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2/22/2011
11:32 AM
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: iPad Becoming Kingmaker For Enterprise Apps

iPad's success in business market underscores critical need for competitors to match soaring downloads of iPad-ready enterprise apps.

This iPad phenomenon—is it real? I mean, sure, consumers love it and Apple will sell them tens of millions, but is this little tablet really something CIOs should be evaluating? Is the iPad -- not to mention the dozens of new competitors that will be introduced in the next several months -- a serious business tool or just an annoying status symbol for high-level execs?

A lot of readers are still asking those questions – and for those still in the skeptics camp, I think time is running out on them. Quickly. And that's going to become a very bad career dynamic in a very short time. And here's why:

Applications.

A flood of applications.

By the end of this year, there will be thousands of enterprise-level apps for the iPad that are not just dumbed-down versions of traditional enterprise apps. Many of them will enable the iPad to do things that no other device can do as quickly, as attractively, as productively, and as simply.

(For extensive analyses of the iPad's impact on the enterprise, please check out the "Recommended Reading" list at the end of this column.)

CIOs who think the Apple iPad is little more than a stranger in a strange land and will never blend into their Windows-centric environments might want to note that Citrix reports that its iPad app that offers full access to Windows desktops has been downloaded more than 700,000 times.

In more tangible terms, here's how that translates to innovation in the IT-rich world of healthcare, according to an ITworld.com article: "Since Citrix virtual desktop solutions don't store data on a device, they make an ideal option for accessing secure data (as well as Windows applications) from mobile devices. In fact, Citrix has been a major factor in the iPad's rapid adoption in healthcare."

The iPad was even highlighted by Citrix CEO Mark Templeton during a recent earnings call as he described how Citrix is ratcheting up its efforts to provide the software tools that will help weave the oncoming surge of mobile devices into diverse corporate IT environments:

"In addition, our growth plan includes even richer collaboration experiences, partner app integrations, and expanded mobile device support including GoToMyPC for the iPad," Templeton said.

Salesforce.com's popular new enterprise-level social collaboration tool, called Chatter, has also become an iPad phenomenon, says Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff:

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