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Managing 12,000 iPads: SAP CIO shares lessons learned

SAP's CIO Oliver Bussmann has a singularly interesting point of view on using the iPads in a business environment: He oversaw the implementation of iPads at SAP, which was an early adopter of using Apple's tablet in a full-scale company. He recently talked with the folks at InfoWorld, and says that going about the process open-mindedly was the best way to do it. SAP figured, right when the iPad was announced, that its employees would be using them anyway, so the company took a very ad hoc approach to supporting them in the workplace, building on what its employees did with iPads rather than trying to structure actual work functions around them.

Bussmann seems to say that the biggest issue on an iPad is security, but technology is getting better all the time, apparently, and the latest version of iOS 5 introduces some new improvements that should help IT departments with all of the headaches that come from having sensitive information available on the iPads.

Most interestingly, however, Bussmann says that iPads do have one important advantage over traditional PCs in a business environment: Users seem much more willing to interact with and "explore" data on the iPad. I agree with this -- even in my own iPad usage, I'm much more ready to search for a good restaurant or browse through ticket prices sitting on my couch with an iPad versus sitting in front of a computer screen. I don't know if that difference has been fully explored by developers yet, but it's definitely something to think about going forward, especially when implementing the iPad in a specifically business environment.

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