Check Out the Landscape

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Check Out the Landscape

Any size company can put together a successful iPad or Android tablet deployment and make it secure. But the company culture needs to be receptive. If you have an older staff, it might take a bit more time to get people to switch over to using iPads. On the other hand, younger employees likely will jump at the chance to use them. The bottom line is if the tool works well, is easy and convenient to use and can be used wherever they are, employees will accept it. But extra stress goes on the term "convenient."

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Research the Cost and Rollout Effort

Many organizations are afraid of broadly deploying tablets, fearing that the implementation is too costly and difficult. The costs certainly aren't trivial, but they're not all that much higher than equipping employees with laptops. Apple iPads cost around $500 apiece (base price) and require other investments in training, security and applications. But the ease of use and efficiency of these devices can pay off over time.

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Create a Cross-Function Team

When rolling out an iPad deployment, the next step is to build a cross-functional team that will be able to think about existing software and business processes that can be integrated with the iPad. This team should include members of the technical, operational and business sides of the organization who have the ability to connect with internal stakeholders and external consultants and developers. By creating a support team early on in the process, it will make it easier to navigate company policies.

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Obtain Buy-in from Key Corporate Leaders

Next, the enterprise needs the team to acquire buy-in on the budget for this from various decision-makers around the company. After purchasing the iPads at corporate rates, they have ongoing service costs. So they are not inconsequential items in the capital expense budget.

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Make the Rollout an Event

When you're rolling out something like an iPad launch within the company, you need to make an event out of it, make it fun. "You need to give your sales people an actual moment where you make a big deal out of rolling out the iPad,” CEO Rusty Bishop of FatStax said. “My favorite example of this was watching a CEO at a national company jump up on stage with an iPad in each hand, saying: 'You're about to get these!' It was just awesome."

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Follow Up With Each Employee

Most companies, when implementing new equipment, such as one involving iPads, simply send out the new devices and expect employees to learn how to use them all by themselves on their own time. Busy employees might never use them as a result. "You've got to plan for the training and adoption it's going to take to use them well," Bishop said. "Those are the things I think people miss." Department heads should follow up with each employee to make sure the iPads are being used efficiently.

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Find Additional Ways to Use the Deployment

By engaging people from other corporate departments into the integration process (IT, marketing, sales), you may also reveal additional ways that the iPad could be used, which in turn creates additional expenses. But these new uses can also provide new revenue streams for the company or new ways to save money.

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Consider Deploying a Virtual Desktop

iPads, as well as desktops and laptops, can be integrated into a virtual desktop environment for security purposes—both for the employee and the business data he or she uses. Virtual desktops keep everything in central servers, whether they on site or in the cloud , with little or no data stored on the devices themselves. IT managers and security folks most often favor virtual desktop deployments and there's little wonder why.

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Keep in Mind Additional Hardware, Software

It is important to look beyond the purchase of the iPad and to keep in mind that additional accessories, software and online services are essential. iPad cases, online data plans, technical support, application programmers, security, distribution, virtual private networks, virtual desktop networks, apps and the pilot program will be needed to successfully deploy these devices.

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Consider Using a Third-Party DeveloperUnless a company has the desire and budget to spend money on its own mobile application development and support for its sales team, the easiest and less expensive way to keep up to speed on changing software is to work with an external developer. These developers make it their priority to specialize in designing iPad apps for small businesses or large enterprises.

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