Gartner to CEOs: Seize the iPad opportunity now

Embrace the iPad or suffer the consequences Gartner tells businesses.

Analysts Gartner have told businesses in the report ‘CEO Advisory: Seize the iPad Opportunity Now’ that they should ignore tablet computing at their peril, and that technologists in the business and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) should open up their networks to tablets and smartphone users.

“It is not usually the role of the chief executive to get directly involved in specific technology device decisions, but Apple’s iPad is an exception,” said Stephen Prentice, vice president and Gartner Fellow.

“It is more than just the latest consumer gadget. Chief executives and business leaders should initiate a dialogue with their CIOs if they have not already done so.” Adding “Even if you think it is just a passing fad, the cost of early action is low while the price of delay may well be extremely high.”

Unless there is a self-evident case to the contrary, Gartner recommends that IT organizations should provide at least “concierge”-level iPad support for a limited number of key users, and prepare a budgeted plan for widespread support of the iPad by mid-2011.

“Individuals are willing to buy these devices themselves, so enterprises must be ready to support them,” said Prentice. “While some IT departments will say they are a ‘Windows shop’, and Apple does not support the enterprise. Organisations need to recognize that there are soft benefits in a device of this type in the quest to improve recruitment and retention. Technology is not always about productivity.

Gartner also recommends that CEOs ask their marketing and product development teams to present a creative briefing as soon as possible, detailing how iPads could be used by the company and its competitors, because the iPad has the potential to be hugely disruptive to the business models and markets of many enterprises. “We are already seeing announcements about competing devices from other vendors, including RIM, Samsung, HP and Dell, but the iPad is currently well ahead of the pack with the lion’s share of the market,” added Prentice.

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