2011: The year Apple's iPad solidifies as an enterprise option

Apple's iPad has become the primary go-to option in the enterprise and the stars are lining up to make the popular device an entrenched business productivity tool in 2011.

Apple's iPad has become the primary go-to option in the enterprise and the stars are lining up to make the popular device an entrenched business productivity tool in 2011.

Amid the Android and Windows tablet fiesta that is the Consumer Electronic Show, it's clear that there's an army of what Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler calls ABis (anything but iPads) forming.

Many of these tablet makers---Research in Motion and Cisco---are hoping their devices become enterprise standards. Schadler, however, argues that the clock is ticking on these ABis in business.

Here's a look at three of Schadler's reasons why the iPad will dominate the enterprise at the expense of ABis and my take.

These iPad challengers will primarily be sold directly to companies. Schadler says the corporate buying cycle will slow down adoption. First, IT buyers have to find the money. Then they have to evaluate. Meanwhile, employees are bringing iPads to work.

My take: This argument is a definite problem for iPad challengers in 2011. But 2012 could be a different story. The corporate buying cycle is slow, but can be lucrative for vendors that can crack the code. Companies are going to need a tablet strategy.

Tablets blend personal and business together and that curtails the benefits of iPad rivals. ABis have to delight the consumer first to be adopted.

My take: Schadler's argument makes sense here. If IT departments force feed tablets they could have a lot of glossy screen bricks.

Apple has a massive head start on tablets and apps. Companies will have a better selection of business apps on the iPad.

My take: There's something to this argument, but a player like RIM could partner with Oracle and SAP to develop the apps needed to outfit a procurement department.

Related:

Complete archive of iPad in business:

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Apple's iPad at work: Consumerization, security and support