replace this daily ppt handout, along with samples and and other coleteral with an IPad that can be handed out to each attendee and we have two exceptional factors
    1. Showcase Modern technology to usrs – blows their minds and show moderniation
    2. Recover costs for 30 IPads in 1 to 2 orals

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    1. Eric Lai Post author
      You seem to know the costs better than me, and if they are true, they are mind-blowing and a great example to show to customers to prove the value of what they might be about to implement.
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