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iPad: tool or toy?

18 Oct 2011

There is no question that many view the iPad - and its tablet cousins - as the greatest thing since sliced bread (or at least since the arrival of the iPhone). But are they vital to your business, or are they simply an expensive toy?

When deciding which technology to invest start up funds in it can be easy to go to extremes: either embracing the latest and greatest as a business investment or avoiding it completely due to cost. The truth lays somewhere in between.

The only question you need to ask is what your staff needs to do their job efficiently and cost effectively. 

If you have a sales team that is constantly on the road, needing to both close deals and be in constant contact with the office, an iPad may indeed be the best tool you can offer them. An Auckland construction firm that offers an interior design service to their clients, has seen a marked improvement in the uptake of that service since the designers have been able to show swatches and tiles on iPads.  It has also decreased the need to invest in bulky samples that need to be regularly updated. 

On the other hand, if your team works predominantly in an office or needs to use multiple documents or programs concurrently then the multi-tasking-shy iPad is probably not the way to go. Consider a netbook and a good smartphone instead. 

As with all technology, especially during the start up phase, do your research first. Include your key staff members in the research and find out what they need, rather than what they want, to do their job well. 

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