By Kem Butller-Oracle on Oct 03, 2011
By Dawn Baker, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne VP Development
The recent announcement of support for EnterpriseOne on an iPad probably triggered some on-going debates about the role of tablets in your business. Beyond Angry Birds, Facebook, and email…do they really have a place in an enterprise systems environment?
For those in IT over the past several years, the invasion of the tablet has been a bit of a love-hate relationship at times. We accepted laptops as the next generation PC, acquiesced on the infusion of smart phones into our world (cause “you gotta have a phone anyway”), but then were overrun with users’ demands for tablets, in some cases before we could catch our breath long enough to figure out why we needed them. Does this still feel like a solution looking for a problem to solve?
Maybe we were closer than we all thought back in 1994 when the prototype tablet newspaper was showcased. Fast forward to 2011 and many still agree that the tablet is probably closer to a replacement for paper than PC’s. For those of us (now converted) paper-holics, that’s a reluctant acknowledgement….but swapping a legal pad for an iPad seems to be short-selling its value too…what about all those unique design points, multi-media, and computing capabilities?
In reality, tablets are simply a new class of device; “tethering” them to existing technology options is not necessarily helping tablets find their optimized role in an enterprise systems world. By capitalizing on their unique capabilities, we can find ways to create new access points for existing systems, or brand-new synergies between business and technology.
Let’s start with the paper vs. PC debate. No question that tablets are great for consuming information. It’s no wonder that some industries have snapped up these new devices and transformed their paper intensive businesses. Your cue…look for those “paper bombs” on clipboards; find places you can bring information to the point of process, electronically. And while you’re at it, optimize on the multi-media capabilities that no legal pad can match…you’ve got web, video, and a camera available at the source of the business transaction.
But while the content-consuming vs. content-creating debate rages on, few users will be content to remain passive readers only. These devices will beguile even the most technology-resistant with their siren song of features:
· The simple, natural interface seems approachable even to the most computer-resistant…the next operating system upgrade for iPad even cuts the dependency on a PC to manage the device.
· Long battery life and instant-on wins over the casual user who needs occasional access to information.
· And for those who don’t live behind a desk, the size promotes better interaction and opens up computing to places in the business where a PC was not practical.
Your cue …look for new access points into your systems where PC’s could not previously go, that need simple interfaces for casual intermittent users who will warm up to a device that looks like a clipboard (sans the pen on a string).
Not that you need reminders, but yes, the challenges are real – security, connectivity, support, management, etc. But technology tends to drive change to meet new challenges and will continue to attack these obstacles with solutions as the tablet world matures….more on that in a future post.
I’m not trying sell a bunch of iPads here (or promote any more addiction to shooting birds at pigs)…but whether you’re leading the charge or forced kicking and screaming into the tablet-mania, here’s just a bit of encouragement to go beyond the obvious to enable new access points into your enterprise systems and find some real business opportunities. And we’ll continue working alongside to deliver products and technology that help enable more capabilities….beyond Angry Birds.