With the “consumerization” of IT users are increasingly relying on personal iPads to perform their jobs. By some accounts up to 40% of iPads used for work in the enterprise are personally owned. In many cases these iPads are running critical Enterprise and App Store applications.
Users in control: Traditionally IT has been able to control deployment of Operating System releases to employee equipment. This is not the case with the iPad. When available, upgrading to iOS 5 will be as simple as connecting to iTunes and tapping Ok when prompted. Given the relative ease of upgrading Enterprises should expect over 50% of users will upgrade without the first 2 weeks of iOS 5. Beyond iOS 5 that rate will increase with Over-the-Air OS updates.
Help! After users upgrade expect calls to the Help Desk. Issues like, My XYZ app I downloaded from the App Store no longer launches and I need it for a customer presentation. Or, Every time I try to submit my forecast in our ABC app is disappears, etc. Unfortunately there is little the help desk can do as it is not practical to downgrade iOS. Many popular Apps from well known companies currently do not launch with the Gold Master (GM). Others run but key features do not work or cause the app to crash.
What should you do to prepare?
Communicate: Communicate with your iPad users. Do you know your iPad users? Many are using personal devices. Suggest they hold off on upgrading to iOS 5 until key enterprise developed apps have been tested. Educate users on the iTunes prompts so they are aware of the process. Ask users that key apps they use as part of their jobs.
Test: It is critical that you begin testing internally developed and critical App store apps with the latest iOS 5 beta. Testing should include both iPad 1 and iPad 2. Use test script for internally developed apps, develop scripts for critical 3rd party apps.
Update: Aggressively update your apps in iTunesConnect and/or your Enterprise repository before the release of iOS 5. Contact suppliers of key 3rd party apps to understand their release plans. Keep in mind that Apple will have lots of Apps to review and the review cycles could be longer than usual.
Bottom Line: IT is not in control of iOS upgrades but will be expected to support iPad users. Take charge by empowering your users though communications and testing.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help your organization with iOS migrations and building iPad apps for your enterprise. For more articles like this, follow us on twitter @propelics.
Eric is a seasoned leader with a keen eye for emerging technologies. He is well respected in both technical and business circles, due to his ability to match up the right amount of technology "geekiness" with business understanding to craft truly unique solutions. As a seasoned executive, with startups through successful exits to his name, Eric has the experience to advise companies on the discipline and objective approaches that are needed to turn ideas into reality. Eric can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter at @ericjohncarlson.