iPads become inevitable for enterprise IT

Emphasis overwhelms hesitance on tablets in general, and iPads in particular

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"What the iPhone started to show us -- and the iPad is absolutely making clear -- is that these devices are coming in whether you like it or not. That means that IT has its work cut out for them."

-- Leslie Fiering, research vice president at Gartner.

For a lot of IT managers – who may have been hoping the whole bring-your-own-technology thing and iPad tablets specifically would go away – the rest of this year is going to be put-up or shut-up time.

Not because Gartner is raising the alarm; so is everyone else.

IT departments that haven't started projects to support, manage and run apps on and for wirelessly connected, highly mobile tablets are shooting themselves in both feet.

One foot is the anger, dissatisfaction and loss of confidence they'll suffer from end users who resent that IT either refuses to do anything new that will directly help them do their jobs, or doesn't understand why tablets are so darn useful (and not at all attractive primarily as status symbols or "PCs" that are a lot lighter than the luggable they use now).

The other foot is the loss of functionality they'd get out of a workforce that gets as much of a mobility boost from tablets as it did shifting from desktops to laptops, and the increased control and protection IT would get over the data those workers are using.

"Data doesn't reside on the mobile device for offline access," according to Jean Holley, CIO of Tellabs, whose success with large-scale tablet deployments is a key part of a tablet-management package of how-to stories in Computerworld.

"This model prevents loss of corporate data and intellectual property. As the mobile Internet gets smarter and the coverage area continues to grow, we believe there will be minimal need for offline capability in the future," Holley said.

Tablets – iPads in particular because they hit the market fully formed so long before any of their competitors, most of which are still working out their own bugs – have already taken over health care and financial services.

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