Posted by: Eric Wichhart | January 4, 2012

What is Your iPad Strategy?

As the workforce becomes more mobile, so does the importance of mobile devices like the iPad. A survey of small businesses by the NPD Group, a business research firm shows that 73% of small businesses plan to purchase tablets in 2012. As the popularity of these devices come more popular, we as technologists need to be ready for provide service, support and guidance to the users of these devices. If we are not there on the forefront of the implementation of these devices, we may get left in the dust.

So where can we benefit from the iPad and tablet market? Selling any tablets seems to be a dead end. The big player Apple has indefinitely put on hold accepting applications for new partners into their channel program. From what I am told, they accepted too many partners in the beginning, many of which are not selling any products and Apple is in the process of revamping their partner program to better benefit them. You can keep track of the status of the Apple Channel Program here. The other tablets come and go so quickly that keeping up with the different models and such may not only be a daunting task, but may be a less than profitable.

The next profit center which seems to be a growing market is the development of apps for your clients. There seems to be two different avenues with apps, apps for the client to use internally and customer facing apps. The easier place to start would be the customer facing apps. It is often an easier sell to the client because you can show a direct cost/benefit to the client. They spend X dollars and can expect X*Y in return. The numbers on an internal apps are more gray, the cost/benefit is dollars to productivity plus cost of the tablet. Before venturing off into the app world, you need to set in place a strong infrastructure (development team) and plan accordingly. Some people have taken the road of selling a app, then outsourcing the app to “Bob” from India. While this is cost effective in the beginning, what are you going to do when the app doesn’t work, its half finished or the customer needs updates and “Bob” is no where to be found? I think outsourcing is great as long as you have a plan of action when presented with a missing developer.

The final profit center around tablets is helping the customer integrate the table into their existing infrastructure. Whether they need help accessing a terminal server, setting up email, using a VPN to connect into the network resources, we need to be there for them so that they can continue to count on us and we can continue to be their trusted adviser.

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