Case study details of an iPad pilot deployment

A recent case study looks at what can go wrong — and right — with a iPad pilot deployments.

At the recent Macworld Expo in San Francisco, I sat in on several sessions that detailed deployments at the MacIT conference. In the business, these are called case studies. Some were in academic environments and others in the enterprise. In the similar vein, a recent case study, by senior online writer Tom Kaneshige, looked at an iPad pilot project at cable television giant Cablevision. The implementation was done by Tekserve, a New York-based Apple consultancy.

Kaneshige said that Cablevision's initial pilot project failed, but the second with Tekserve worked out. I was intrigued some of the comments about pilot projects by Tekserve CTO Aaron Freimark.

You need to have the scale in mind when you're doing a small pilot. Often in a pilot, you just want to get it over with and are willing to take some short cuts. But the pilot is the first deployment. The pilot is really where you learn the ins and outs. You're naturally going to do more work in the pilot because you're trying things that are not necessarily going to work.

What a great point. The success for users and management will be in the details and in how it all works correctly from beginning to end. It's not about what might be done later in the "real" deployment, but right now in the pilot, which will prove the case for the implementation.

Aside from the many iOS issues with deployment, management and authentication that I saw at MacIT, I can believe that there may be concerns with client expectations in the enterprise. The iPad doesn't function like a notebook computer and this isn't only because of the applications are different. Rather, it's because of iOS's sandboxing of data and applications, which may cause some frustration when getting down to business. I will dig into this issue in another couple of posts in the future.

Freimark was asked about the reaction to Microsoft Surface from his clients. From his comments, Comcast and other customers were waiting on the arrival of Surface before making a decision on the iPad.

A lot of companies were waiting on Microsoft Surface to come out. They were hoping Microsoft would make things a lot simpler. When they saw it, it was kind of meh. This gave a green light to the iPad project. We have seen quite a bit of business since then.

The 128GB iPad was supposed to be the business iPad, but I don't think any of our customers are really clamoring for it.

IT management may not consider that more space for content and applications will be necessary for enterprise applications. However, if a workflow comes to employ the video recording capabilities of the iPad, capabilities that I saw at the Expo, then more memory will be useful.