Spiraling iPad popularity to push, shape Mobile Business Intelligence

The iPad continues to be the must-have business consumer and mass-market gadget of 2010, despite repeated queries regarding its usefulness and functionality – not as powerful as a laptop, and less portable than an iPhone.

But who cares? (no one apparently). The iPad is like a mule – the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. It encompasses a strange mix of traits passed on from its parents/predecessors, and no one actually knows for certain if it does anything differently.

But it looks cool, and everyone wants to take one home (or to the office). So it’s here to stay.

Business Intelligence (BI) vendors who don’t prepare their applications for the present and future demands of a growing community of iPad users, and organizations with dispersed workforces and busy executive teams that don’t invest in this new mobile information delivery platform, won’t be looking this particular gift-mule in the mouth for much longer. The opportunity, and competitors, will pass them by.

The latest Gartner forecast on tablet computer sales highlights the point. Gartner predicts that worldwide tablet sales will reach 19.5 million for 2010 – nearly all of them iPads; and will skyrocket to 54.8 million units in 2011, and 208 million in 2014.

“Individuals are willing to buy these devices themselves, so enterprises must be ready to support them,” said Gartner analyst, Stephen Prentice. “The iPad has the potential to be hugely disruptive to the business models and markets of many enterprises.”

Yellowfin for the iPad (the dreaded plug is back!)

At Yellowfin, we’ve heeded Prentice’s call, and developed a native iPad application that allows users to run and access all of Yellowfin’s easy-to-use real-time reporting and analytics capabilities on the move.

Security concerns

Despite this common understanding that the iPad is permanently reshaping corporate information sharing, delivery and governance; research indicates that many organizations are restricted in the development of their mobile information delivery systems, due to lingering data security fears.

Ernst & Young’s annual information security report – "Borderless Security" – surveyed 1600 senior executives across 56 countries, revealing that 60 percent perceive increased risk associated with the integration of personal mobile devices into organizational information delivery structures.

However, the report also demonstrates that many organizations realize the need to act, and are already addressing these trepidations, with half of those surveyed planning to increase spending on data loss/protection features within the next year.

Popularity growing

Which is just as well, as the iPad’s popularity is snow-balling, with no drop-off in sight.

Apple’s iPad beat Amazon Kindle and Sky 3D to claim best gadget of the year at the 2010 Stuff Gadget Awards, and recent Bernstein Research showed us that iPad sales have dwarfed initial iPhone and even DVD sales.

Usage increasing

But the best indication of the iPad’s increasing adoption, and integration into everyday social and work life, lies in the results of a recent Business Insider survey.

Business Insider surveyed 500 iPad users, and found that almost 80 percent of respondents use their iPad more now than when they originally purchased it, with nearly 30 percent saying they now use their iPad as their primary computer.

CIOs and CTOs take note.

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