One big issue is deciding how best to utilize iPads in the enterprise space. Sure, they're light, accessible and employees love them - but are they really a replacement for either smartphones or laptops? The answer to both questions is so far "no," at least for most workers. (Read Smartphones or laptops for mobile workers?)
"We haven't assigned iPads to anybody as a primary or even secondary device," says Phil Getchell, IT director at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts (MFA). "We have a total of 10 iPads right now and they're used for particular projects and not general use."
Research released last month from ChangeWave found many enterprises are considering taking the tablet plunge. Among business IT buyers surveyed, 7% say their company currently deploys tablets, and 14% say their company will buy tablets in the first quarter of 2011. The iPad still dominates corporate purchasing plans, but ChangeWave also found growing interest in tablets from Dell and Research in Motion (whose business-oriented PlayBook tablet is due to begin shipping this quarter).
The MFA is using iPads for two main purposes. First, they're being assigned to greeters in the MFA library who need a light, portable mobile device that can give them fast information to answer visitors' questions about the museum. And second, they're used by the sales department to manage the museum's membership lists and sales, as well as other e-commerce functions. Getchell says the MFA has found managing its iPads fairly easy so far since it has limited the scope of their use and has restricted employees from taking their corporate iPads home with them.