How iPads Enter The Workforce

iPad has exploded onto the scene. Who could have imagined that a tablet (a category introduced in 2001) would capture the imagination of employees and IT alike? But it did, and it's kicked off an arms race for smart mobile devices. Every day, a new tablet appears: Cisco Cius, Dell Streak, Samsung Galaxy Tab, RIM PlayBook, HP Windows 7 Tablet, the list goes on. These post-PC devices will find a place in your company, but where?

We've had over 200 conversations with IT customers about iPads and other tablets since January. The interest is incredible. And IT is ahead of the curve on this one, determined not to be playing catchup as happened with employee and executive demand for iPhones. We talk to people every day who are deploying iPads in pilots or experiments.

In a new report for Forrester clients, we categorize the ways in which we see tablets entering the workplace:

  • Displace laptops. This is the classic executive and mobile professional scenario. While it will be some time before tablets replace laptops completely, iPads have proven their value in meeting rooms, on the go, and of course as personal devices. But for now, it means tablets are a third device alongside smartphones and laptops.
  • Replace clipboards and other paper. This is the scenario for a construction manager using an application by Vela Systems whocan now carry an iPad instead of a tube full of construction drawings. It also applies to clinical testing in the pharma industry, facilities inspections by quality assurance pros, and insurance brokers writing business out in the field.
  • New place scenarios where there has been no connected solution previously. This includes doctors using iPads to write orders in surgery or access patient records in the examination room. Also retail floor personnel customizing an order for a new Mercedes or summer wardrobe.

I've heard lots of interesting scenarios. Thanks for all of you who have shared.

I'm still looking for a scenario where there are some business results to point to: tablets deployed, business outcomes achieved, barriers overcome, lessons learned. If you have one and are willing to share it, please let me know.


How about...

How about for sales, replacing the flip pad or notebook (or a Powerpoint presentation on a laptop)? And then to enter the order.

iPads for construction management

At Vela Systems, our customers are some of the largest builders in the world. They've been waiting a long time for a device like the iPad - inexpensive, powerful, portable that they can put in the hands of all their personnel - which is why we've been so excited about it since it became available

Not only are they using iPads to replace paper, they're fundamentally changing the way they work on the jobsite. At the "point-of-construction" they can collect and share quality information, perform detailed inspections, and create tasks or issues -- all without ever having to walk back to their desks.

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Tablets in the Enterprise

We're seeing uptake of Tablets by IT Administrators and Managers. Tablets and Smartphones are always on, and enable them to get the jobs done faster than either booting up a laptop or running back to their desk to address an issue or respond to a trouble ticket.

We're supplying these IT Pros with a comprehensive suite of IT functions they can use to address issues directly from their tablet.