One week after the launch of Apple's new iPad and the response from consumers is very very positive. My test to see if the iPad is a business-Pad started on Monday April 5th when I brought my wifi only 16g basic iPad to the Ariba office in Sunnyvale, CA. Below is my conclusion, after just a week. I thought I'd share with the Ariba Exchange community what I learned. Mobility for business is emerging and the iPad is positioning itself well to play a role. I don't think Apple has done well bundling Business packaging and features for us given they are not B2B focused, but B2C, but I do see some Enterprise messaging coming from them and an attempt to support the basics. Great thing is we now have a iPad/bPad platform to build real business applications because the iPad is fast and has a great UI experience match with excellent usability. Sky's the limit on what we can think up next for business on the iPad. If you look at the meaning behind this mobility of the iPad I think you will agree with me that this is an excellent new tool to add to your business productivity toolbox..... And if you are an executive, I think you will light up the management committee meetings and boardrooms when you walk in with nothing but your iPad.
If you didn't read part 1, see link here
General Business Use:
- Email - works perfectly, connect to one exchange email, and easy to hook up personal mail, I did gmail. Nice to have the iPad in meetings to watch email coming in to capture important items, but turn off the email "bing" on receipt as it will drive people crazy. Nice UI when turned landscape, but a little weird when in page view
- Note Taking - Some great software out there, consider iWorks for iPad, they are great, and only $9.99 each
- Dragon Dictation will type what you say, but say it right. My 7 year olds new favorite game cause he never knows what it will type when he speaks silly to it.
- Sound Paper - records conversation while you take notes so you don't miss anything and you can rewind to get notes right. Let's you concentrate on what is being said. When you go back and clean up your notes you can replay. Then email just the notes to yourself and delete the recording.
- PadNotes - may be the best for old style note taking, but I need my stylus to be sure. Great for typing notes
- Calendar - Amazing, Amazing, Amazing just as it comes from Apple on your iPad. You must experience it. Takes you to the day when you get an invite so you can see if you can accept.
- Browser - Safari is fast, not problems except HTML5 vs. Flash which should take care of itself.
- Travel - goes without saying that besides needing to pull out one other technology to put in the tray, iPad will change the experience of flying. 8-10 hours of battery life is what I'm getting. Video, music, email that is synched to the iPad so you can work offline, (with GoGo it will be online in the plane), Pandora in the Hotel room, Calendar. All without the seat in front of you hitting your laptop, or having your keyboard on your chest as you try to navigate. And most importantly, iBooks and Amazon Kindle app will ensure you have something to read. No more heavy magazines. I predict you will see iPads everywhere on flights over the next few months and a reduction in those "Business Class" Kindles ;-).......
Ariba Application Usage:
- Supplier.Ariba.Com (receive PO, submit Invoice, update Profile, etc.)
- VERY fast, and really cool using the application while walking the hall our outside. iPad offers the same finger zoom in as iPhone which is cool for viewing attached images of original invoice. I'm not suggesting that the iPad become the powerful AR invoice entry tool, but works great and for the small to medium size business, works very well. I do suggest this is a great tool for PO-Flip(TM) as small to medium size suppliers could flip PO's while out of the office to reduce DSO. Every day, Every hour counts when it comes to getting your money. Easy to Auction a Receivable up to The Receivables Exchange, very easy to get a PO and update your profile.
- Buyer.Ariba.Com (upload Suppliers, Manage Discounts, Manage Payment, etc.)
- We don't all go to the Buyer Portal, but I found this to be fast, get in and get out for working with Discount Management, Invite a Supplier or manage a payment. Other areas are fine at desktop. Really about mobility here.
- Invoice Professional (enter Invoice, respond to Workflow items, reconcile Invoices, viewing Analytics)
- Also fast and mostly awesome because of the bright screen on the iPad. Easy to view and finger based zoom great with analytics. You can use this to watch and check on key reports while in meetings rather than printing.
- This is also great for a quick check on where something is in the Workflow approval. Email workflow approval is great when you are being asked to approve, but being able to get into the applications on iPad quickly to see where your PO's and Invoices are in the workflow, who is next to approve and if you need to add a watch can be great for meeting and conversations in the office. No more need to go back to your desk to see the status of something in workflow or to look at a specific Invoice for discussion.
- Conclusion on Ariba applications, you will love it! No matter which way you spin your iPad. I think you will find new ways to use our aps on the iPad.
Problems I encountered:
- No multi-tasking, but if you watch Apple's video online about iPhone OS4 you will quickly see that this problem is going away this summer, and it looks like these great features including multi-tasking will be on the iPad at the same time (roughly) as the iPhone. if you like Apple you should watch this video.
Great watching the whole video - http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/1004fk8d5gt/event/
- No Folders - I have lots of applications now...but with OS4 Apple launches folders.
- Office VPN and wifi security. Just get ready to ask someone smart at your office to help ensure you have wifi instantly at the office.
- Many iPhone apps run on iPad but are small (can do x2 size, pixel doubling), but things like skype are cramped until they take advantage of all the new space on iPad.
- Need a pen, but I've ordered one for $13 to write. Finger doesn't work well. But I think this will be great. Would be good if Apple had these with the iPad.
- be careful synching back to your iTunes if you have downloaded a bunch of applications directly to your iPad.
- My own fault, but i have wifi only, would like 3g, but I think I'll get a sprint 3g based micro wifi network so I can share with others and not have to use the Apple 3g plan. Saves me $130 on the iPad, which I can use to get a Sprint wifi unit that runs off network. I think Verizon has a phone that does wifi broadcast so that would be another great option and your friends will love it.
- Depending on your size and arm strength you might feel it's a just a little too heavy so watch how you hold it, probably a trade-off for battery life?
- Finally, sticky fingers from the 7 year old, but iPad cleans easy, very easy.
Things I LOVE about the iPad:
- NEVER crashed
- NEVER needed to re-boot
- Easy to carry around, I did buy the standard Apple case with the folding front which helps with carrying around
- FAST, FAST, FAST for all applications, especially applications in the Cloud like the Ariba Suite of Solutions
- Sound is GREAT, they use the aluminum case as a resonance chamber, which makes rich sound, for it's size
- Stream Netflix to your TV by connecting to your TV or home video equipment
- I think I can travel with just the iPad on many trips, much less to carry and less weight
- You can skype call from it. Get iPhone headphones with microphone and you are IP Phone ready. Only wish there was a Web Cam built in.
- Get things done faster, the things that distract from spending time with people, my favorite thing to do.
- Put it down and turn it off, pick it up and it's on in split second, quick check on calendar, quick check on email, skype and back to your day.
Suggestions for use with business:
- get a keyboard, the one in the iPad is great for two hand and one handed, but for real work you need a keyboard. Bluetooth for $69 is great deal
- get a stand with the keyboard
- get a video cable to display presentations on the video projectors in the conference rooms
- Take time to decide how the iPad fits into your tools
Part 2: Conclusion is I love it for bPad, but the best is yet to come as we see more business applications for the and to take advantage of the concept of Mobility. Once 4g speed is everywhere I think most will carry something like the iPad. As business moves away from our desks, becomes personal again I think iPad let's you easily have the Cloud with you when you need it. Browser based applications in the Cloud work great so for this reason I believe the iPad is a bPad today. For now, power work will need to be done at a desktop, but maybe just for a while.
Finally a treat for those of you who read to the bottom of this email. You will love thee 10 Essential Tips for the iPad from Fast Company. My favorites include adding two other apps to your bottom tray (6 in total) and taking Giant Screen Shots to show others what you find cool on your iPad.
Some other links:
Apple's Perspective - http://www.apple.com/ipad/business/