Originally published on Technorati here: iPad 2 Price Drop Makes it Perfect for Enterprise Use, App Development
The post-PC revolution and its more portable, more personal devices have taken yet another quantum leap forward. When Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the New iPad it became Important to the business crowd because in addition to new devices, Cook also announced a new, low price point for iPad2 – the wireless darling of the enterprise market.
Starting at just $399, the iPad2 with 16GB is perfect as an enterprise-level business tool. The new pricing seems tailor made for the trend of deploying the top-selling tablet for greater productivity, faster and smarter.
Entire companies, institutions and departments across a broad swath of sectors are outfitting employees (and in many cases, student bodies) with iPads. For enterprise, the promise of skyrocketing ROI is what makes the iPad so irresistible.
Enterprise iPads: The ROI Boosters
Apple’s latest move to make iPads price-friendly for business outfitting practically guarantees a large percentage of those sales will come from the enterprise market. Here are a few examples of what businesses – large and small – are doing with iPads, from the boardroom to the sales field and beyond.
Consider these highlights from ZDnet’s list of the Top 50 companies that have deployed iPads:
- Sears Holdings, which purchased 5,000 units, is equipping 450 of its stores with Apple iPads, to 1) train sales people, check inventory and order products online, and 2) allow in-store shoppers to access product information, to enhance the shopping experience.
- United Airlines, which deployed 11,000 units, uses iPads to provide its United and Continental pilots paperless navigation tools. The airline anticipates an enormous savings in annual fuel costs now that pilots aren’t traveling with hefty flight manuals .
- The U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command in early March announced that it has awarded a contract Apple to purchase up to 18,000 iPad2s. The military spokeswoman making the announcement cited low cost as a key factor in their decision to go with Apple iPad.
Beyond Productivity: The Next-Gen Business Apps
Myriad iPad apps for VoiP video conferencing, meeting agenda management, inventory, and even sales processing are available. Apple also encourages in-house app development, allowing companies to create precisely what they need for greater productivity and process management.
There are other, more far-reaching implications. Gartner is predicting that by 2013, about 33 percent of business intelligence functionality will be extracted from a mobile device. Combined with the fast adoption of mobile devices for business, this reflects the host of high-impact BI apps that have been hitting the market.
This class of sophisticated dashboards makes analytics and performance monitoring startlingly easy. At this rate, iPad may play a significant role in revolutionizing business development and acquisitions.
Business Intelligence Apps for iPad
The savviest, most aggressive companies are using iPads for competitive intelligence and sales calls. The business apps in this category allow a sales force to gain valuable insights before making a sales call or attending a big pitch meeting.
As an example, a BI app by FirstRain, an analytics software company, provides sales and marketing professionals with personalized, real-time customer intelligence. The app makes it incredibly easy to access, monitor and measure intensely targeted business news, moves, and information on the fly. Using this app, sales and marketing teams simply deploy an iPad to collect business intelligence, both real-time and historical info on customers, competitors, and trends. Specifically First Rain fetches smartly curated business data from the global Web. In a flash, it serves up only business-focused content from credible sources such as news sites, press releases, company Web sites, government filings, industry sources, and blogs.
Like Google Alerts on steroids – but refined and intensely stratified – these dashboard apps automate strategic intelligence gathering. They deliver high-level, hard-to-find information and stats within seconds, based on your keywords. With software like FirstRain, you can quickly:
- Understand a market
- Forecast the potential of a market
- Improve customer targeting
- Predict how the economic climate will impact a market
- Monitor competitors’ prices
- Understand what’s being offered by competitors
- Learn what’s offered and relevant in ancillary markets
- Discover new customers
One-touch Business Intelligence
Ned May, vice president and lead analyst at Outsell, says “Deploying powerfully yet instantly on a computing platform is an important step in modernizing today’s mobile workforce. But these efforts will only be as valuable as the programs that run on these tablets.”
So the question is, how smart is your company’s app for that? According to the fast-growing number of enterprise players deploying mobile technology, your brand and competitive edge might depend on it.