Apple iPads take root at SAP

SAP CIO on why the tablet device is a must-have for execs...
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

SAP CIO on why the tablet device is a must-have for execs...

Apple iPad: SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann said netbooks are gradually being replaced by iPads in the company

SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann said netbooks are being replaced by iPads in the company
Photo: Apple

Software giant SAP has rolled out 3,500 Apple iPads to staff since the tablets first went on sale in April 2010.

Staff across SAP - particularly the software development and sales teams - are using iPads to remotely access office, SAP and other corporate apps using a VPN and Citrix software.

SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann said: "We teamed up with Apple to bring a consumer product into a corporate environment - from a security, asset management and application integration point of view."

The rapid take-up of the device by SAP's 47,500-plus workforce stems from the tablet PC's ability to provide easy access to information, Bussmann told silicon.com at the recent CeBIT 2011 conference, adding that the sales teams were benefiting from being able to access SAP's BusinessObjects Explorer data-reporting software on the move.

"The sales organisation is embracing [the iPad] because the mobile business intelligence is the number one use case right now," he said.

"They have access to all the sales numbers, financials, customer information assets."

Bussmann said individual departments had to meet the cost of buying the Apple iPads with their existing computer hardware budgets, adding that "the number of netbooks are coming down" as departments switch to tablet PCs.

While acknowledging that the tablet PC is primarily an "information gathering and scanning" tool, rather than a device for creating new content, Bussmann said a tablet is essential for an executive who wants to keep informed.

Tablets' easy-to-use touchscreen interfaces are particularly suited to gathering and sharing information rapidly via RSS feeds and social networks such as Twitter, he said.

"My communication behaviour has changed significantly, because tablets give me an opportunity to scan the IT and business news.

"I have 40 RSS feeds on business and IT, and can go through that and see what are the hot topics, drill down, push one button and share the link and my comments with the outside world.

"I would not do this on my laptop because it's too much effort, you have too many steps."

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