Salespeople Are Marching Apple iPads into the Enterprise

Michael Vizard
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Business Apps for iPad

The iPad is receiving a warm welcome from developers and business users.

The Apple iPad is finding its way into the enterprise thanks largely to salespeople who want to leverage the device's larger screen to make presentations and access enterprise applications on the road.

While there's no doubt that the general hype surrounding the Apple iPad tablet is contributing to the demand for the device, the way the iPad allows salespeople to interact with data is a major contributing factor in terms of motivating salespeople to either acquire the device on their own, or sometimes use their clout within the organization to force the company to acquire one for them.

This trend, in turn, is forcing companies that sell software used primarily by salespeople to add support for the iPad more rapidly than anticipated. For instance, VAI added iPad support to its SK2 Sales Force application that can be delivered both on premise or as a service.



According to Pete Zimmerman, manufacturing segment manager for VAI, salespeople have been long frustrated by the screen sizes on smartphones when trying to access customer relationship management (CRM) software. The iPad provides a platform that allows them to create compelling presentations for a client, while being able to drill down to easily find any specific piece of information with the CRM application from VAI. The key issue to keep in mind is that it is not enough to simply port an iPhone application to the iPad. Software vendors have to use native iPad development formats to get the most out of the platform's user experience, said Zimmerman.

Given that salespeople most likely are going to acquire something akin to an iPad as part of the general consumerization of IT movement, Zimmerman said it will behoove most organizations to add iPad support to their applications to not only increase productivity, but also cut down on errors that will inevitably occur when someone attempts to manually copy data from their iPad into an enterprise application.

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