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iPads are making their way into the enterprise in a big way. If you read tech sites regularly, you can’t go a day without running across a mention of how the iPad is infiltrating corporate environments, and being used for all sorts of innovative purposes.
Whether companies are ready or not, the iPad has emerged as a real force in enterprise computing, leaving them with a choice: embrace, or be left behind.
In reality, the choice should be an easy one – your employees want these devices, and allowing them into your organization can offer significant advantages in terms of productivity gains and improved worker satisfaction.
Back in October, Apple CEO Tim Cook reported that 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies were either testing or deploying iPads, indicating that forward-thinking organizations understand the game-changing potential of these devices.
The real opportunity for companies is to understand just how to embrace the iPad in the enterprise, and this one’s easier than most companies believe, once they think it through. Do you integrate employee–owned devices, or have the enterprise provide them?
How do you ensure security of corporate data? These are just a few of the questions you need to ask before successfully deploying the iPad in the workplace.
Here are four things to consider before proceeding:
1. How you’ll use them. This seems obvious, but knowing exactly how you’ll be using the iPads can go a long way in helping define your strategy for how to integrate and manage them. Will they be productivity tools (e.g., supporting a large, remote sales team to convey a strong brand and consistent content) or used in a retail environment to enhance the customer buying experience?
2. The plan for deployment. Once you know what’s happening, you can build a go-forward plan for how to integrate current technologies into your overall IT strategy. This plan should take into account the following: whether or not you will launch a pilot project (recommended) to determine the feasibility of integrating these devices; what kind of usage and security policies you’ll enforce; and what kinds of apps and features you’ll allow.
3. Develop a rollout roadmap. Executing your plan should start with a roadmap. A prudent rollout will mitigate risks associated with rogue apps or other unprotected uses of the company’s IP. Engaging the lines of business in order to gain their buy-in for this type of process is imperative. Ensuring the VP of Sales understands the positive impact of the iPad on the sales force, or that the right stakeholders know how pilots will benefit from the use of an iPad versus the “big black suitcase” is critical to overall success.
4. Control. Mobile device management (MDM) is a rapidly growing industry all its own, and for good reason. Implementing MDM solutions before deploying will let you enforce policies, wipe lost or stolen devices of sensitive data, and push new updates that ensure consistency in how these devices are being used by workers at all times.
The culture of mobility is changing the business world for the better, and nobody is driving this trend more than Apple. As consumers continue to expand their use of iPads while fervently anticipating what’s coming next, companies are more pressed than ever to identify the best practices for both leveraging the growing use of iPads and incorporating them into more aggressive business strategies.
By considering these points, you can ensure a successful roll-out and capitalizing on the advantages Apple devices have to offer your business.