In the battle for tablet supremacy, enterprise is a new front with significant open ground. But here, as in the consumer space, Apple’s iPad has an early and very strong lead.
One example: SAP, which currently hosts the world’s second-largest corporate tablet deployment, according to Barclays. CIO Oliver Bussmann says SAP relies heavily on the iPad and the iPhone as well. The company currently manages 18,000 iPads, 13,000 iPhones and 2,000 Samsung devices (side-note: SAP manages as many BlackBerries as it does iPads).
The reason for the iPad-heavy breakdown, says Bussmann, is the so-called consumerization of IT. Now that the iPad meets a number of enterprise-level security requirements and supports mobile device management solutions, companies like SAP are embracing “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) programs that allow their employees to use the gadgets they use at home in the workplace as well. Bussmann tells Barclays that SAP currently supports about 4,000 BYOD devices, and expects to support more in the future.
And that trend may help Apple protect the early lead its iPad has won in the enterprise space.
Bussmann says he’s interested in Microsoft’s Windows 8 devices because of the low complexity level between desktop and mobile platforms. Problem is, the application ecosystem there is far less developed than either Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android. And while that might not be an issue for businesses for whom Windows 8 fulfills core enterprise needs, it may well be an issue for employees taking advantage of the BYOD trend who want access to a groaning board of apps.
Said Barclays, “The challenge for Microsoft lies in the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ trend and the company’s relatively less mature application ecosystem. … Unfortunately, without a broad range of applications compared to Apple or Android there could be limited traction in the consumer market for Windows 8 and WindowsPhone 8. In turn, this could limit enterprise penetration.”