Spurred by enthusiastic senior executives and rank-and-file employees, companies are starting to roll out iPads in the enterprise, especially for board meetings and sales staff. New security features from Apple and additional security and management tools from third-party vendors are boosting that effort, but companies are wary of employees' using their own iPads and putting sensitive customer data on the devices.
Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer noted that "employee demand for iPad in the corporate environment remains strong," at the company's quarterly earnings call on Jan. 18. "Enterprise CIOs are adding iPad to their approved device list at an amazing rate," Oppenheimer said. "Today, over 80% of the Fortune 100 are already deploying or piloting iPad, up from 65% in the September quarter. Some recent examples include JPMorgan Chase, Cardinal Health, Wells Fargo, Archer Daniels Midland, Sears Holdings and DuPont."
"About three months ago, we were approached by our corporate secretary, who wanted to get all the board materials via iPad," says Rob Walters, the bank's senior vice president of distributed computing services. "We had been looking at iPads for e-mails and calendaring, and started to get those kinds of requests as soon as they shipped, but there was no real business driver for it. It was just something we were looking at. But when the corporate secretary came to us, that kind of pushed us over the edge."
The bank first used iPads at the November board meeting, and soon board committees were demanding the devices as well. "And that meant that internal executives needed iPads to present," Walters says.
John Hancock isn't ready yet to use iPads for CRM, DiTullio says. The company's CRM system is from San Rafael, Calif.-based MARS, which is available through a Web browser.
"The Web-based system is not compatible with the [iPad's] Safari browser," DiTullio says. "We're waiting for a native app. It is something we would love to do in the near future, but we're not there yet."