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What Side of the Tablet Line is Your Organization On?

by Dave Hannon

September 28, 2011


By Dave Hannon


When Apple released the iPad a line was drawn in the sand for the technology world. While tablet PCs weren't brand new, suddenly everyone was either on one side or the other. Either you were a believer in the power of the tablet PC or you were a skeptic.

But as with any new technology, with experience comes learning. As more companies use the iPad and the piles of other tablets now available in their organizations, that line in the sand is getting scuffed away with the growing foot traffic crossing from one side to the other. And for many SAP customers, the line might not even exist anymore. 

Yes, the adoption and growth numbers for the iPad alone and tablets as a whole are impressive. I could bombard you with a pile of analyst reports to that effect but I'll spare you and just provide this little gem from a Forrester report out this week that sums it up nicely:

The use of tablets in the enterprise is exploding. Eleven percent of information workers are using tablets to do their jobs. "Despite a tablet market that’s barely a year old, this is astounding growth,” said Matt Brown, vice president and practice leader at Forrester Research.

So the challenge for you, the SAP customer, is to determine how many of your IT users are going to join that 11%. It comes down to two questions:

1. How many of your IT consumers will be asking for their applications on tablets and when?

2. And, when they do, is SAP going to have them available on those tablets for you? Those are the two main questions you are faced with.  

The first question is, of course, for you to answer. And it's important to answer now if you haven't yet. So if you are in the IT organization and you have no idea which side of that line in the sand your users are on, find out. Talk to the businesses. Send out a survey of IT users. Talk to your CIO or IT steering committee. Because this decision shouldn't be made by the IT organization, it should be made by the business users. If there is a business case for tablets in your company, it's going to land on your desk soon (if it hasn't already) so get out in front of it.

As for the second question -- will SAP be bringing its functionality to tablets like iPad -- I believe that's not an "if" question, but a "when" question. When will SAP bring [insert solution here] to the tablet? SAP has been on the "pro-tablet" side of that line in the sand from the moment it appeared. And I know there may be skeptics out there are trying to sift through the marketing messages to find out what's really going on behind the scenes at SAP. My two cents after talking with SAP contacts in a number of different groups and units: it is crystal clear that developing mobile versions of their software -- primarily for tablets -- is very very high on everyone's priority list in SAP. Some groups are further along than others, but it comes into almost every conversation I have with SAP folks.

Even if you don't have confidence in SAP's product-focused motivation for bringing functionality to a tablet device, you have to believe that SAP wants to get a big return on that hefty Sybase investment and the way to do that is through mobile product sales. So there's a Wall Street-driven motivat ion there on top of all the other information to convince you.

So at the end of the day, your company's decision whether or not to deploy tablets should not be dictated by the IT organization. And it will not be restricted by what's available in a mobile version (in the long-term). The only decision your company has to make is whether or not there's a true business case for deploying tablet devices in your company. That's good news.

And here's some recommended reading on the topic from the always engaging Davin Wilfrid of insiderRESEARCH:

A few challenges to the mobility revolution


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