The business case for iPads in the workplace

Just over 3 years ago I was getting to grips with my new iPad and finding out how it could be used to benefit my day-to-day life.  I wrote a post describing my initial thoughts on owning the first generation iPad and over the years we’ve steadily seen an increase in take up of tablet devices at home and, to a lesser extent, in the work place.

As a creative agency we’re heavy iPad users and utilise them on a regular basis to aid production, enable creativity and increase efficiency in our everyday communications.  That said, in a business sense, we’re an exception to the rule according to recent research commissioned by EE:

“People have mobility in their personal lives and they expect it at work as well, yet only one in five employees in large businesses are equipped to work away from their desks, while 41 percent of respondents said the mobile devices they use for work are old and not fast enough.

And just 18 percent of organisations provide mobile apps to employees, despite the business and productivity benefits.”

So, why the big discrepancy between using an iPad (or any mobile device for that matter) professionally compared to in our home lives?  The research from EE highlights structural and cultural barriers in business as the main factors including over-complicated and over-zealous IT security and an out-dated view that employees should be chained to their desk and not have the freedom to be ‘modern mobile professionals’.

The business case for iPads

We’ve come up against these issues ourselves when working with our clients on internal communications and it’s only been in the past 6 months that we’ve noticed a shift.  Our clients are now keen to explore how we can take services such as digital publishing and use it in B2B and internal communications.

So we thought, “Great, let’s put together some information on it to help our clients understand how iPads and other tablet and mobile devices can be used in their business.”

Luckily we didn’t have to as, following a quick bit of research, we landed on Apple’s ‘iPad for Business’, a beautifully presented and typically Apple breakdown of some of the key ways that the iPad can be used within the business environment.  From business profiles in the automotive and health sectors to uses of the iPad as a sales tool and as a data capture source, the site is a great starting point in understanding the potential of mobile and tablet in business.

Business profiles

I’ll leave the final words on the matter to Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE:

“Powering mobile Britain is about trusting and empowering employees to meet their responsibilities in more flexible and productive ways.  More than technology, it is about creating a culture of mobility throughout the organisation.”

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