How to: Procure Apple iPads, tablets in the enterprise

How to: Procure Apple iPads, tablets in the enterprise

Summary: Procuring tablets and negotiations have a few quirks relative to other enterprise hardware deals, according to Forrester Research.

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Consumerization brought Apple iPads and related tablets to corporations, but sourcing managers at large companies will be the ones bringing these devices to businesses in bulk. To date, procuring tablets and negotiations have a few quirks relative to other hardware deals, according to Forrester Research. In a report, Forrester noted that popularity of the iPad in corporations---Apple's financials tell the tale---but sourcing and vendor management executives may have to learn new tricks buying tablets.

The research firm makes the following points:

  • So far, businesses are supporting tablets because workers are bringing them into the office.
  • Despite Apple's early run to the front, the corporate tablet market will be diverse as HP's TouchPad, Android devices and RIM's PlayBook enter the workplace.
  • Companies will have to decide whether to base their sourcing plans on Apple or a traditional IT supplier. Why? Negotiations tactics will vary based on which side you choose.

That last point is notable and perhaps the biggest reason Apple rivals will get some enterprise traction. If companies can lump tablets in with PCs a company like HP or Lenovo could do well. Ditto for RIM, which can sell BlackBerries and PlayBooks together. Apple has been consumer focused and businesses will have to procure through resellers, which may not be used to working with large companies.

Forrester is recommending that companies stick with existing sourcing tactics. "Following basic tenets of hardware sourcing best practices eliminates the confusion and brings clarity to any irrational exuberance," said Forrester.

General practices that will work procuring tablets:

  • Publish a request for proposal with business requirements to determine whether you need an iPad or any tablet.
  • Work with vendors and resellers to get the best deal.
  • Time a purchase to the vendor's final quarter.

The problem with that plan is that Apple's pricing tactics for businesses are different. You can't play the volume game like you would with another vendor. And it's unlikely that you can get tablets tossed into a broader PC deal. Forrester reports that large account resellers are moving lots of iPads, but that means there's little incentive for Apple to discount. Anything less than 1,000 iPads for a reseller isn't likely to get much of a discounts.

If your company will commit to iPads you have some leverage. Apple dealers get an extra point of margin on a minimum 1,000 iPad order. Companies can negotiate to get some of that margin in the form of a discount. In addition, Apple allows resellers to offer enterprise discounts. If companies give a $250,000 a year purchase commitment for Apple gear they can get better prices and discounts.

But the risk for Apple in the enterprise is that companies can and will get better discounts elsewhere. Companies can lump tablets in with PCs and laptops. HP will put tablets in its Big Deal letters, which offer volume discounts for a tablet and PC bundle. Buying from Apple rivals also make it easier to negotiate via an advisor, who would have more historical data on deals. And it may also make sense to get tablets from a vendor you're already using for a PC refresh.

To combat the discounting of traditional enterprise players, Apple executives this week talked about company specific applications for the iPad. Custom business apps would help lock in companies to the Apple ecosystem even with discounts.

Related:

Topics: Tablets, Apple, Enterprise Software, Hardware, iPad, Laptops, Mobility

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13 comments
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  • RE: How to: Procure Apple iPads, tablets in the enterprise

    No reason to procure the iPad and tablets in the enterprise as there is no need. They are for a small niche market and that's about it. Just because some CEO somewhere wants one for his personal use on the company's dime doesn't mean tablets are breaking into the enterprise.

    [i]So far, businesses are supporting tablets because workers are bringing them into the office.[/i]
    If a worker brings one into my office I'll take it from him and throw it away. If we didn't issue it they aren't bringing it in.
    LoverockDavidson
    • RE: How to: Procure Apple iPads, tablets in the enterprise

      @LoverockDavidson, ha! typical response.. can't see the writing on the wall, the change in direction in technology, delegate tablets to the category of "toy" and operate under the assumption that IT is in charge, rather than IT is to support the technologies that the end users think are best to perform their jobs. Ideally, IT is to support, not dictate!
      proeger
      • RE: How to: Procure Apple iPads, tablets in the enterprise

        @proeger
        You don't understand IT then. IT supports the business, they are the ones who will supply the technology needs of the business. So yes they are in charge when it comes to the technology. The business would need a very strong case for IT to order and set up tablets and it won't be because someone thinks its "cool".
        LoverockDavidson
      • RE: How to: Procure Apple iPads, tablets in the enterprise

        @proeger IT is in charge. You dont like it? Resign.
        Tommy S.
      • RE: How to: Procure Apple iPads, tablets in the enterprise

        @proeger You don't understand IT. They support the business needs and are in charge of technology. <a href="http://www.getadj.net">Get a DJ</a> <a href="http://www.us-djs.net">DJ agency</a>
        mrswilliamson
    • RE: How to: Procure Apple iPads, tablets in the enterprise

      @LoverockDavidson

      Hysterical! I love you satirical posts. You are the Jon Stewart of the Talk Back world...just not as awesome.
      maskman01
    • RE: How to: Procure Apple iPads, tablets in the enterprise

      @LoverockDavidson

      How the sand that your head is stuck in? Or is it stuck somewhere else?
      davidmpaul
      • RE: How to: Procure Apple iPads, tablets in the enterprise

        @davidmpaul
        Its stuck in forward thinking reality.
        LoverockDavidson
    • RE: How to: Procure Apple iPads, tablets in the enterprise

      @LoverockDavidson Actually, my company is buying them specifically to fill mobile needs. There is a good business case to supply these workers with a computing device, but notebooks/netbooks are not easy to hold in hand and use while walking, which is what these workers do.<br><br>And even in a corporate environment, I have seen a surprising number of folks taking notes on their tablets instead of lugging their laptops to meetings.
      spunkybart
      • RE: How to: Procure Apple iPads, tablets in the enterprise

        <br><br><br>Hi @spunkybart,<br> <br>Douglas from RIM here. You hit it on the head tablets offer portability, but they still deliver the power and functionality necessary to get your work done and share it online, in hand, or through its micro-HDMI port on a big screen. One of the many key features of the BlackBerry PlayBook is its 7-inch frame, which fits easily into your jacket pocket or purse and makes it really convenient for one-handed use or to thumb type like you would on a smartphone.<br> <br>But dont take my word for it earlier this week the PlayBook took home Best in Show at the FOSE conference for its enterprise features and security: <a href="http://bbry.lv/ofsmMo" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://bbry.lv/ofsmMo</a>. <br> <br>You can also see more potential use cases of the PlayBook in an enterprise here: <a href="http://bbry.lv/fGo5M8" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://bbry.lv/fGo5M8</a>.<br> <br>Cheers,<br>Douglas, RIM Social Media Team
        tr0ndizzle
    • RE: How to: Procure Apple iPads, tablets in the enterprise

      @LoverockDavidson

      I suppose you threw out the first PC some worker brought in to do a spreadsheet. When will you IT type figure it out, it is the worker you support not the other way around.
      davidmpaul
    • RE: How to: Procure Apple iPads, tablets in the enterprise

      @LoverockDavidson Man, if you worked for my company with that attitude, you would be looking for a new job. My IT guys are not the engine room of the company, or the drivers, they are the skilled mechanics who keep the engine tuned. Tablets provide for the first time, IT empowerment and on the fly productivity gains right on the shop floor and at the customers door, for all workers across the enterprise in a truely mobile sense. IT is now where it should be supporting the enterprise not running it.
      perler
      • RE: How to: Procure Apple iPads, tablets in the enterprise

        @perler Empowering the workers is a code word for impending security disaster. Why not remove all the locks at the office, it'll empower everybody! Instant increase in productivity!
        Tommy S.