Paul Lanzi sits quietly in the corner of a large table at a fancy restaurant in San Francisco, with other so-called tablet experts. He's listening to a bunch of talking headsbloggers, marketers and punditsprattle on about iPads in the enterprise.
The discussion turns to a practical point. Should companies fork out cash for iPads as a laptop supplement, not a laptop replacement? Some shake their heads, saying it would be too expensive to outfit an employee with both, while one of the bloggers launches into bold predictions about the future of tablets.
Then Lanzi offers this real-world tidbit: "Four-hundred dollars to make a knowledge worker 10 percent more productive is money extremely well spent."
The low-key Lanzi isn't just another tech industry watcher; he's manager of the enterprise mobility team at bio-tech giant Genentech, one of the biggest iPad adopters in the world. The company began buying iPads for employees in the fall of 2010 and really ramped up in the last 12 months.
Today, Genentech has 14,274 iPads (and roughly the same amount of iPhones). Almost every knowledge worker in the company's global workforce has an iPad, meaning iPads are nearing a saturation point.
A credible mobile pioneer, Lanzi helped pave Genentech's road to iPad enterprise adoption. For instance, he built an iOS enterprise app store in 2008 because off-the-shelf offerings didn't exist at the time. Along the way, he has had a few missteps with apps that failed to resonate with users. Recently, he began shifting away from native iOS apps to HTML 5 Web apps.
Lanzi has valuable information to share about what he's learned that would help CIOs successfully adopt and implement iPads in the enterprise, if only people would stop and listen.
Rise of the Enterprise App Store
Enterprise iPad adoption has been on a torrid pace. Apple claims 94 percent of Fortune 500 companies have deployed or are testing the iPad. The third-generation iPad released earlier this year has become an enterprise hit. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners surveyed more than 1,000 consumers and found that one in five plan to use the new iPad for business, compared to 13 percent across all iPad models.
At first, Genetech's iPad adventure followed a well-known trailhead. Technologists and top executives were the early adopters, followed by managers, back-office workers and sales people. Then the number of iPads at Genentech suddenly spiked10,000 in the last 12 months.
Not all iPads supplement existing laptops. Around 3,000 iPads replace laptops for some employees, such as the field sales force, diagnostics group, and shop floor technicians who don't regularly need a laptop.
As the number of iPads grew, so did mobile apps in Genentech's custom-built enterprise iOS app store. Today, the store has a whopping 110 apps, whereas most private enterprise app stores have only a handful. Every day, Lanzi deploys new apps and retires old ones. Many are time-based or event-driven apps and naturally reach the end of their usefulness.
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