MicroStrategy, a business intelligence software maker, has deployed 1,100 Apple iPads to executives and sales personnel to conduct critical job-related tasks. The company said it expects 700 more iPads to be deployed soon.
MicroStrategy are another major enterprise outfit who are embracing the iPad in a big way. In fact, in a huge way. They’ve got an app of their own in the iPad App Store and it’s one of the most popular free apps in the business category. Their recent rollout of the iPad to their staff is even more impressive when you learn that the company employs 2,000 people – so they’ve already got the iPsd in the hands of more than half their workforce, and their plans to rollout 700 more will mean 90% of their staff have one.
Even more impressive than the numbers of iPads, are the range of uses for it and the enthusiasm for the impact it’s having at MicroStrategy. Here are a few excerpts from recent articles at Computerworld and ZDNet’s UberMobile column that illustrate this nicely:
MS Office support ..
Apple has wisely made it possible to import and export documents, spreadsheets and presentations in the Microsoft Office formats of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, which are almost universally used by businesses large and small, he noted. "Apple is breaking the mold for mobile computing," LaRow said.
In the hands of sales staff, more dynamic presentations; and internal requests get handled more quickly …
Salespeople make more dynamic presentations, said LaRow, while internal requests also get approved more quickly using an iPad app built by MicroStrategy’s IT department.
Internally, MicroStrategy executives are able to use the iPad or iPhone to quickly review routine requests for worker expenses, purchase orders and more by using a custom-built application called Corporate Request Center. The managers can easily reject, approve or send the requests back for more information.
Staff are also using a key internal app, Salesforce.com, via the web and using the Apple iWork suite for both reading and saving documents. The iPad’s instant-on ability is also praised …
From the end-user perspective, one of the biggest advantages the iPad has over a laptop is its instant-on capability. "People don’t wait two minutes for it to boot like with a laptop," he said. "It’s instant on, and that’s a big deal."
MicroStrategy is also finding that it has major ROI advantages over laptops …
But instant-on is far from MicroStrategy’s major justification in using the iPad.
LaRow said its total cost-of-ownership should prove far more prudent with the iPad than with laptop computers.
And here’s one last bit of good news on how staff are adapting to the iPad …
In essence, workers "like to use it … it’s more engaging," he concluded.
All together, that’s a hell of a powerful list of plus points for the iPad in the enterprise: a capable Office suite, MS Office support, a great presentation tool for the salesforce, ability to use essential internal apps, instant-on ability on a device you can take just about everywhere, better ROI than laptops, and that ‘more engaging’ factor that makes staff want to use it more.
Not too shabby for a device that was not expected to have much early traction in the enterprise arena. It’s starting to look like it’s going to become one of the most important mobile devices in this area. Go iPad go.