POST: A Pragmatic Framework For An iPad Product Strategy

You're busy. And you have limited resources. But you think this iPad thing is big, right? But what about all these other tablets coming out? And Android TVs? And connected printers? Do you need to produce apps for all of these devices?

Welcome to the Splinternet. The bad news: Devices and platforms will continue to proliferate. The good news: There's action you can take now to build a framework for delivering your products and services on the platforms where it makes sense for you to be -- whether that's iPads today or wearable gestural interfaces tomorrow.

In a new Forrester report, we lay out the how-to of building such a framework. It's called POST -- People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology -- and if it sounds familiar, that's because we've written about how to use it to build a social media strategy, a mobile strategy, and now we're introducing it for the iPad and the whole category of "and" devices that will follow it. (You know...and Android tablets, and WebOS tablets, and connected TVs, etc.)

The report is chock-full of examples from companies like Conde Nast, E*TRADE, The Gap, Kraft, and Nike that are already distributing their products and services via iPad apps. But it's not just about apps. It's also about the browser -- if you've used an iPad, you've probably noticed that the No. 1 annoyance with browsing Web sites is NOT the lack of Flash; it's the lack of touch-optimized content. There's too much content on each page, targets are too small for the imprecision of the finger, and you want to tear your hair out every time you have to click (rather than swipe) to the next slide in now-ubiquitous and page-view-boosting slideshows.

And for a few companies, an "iPad product strategy" might mean using the device itself as part of your product experience, which some hotels, restaurants, and banks are now testing.

The takeaway? Use POST for iPad as a template for your broader Splinternet strategy. Even though the customer base and use case for future tablets and other in-between devices may be unique from the iPad, the thinking you'll do for the POST framework will serve you well when the next hot thing hits the market. Instead of starting with questions like, "Do we need an iPad app?" or "Do we need an Android app?", focus on questions like "Who are the People that will want to engage with our products and services through the device?" "What business Objectives will we accomplish?" "What's our Strategy for executing?" -- and then move forward with your Technology plans.