Cisco recently unveiled the Cisco Cius, which I dubbed an “iPad for the working stiff.” At the device’s introduction, Cisco CEO John Chambers was clear that Cisco wasn’t trying to build an “iPad-killer” so much as a killer business tablet, focusing on high-def video and enterprise-grade functionality instead of the pure “Wow” factor that drives so much Apple hysteria. I also noted that, despite Chambers’ laser-focused aim on the enterprise market, Apple already had a headstart, winning over “scores of business professionals that have already adopted, gleefully, the business side of the Apple iPad.”
Bloomberg Businessweek drove that point home on Tuesday, profiling major firms like SAP and Mercedes-Benz that were, sometimes tentatively, beginning to deploy the iPad out on their front lines:
[Rob Enslin, North America president at SAP] says that when he travels, the only device he carries besides a Research In Motion (RIMM) BlackBerry is the iPad. “It’s allowed me to almost run a paperless office,” says Enslin, who uses it to access business applications, briefing documents, customer information, and other data.
SAP, based in Walldorf, Germany, also works with clients to put its products on mobile devices including the iPad. Tellabs, for instance, collaborated with SAP and Sybase on an iPad application that lets managers more quickly approve shipping of customer orders. “We also have three or four different applications lined up behind this that will help us with better inventory control,” says Jean Holley, chief information officer at Tellabs, based in Naperville, Ill.
It’s not surprising given the iPhone’s success with everyone from executives to delivery drivers, and while some still question the iPhone’s enterprise readiness, the activity in our very own forums indicates many companies are still forging straight ahead.