The iPad is undoubtedly a powerful computing device, but does not add value for every work environment.We’ve made the iPad a core part of our workflow since its launch, traveling with it across 3 continents for business, conducting in person presentations, taking meeting notes and we have even composed presentations with it. The verdict – it is a powerful business tool depending on your unique role and work style.This article will help you evaluate the utility of an iPad for you. Read each of the following Ten Decision Factors, and evaluate whether or not the iPad is right for you.–1. It is a hassle to print the same material for each client/prospect meeting.» Many sales people waste valuable time printing fresh material for each client visit. The iPad lets you move away from paper and share documents on “virtual” pages on the iPad.2. I have clients/prospects who prefer electronic/pdf documents instead of paper copies.» Your clients may be throwing away all your printed materials after each meeting or are eager to file your materials where they can search them electronically. Additionally, the iPad allows you to send documents immediately via email in the meeting.3. I am out of the office frequently and do not already have a work laptop.» If you are at your desk all day, an iPad has more limited number of scenarios that will be of use. Individuals with frequent in-person meetings will benefit most from the presentation, email and reference features in the iPad. If you have a laptop and write emails and documents on-the-go, nothing beats the power of a laptop with a keyboard and fully featured operating system.4. It is realistic for me to move to a less-paper centered work system (meeting notes, client files, etc.).» An iPad will cause you to move away from paper for many aspects of your work (such as calendars, notes and to-do lists). If you’re ready to give up a paper file folder for each client/project, the iPad will be powerful for you.5. My customers are sophisticated or impressed by technology (wouldn’t scoff at “a shiny new gadget”).» The iPad will project a sophisticated, high-tech image that will be embraced by some and seen as a distraction by others. The technology should enable your work, not distract from it.6. My work email uses mobile friendly technology (such as Microsoft Exchange or Google Apps), and allows mobile or web connections.» Having easy access to email, calendars and contacts is one of the best features of the iPad, but this requires that your work systems are compatible. Check with your IT manager to find out if your company supports synchronization with the iPad.7. I am already using an electronic calendar (or desire to move from a paper system).» The calendar in the iPad works well and allows you to accept and send meeting requests to others. If you’re not ready to give up a paper calendar, you’ll miss out on a significant benefit.8. I travel internationally and need reliable internet access while traveling.» Internet access while traveling can be inconsistent and expensive. The GSM/ATT model of the iPad will allow you to purchase pre-paid internet access for about the same price as an airport internet connection and stay online in whatever country you’re visiting. It can also save you from expensive hotel internet fees.9. I am not required to use company-specific software applications that can only be run on my work computer.» The iPad only runs applications that were written and published to the Apple App Store and websites that do not depend on Adobe’s Flash technology. If your company has a specific application that needs to be installed on a computer, it will not likely be compatible with the iPad. Check with your IT manager to find out if there are any specific applications that are not accessible on the iPad.10. Spending $25 per month + the upfront cost of the iPad ($629+ USD) wouldn’t be a problem for my budget.» If you are a United States-based iPad user, we recommend you purchase a WiFi + 3G iPad. The 3G (cellular data) service will cost between $15 and $25 per month. No long-term contracts are needed.

OS Insights is the leading iPad consulting firm. We provide instruction on how to integrate the iPad in your workplace, and offer the iPad for Work Guide, an eBook describing how to best integrate iPad into your work environment.Our expertise spans across the globe, and we’ve tested the iPad in more than three continents and spoken to upwards of 100 iPad users. We are the iPad for Work experts.

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