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Global CIO: Steve Jobs Calls Out Google And iPad Rocks The Enterprise

Top 10 Stories Of The Year #2: As Apple's revenue scales to $100 billion, Google emerges as primary competitor and IT emerges as massive opportunity.
"Well, the iPad is clearly going to affect notebook computers," Jobs said on the earnings call. "And I think the iPad proves that it's not a question of if, it's a question of when, and I think a lot of development and progress will occur over the next few years. "But we're already seeing tremendous interest in iPad from education, and much to my surprise, from business," Jobs said. "We haven't pushed it real hard in business, and it's being grabbed out of our hands. And I talk to people every day in all kinds of businesses that are using iPads, all the way from boards of directors who are handing out iPads instead of board books, down to nurses and doctors in hospitals and other large and small businesses.

"So the more time that passes, the more I'm convinced that we've got a tiger by the tail here. And this is a new model of computing which we've already got tens of millions of people trained on with the iPhone. And that lends itself to lots of different aspects of life both personal, educational and business." "From chief operating officer Tim Cook on the iPad's penetration into two-thirds of the Fortune 100: 'And I don't know about you, but I've never seen an adoption like this in my life in the enterprise—enterprise is historically much slower-moving on adoption,' Cook said. 'And as a matter of fact, we've built and are building additional capacity internally in the sales organizations to call on businesses.'

"Cook also emphasized that while the business market has never been a priority for Apple, the company has become quite serious about ensuring that this new wave of business customers has great experiences with Apple products: 'And so this isn't a hobby or something we're doing lightly. We put enormous energy in the company—in engineering and in software—to build a number of enterprise features into the OS,' Cook said."

And, of course, it's not just about the technology—it never is. With the iPad in particular, CIOs have a chance to fulfill their long-standing promise to deliver to their organizations not just functionality and efficiency but innovation and deeper business value and the power to dazzle customers. From our recent column called Global CIO: The Awesome Transformative Power Of The Apple iPad:

"The iPad engages its users to move beyond mere productivity—applying technology to a something you already know how to do and delivering a more-efficient outcome—and into the realm of innovation by allowing people to create new ways of seeing things, new ways of presenting ideas, new ways of communicating, and new ways delivering almost every fathomable type of information, from business graphics to images to text to video.

"In the enterprise world, I think that in a year's time we'll look at the iPad as the ultimate business-engagement tool, allowing companies to equip not only their employees but also their customers with a device that expands the possibilities of how those customers can engage with business partners in richer and more-meaningful ways.

"I think we'll see some crazy-smart companies buying iPads for not only their own employees but also for some of their customers, because in that way the seller's imaginative ideas and fresh perspectives can be fully shared with prospects and customers.

"Is that an absurd idea? Sure it is. But it's also absurd to consider the sales success Apple's had with the iPad, where even a company like Apple that is consistently recognized as having one of the world's top supply-chain experts has been unable to make enough of the devices to keep up with demand." (End of excerpt.)

In the last decade, CIOs could generally get away with being followers—even cautious, one-or-two-years-behind followers. Those days are over, and they are never coming back.

Maybe Apple and the iPad aren't right for your company—fine. But powerful and elegant mobility certainly are, and the need to unlock innovation across all portions of the company is, and the power of being able to operate in real time is becoming indispensable.

So if you can find tools that deliver all of that more effectively than Apple does, then go get 'em. Just don't do nothing—that way madness lies.


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GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

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