I have long been an iPad skeptic. For me it has always been a device without a job and I just couldn't figure out what I would do with one. I am not alone, a number of people I know share this view but we are in the minority. Apple has sold around 60 million units of the various iterations of the iPad. Those sales are not all to traditional Apple fans who just cant get enough of the shiny aluminium awesome! Many are to people who seldom use traditional computers - both older and younger people who find it makes communication and creativity more accessible. The popularity of the device has meant that developers have been fast to respond with an abundance of apps to suit most peoples tastes. Even a skeptic like me has to accept that even if the iPad can't do what you want it to do, it does present you with lots of cool new things to do that you may have not originally thought of.
The launch of the third generation iPad has also brought home the reality to me that tablets are here to stay!
So - If you are a technically innovative business manager and scratching you head for the best way to introduce this truly lovely bit of technology to your business, let me offer some ideas.
It is a great sales companion. It is a lot better looking, easier to interface with and less anti social than a laptop. The iPad enables a salesperson to demonstrate statistics, presentations, projections and whatever else he needs to use in his sales process to the client, in a way that a projector and laptop never could. It is just so much more intimate and personal. Fast Fwd had just completed an iPad app for one of our corporate clients. This app is designed for use at trade exhibitions and is being used for the first time at an event in Abu Dhabi. The app enables the sales people on the floor to mingle and network, using an industry related survey as an ice breaker (the app is also a great data-capture tool). The way the iPad looks is so compelling and the survey is slick and engaging - really delivering a polished and professional experience. The app also sends emails instantly to new clients, thanking them for taking part and providing them with any literature they expressed an interest in; keeping the conversation alive and maintaining a high level of engagement.
We are also near the end of a development project that will make heavy use of the iPad. Our corporate governance management tool, CGFirst, has a boardroom module that supplies all of the board meeting papers to board members' iPads. Board meetings are traditionally very paper intensive with a full board-pack needing to be mailed out in advance of the meetings for members to be properly briefed. This left quite a wide window for events to transpire that supersedes the information in the packs. In the 21st Century, it's easier to consume information as it is produced, rather than waiting for a full board pack to become available. The CGFirst boardroom app is updated so that after the original documents are published, board directors have access to current information and are better informed when making decisions. The iPads are also a lot neater and easy to manage in meetings, making them more efficient from a time keeping point of view. Board members can highlight items for discussion and point out figures or facts that they think need attention and share them live, during the discussion. This type of live digital interface makes board meetings a lot more dynamic and productive.
We're currently working with one of our agency partners on delivering two more iPad apps to an Insurance Company and a Law Firm attending the British Insurance Brokers (BIBA) conference 2012.
Do you have any ideas for using the iPad in your business? We would love to help you bring them to fruition.