iPad @work: Beyond the Novelty

For most of my career I have been involved in advising companies make sense of new technologies and business trends.  For some time now I have been focusing exclusively on the iPad at work and how it is transforming businesses.  I read Lauren Drell‘s post 6 Creative iPad Uses for Small Retailers with great interest as it points to new and creative ways of incorporating this platform into business.  The uses outlined are indeed very interesting.  It points to the fondness people have for this cool device.  However, the question that still needs to be asked is how is this making your business better?  Is the intended use increasing loyalty? Is it making your product better or easier to produce? Is it making your employees more productive and efficient thus improving customer service?  And perhaps most importantly, is it making an impact on the bottom line – either through increase in revenue or reduction in cost?  These are hard questions to answer, especially if you are caught in the “cool” factor of this great device.

Image by dgray_xplane via Flickr

At Propelics we believe that the iPad will completely transform many businesses by facilitating new business use cases.  We love these new ways in which this device is infiltrating businesses.  However, we also believe that we are only seeing the first wave of use cases and adoption which is usually constrained by our current usage patterns when it comes to business scenarios.  We believe that the second wave of ideas will follow.  This second wave will be the Tsunami that will be a result of true visionary thinking and will result in some transformative business changes.  We also believe that this second wave will be grounded in the core tenet that truly great ideas are not only cool but they are based on a very sound business case.  As we look towards this second wave, I offer these three considerations that can be helpful in making sure that only sound business ideas end up on your iPad innovation roadmap:

  • Quantify the benefit so that you understand the measureable impact – time saved, growth in orders, reduction in cycle time, increase in deal size etc. are some examples
  • Qualitative benefits are worth including but don’t use these in your business case
  • Be realistic about the ramp up associated with adoption – you will not start to get the projected benefit on day one.

We use storyboarding to visualize these innovative use case – this is great fun for the right brain thinkers, however these strategies get grounded in sound business case development with the help of the left brain thinkers.  In some ways this keeps the innovators on their toes and looking for the truly transformative uses caes.

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