Gartner, the global IT analyst company, warns the iPad is shaking up the business world and advises CEOs to do something unusual: Get more involved in the technology decision on the iPad.
" The Apple iPad and its ecosystem are likely to disrupt existing technology use profiles and business models,” Gartner says in an announcement this week. “CEOs should ensure that its potential is being seriously evaluated inside their organizations.”.
“It is not usually the role of the CEO to get directly involved in specific technology device decisions, but Apple's iPad is an exception,” said Stephen Prentice, Gartner Fellow and vice president. “It is more than just the latest consumer gadget; and CEOs and business leaders should initiate a dialogue with their CIOs about if they have not already done so.”
iPad sales will drive all tablet sales up, Gartner expects, and projects tablet sales to reach 19.5 million units in 2010.
“Media tablets are poised for strong growth with worldwide end user sales projected to total 54.8 million units in 2011, up 181 percent from 2010, and surpass 208 million units in 2014,” according to Gartner.
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 Mr. Prentice. He adds: “While some IT departments will say they are a ‘Windows shop’, and Apple does not support the enterprise, Organizations 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 Mr. Prentice.
Pegging the iPad as “not a notebook” and “not a laptop,” the company sees it as “a valuable companion device.” Because “it is much less intrusive in face-to-face environments than conventional notebooks, it is well suited to a sales or information-sharing environment.
Planet iPad reported previously that Mercedes Benz is making use of the iPad's "less intrusive" presence on the showroom floor as salespeople discuss car buying plans with prospects.
“While there are no certainties, the iPad looks set to become a market-disrupting device, like the iPod before it,” said Mr. Prentice. “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,” said Mr. Prentice.