The iPad and the Enterprise

(photo cc attrib. pntphoto thanks!)


I have seen several keynotes from software executives lately. I recollect that all of them had iPads in them.  Seasoned software executives have been getting positively giddy about the iPad.

It has given Steve Jobs a sales force that he didn’t know he had. It seems without really planning for it, the iPad has become the must have enterprise device.

But what I’ve not yet seen is the must have enterprise application on the iPad. Yes, I’ve seen some neat repurposed reports and simple entry screens  but I’ve not yet seen an application that makes me sit up and say wow, that is a new and fundamentally better process enabled by the device.  So far the innovation is all about Apple.

If the iPad  means that enterprise software companies build executive dashboards and actually get executives engaging with the software, then fine, okay, that is an improvement from where we are today, but it misses the big opportunity.

Just  fixing the executive user experience has a whiff of the Potemkin about it. It would be a whole lot better if the iPad helped to prompt a rethink of how everyone interacts with enterprise software. Today the iPad merely illustrates the chasm between the typical enterprise software user experience and delightful design.

3 thoughts on “The iPad and the Enterprise”

  1. Just wanted to draw a connection to your previous post about Gooey GUI…I have come to believe that the iPad is a way to leapfrog the enterprise UI “lack of commitment” you described.

    As you point out here, executives have the iPad religion now. iPads are being bought in droves for corporate use. Soon people will say “well, we have these iPads, let’s put some of our legacy applications on them…the mobility will add a big productivity boost to users.” But, in order to put these apps on the iPad in any real way, they will have to re-engineer the UIs.

    Vendors will come up with iPad-ERP front-end tools that make this work easy (shameless plug: My firm is one of these vendors).

    So maybe the iPad becomes a catalyst to fix many of the bad UI problems in the legacy sofware world.

    Consider how many hundreds of billions of dollar worth of bad UIs are still in daily use in corporate world. That’s a lot of opportunity to solve user pain points…

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