Apple

Apple iPad: IT departments are gearing up to buy tablets

CIO Jury: 'It's an alternative to netbooks for users working remotely'

Apple's iPad is already making inroads into business as the UK's IT departments snap up the touchscreen tablet and begin experimenting with it.

While the iPad has mostly been positioned as a consumer device, its potential has not been lost on CIOs who are also keen to capitalise on the excitement the hardware has generated.

And so it is perhaps no surprise that when asked whether their IT organisation will be buying an iPad to experiment with, silicon.com's exclusive CIO Jury voted yes by a margin of 10 to two.

Stephen Potter, senior IT director at IHS, said: "Emerging platforms such as the iPad provide a great opportunity for business information companies to engage with their customers in new and innovative ways."

Mike Roberts, IT director at The London Clinic, added: "We see this as a useful addition to mobile computing for admin staff as well as an alternative to netbooks for users working outside the office."

And Alastair Behenna, CIO at Harvey Nash, said the iPad has great potential as a bridge between personal and business life, "not replacing the desktop but extending and enhancing its usefulness in an increasingly mobile and knowledge-based world".

IT manager at Storm Model Management, Madhushan Gokool, said his company invested in a few iPod Touches when they first came out, and had very good feedback from clients and the industry about their use of the devices. "We have videos and images of our models and celebrities and as the screen is so great, it made everyone look great. The iPad is bigger, so it can only have a bigger impact," he said.

But not everyone is planning to rush in: Richard Storey, head of IT at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, said the trust will not be buying one immediately although it may purchase one later as part of the trust's strategic development programme "and more likely when the next release of the product takes place".

And Ibukun Adebayo, director of information technology at Turning Point, said rather than buying an iPad to experiment with, the first step for the CIO should be to identify a business need for the tool.

"Particularly in these days of austerity measures and lean budgets, there's no room for procuring software or hardware without having established a firm business case and demonstrated a solid future return on investment to the business.

"Thankfully, the days of 'trial and error purchases' are firmly behind us, and that's why I won't be buying the iPad to experiment with. In future, if I identify a business need for the tool, and I can justify the Apple iPad will meet the need and deliver the required benefits to the business, I'll buy it."

Stephen Fry with Apple iPad

Stephen Fry poses with his iPad on UK launch day
(Photo credit: Rob Tomkinson/silicon.com)

This week's CIO Jury was:

  • Ibukun Adebayo, director of information technology, Turning Point
  • Alan Bawden, IT and operations director, the JM Group
  • Alastair Behenna, CIO, Harvey Nash
  • Nicholas Bellenberg, IT director, Hachette Filipacchi
  • Madhushan Gokool, IT manager, Storm Model Management
  • Kevin Fitzpatrick, CIO Northern Europe, Sodexo
  • Paul Haley, director of information technology, The University of Aberdeen
  • John Keeling, CIO, John Lewis
  • Stephen Potter, senior IT director, IHS
  • Richard Storey, head of IT, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
  • Mike Roberts, IT director, The London Clinic
  • Graham Yellowley, technology lead equities, LCH.Clearnet

Want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury and have your say on the hot issues for IT departments? If you are a CIO, CTO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and you want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at editorial@silicon.com.

About Steve Ranger

Steve Ranger is the UK editor of TechRepublic, and has been writing about the impact of technology on people, business and culture for more than a decade. Before joining TechRepublic he was the editor of silicon.com.

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