3 Reasons Enterprise IT Loves the iPad Mini
3 Reasons Enterprise IT Loves the iPad Mini 1024 678 InfoVision Admin

3 Reasons Enterprise IT Loves the iPad Mini

The iPad mini sold “just” 8 million units in the 4th quarter of 2012, fewer than Apple’s initial projections.  But the new, smaller form factor iPad is already making big waves in enterprise mobility, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon as more and more of the devices make their way into the enterprise.

Most experts think that consumer adoption of the less expensive iPad mini will fuel enterprise adoption of the new mobile device.  While that’s certain to be true, there are several reasons besides consumer adoption that enterprise mobility managers love the iPad mini, and why adding the iPad mini to your enterprise app development plans makes sense.

Reason #1: Cost & Weight

The iPad mini is drawing attention from enterprise IT developers who have been looking for a more affordable, smaller alternative to the iPad or Android tablet. The new form factor is especially attractive for mobile workers who need a screen size larger than a smart phone, but still need to be able stow or carry the device easily.

Retail, restaurant, medical, and industrial applications are expected to be the first areas where the iPad mini takes hold in the enterprise. There’s currently a $70 gap in the retail price between a brand new iPad mini and an iPad 2. That may not seem like a lot, but tallied over a multi-location or enterprise-wide deployment, it makes a big difference in whether a budget is approved or denied.

Weight and portability are also important factors for people who may spend most of their day carrying the tablet around. The iPad mini weighs less than half the weight of the full-sized iPad models, and it’s narrow enough to make it more comfortable for users with smaller hands, too.

Reason #2:  Existing Infrastructure Compatibility

Enterprise administrators tell us that the iPad mini hasn’t caused much of an impact on their networks. No matter how many millions of devices Apple sells, most companies already have policies in place regarding email servers, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) security, email and Internet usage, and network access control (NAC) for mobile devices.

iPhones, larger iPads, Android-powered smartphones and Android tablets leverage the same server configurations, firewall port settings, and personnel procedures.  One of the few areas that network administrators may have to consider is terminal services and other remote access displays for the iPad mini.

The 7.9 inch display on the iPad mini supports 1024X768 resolution, while the iPad with Retina Display measures 9.7 inches diagonally and supports a 2048X1536 resolution.  So the larger format provides much more on-screen real estate.  This means that when designing Web pages, and cloud-based apps, enterprise iPad app development teams need to consider the display size to avoid readability issues.

Reason #3:  Ease of Mobile App Development

The good news for enterprise mobility applications developers is that even though the screen is smaller, Apple kept the same 4:3 aspect ratio. This means that existing iPad apps will run perfectly and look great on the iPad mini without distortion or reformatting.

The aspect ratio isn’t the only constancy. The iPad application development tools and procedures you’re already using, and the iPad app development projects you have already started or completed require no changes to work with the iPad mini. In fact, developing the business case, preparing a change management plan, training staff on the iPad mini’s use, or a new enterprise iPad app development project require only minimal changes for the 31% of enterprises already using or testing iPads in the enterprise.

At InfoVision, we’ve been helping clients plan, deploy, and manage enterprise iPad application development projects since tablets first appeared in the workplace. We have a rich enterprise software ecosystem already in place to deliver iPad mini or iPad apps. Talk to us today about how we’re helping doctors replace their clipboards, sales reps ditch a bag of product samples in favor or a digital portfolio, and customer service reps carry a wide range of mobile apps in the palm of the hand.

Should Gaming Be Part of Your IT Strategy?
Should Gaming Be Part of Your IT Strategy? 1024 683 InfoVision Admin

Should Gaming Be Part of Your IT Strategy?

Every now and again, one of the major research firms publishes a piece of research that really makes us stop and pay attention.  Recently, Gartner published one of those, called Gamification 2020: What Is the Future of Gamification?

Gamification, Gartner says, is a significant trend driving enterprise innovation, as well as customer and employee engagement. If you haven’t run into the term before, gamification is the use of game mechanics in non-entertainment environments to motivate a change in user behavior.

The Gartner report says that by 2015, 40% of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations. Will your organization be one of them?

Gamification in Enterprise Technology Solutions

We’ve been following the gamification trend for several years now, and agree with Gartner that it can play a key role in innovation management.  How?  One of the most obvious ways is by engaging an internal or external audience and leveraging the collective intelligence of that audience to solicit ideas, develop those ideas and predict success using prediction market mechanisms.

Yes, that’s a fancy way of saying that crowdsourcing can lead you to innovation in IT services, application development, policy management, and product development as well as many other areas of business management. Still, Gartner analyst Brian Burk admits, “80 percent of current gamified applications will fail to meet business requirements.”

The problem is that gamification poses a challenge for IT staffing.  It requires a specific set of skills and a knowledge base that aren’t common among developers new to the concept.  The truth is that gamification is more than just a technology; it’s a new way to define and solve problems.

InfoVision’s Gamification Strategy

When a client approaches InfoVision about gamification, we start by focusing on the problem that needs to be solved.  Sure, we can provide the IT staffing resources needed for a gamification problem, including experienced and talented games designers and developers.

We don’t believe in playing games with our client’s application development. Before a single line of code is written, it’s important to carefully define what problem needs to be solved, and understand the current attitudes and behaviors of the human beings who will use the application.

This is especially true in gamification because successful gamification projects require an understanding of end user psychology.  It’s not simply an enterprise application that has a series of badges, points, or games on top of an existing process or application.

The goal, after all, of most enterprise IT gamification projects is to use technology to change behavior and outcomes through monetary or non-monetary incentives in enterprise training or employee evaluation projects.  It’s part of the continuing evolution of the user experience and consumerization of IT trends that have changed the way enterprise IT departments approach the delivery of technology services.

InfoVision has developed a process that allows enterprise gamification projects to succeed by linking the application development process directly to management’s behavioral expectations.  By building in the measurement criteria by which the project will be judged at every stage of the application development process, we help clients deliver projects that closely mirror human behavior.  This makes it easier to monitor and measure the outcome, and insure project success.

Johannes Kepler, the iPhone & Enterprise IT: Watershed Moments
Johannes Kepler, the iPhone & Enterprise IT: Watershed Moments
Johannes Kepler, the iPhone & Enterprise IT: Watershed Moments 1024 681 InfoVision Admin

Johannes Kepler, the iPhone & Enterprise IT: Watershed Moments

What do the iPhone and 17th century German scientist Johannes Kepler have in common?

The answer is that both fundamentally changed the way a large portion of the world looked at things.  Kepler’s findings about how planets moved around the sun were the beginning of a fundamental shift in how new ideas were adopted and tested.

Before Kepler, new ideas and technology were centrally controlled by the church, and afterwards, control shifted away from the center.  Anyone was able to test a new approach and adopt the technology or approach that worked best.

The iPhone was the same kind of historic watershed for enterprise IT that Kepler became for science.

Before the iPhone, corporate users were assigned a computer, told what applications they could use, and had neither a desire to understand how something within the corporate network, or any ability to deviate from the mystical “corporate standard” mandated by IT.

Then, along came the iPhone. For the first time, senior executives – even CEOs – understood a new technology long before enterprise IT caught on.  They stopped caring about corporate standards, and directed the IT staff to find a way to make it work.  Once that happened, the floodgates opened, and the world of enterprise IT changed forever.

The Yankee Group reports that over 80% of U.S. IT decision-makers have accepted some form of consumerization in their enterprise, with mobile devices and applications accounting for the largest segment of the “consumer” devices finding their way into the enterprise.  Whether they are BYOD, company-supplied devices, or the applications required to support, manage and secure them, consumer-friendly devices have required a basic strategy change for many business and IT leaders.

In fact, consumerization is just the most visible part of a dramatic shift in the way enterprises manage their networks.  Application mobility – that is, the ability of corporate users to access key applications from multiple devices – is transforming the entire industry, from corporate IT to the vendors and consultants who support enterprise networks.

Infovision has assembled a team of rockstar consultants who understand how the world has changed, and why cross platform compatibility is a business necessity – not just a buzz word.  Regardless of the operating system or platform, today’s enterprises need cost-efficient, user-friendly web apps that work securely on any device.  To learn more about how we can provide the solutions you need, whether that’s a single consultant working on-site or an entire team in our facilities, contact us today.

Does Windows Matter Anymore?
Does Windows Matter Anymore?
Does Windows Matter Anymore? 1024 683 InfoVision Admin

Does Windows Matter Anymore?

In a world where end users can connect to the corporate network from a variety of devices, does Windows (or any other operating system) really matter anymore? The answer, of course, is a resounding “yes” from most enterprise IT managers – at least in terms of enterprise resource planning.

Since support for Windows XP officially ended in 2011, most enterprises have undergone a major operating system upgrade to Windows 7.  Few seem ready to repeat the process anytime soon, despite the marketing muscle Microsoft is putting behind Windows 8.

Microsoft says that Windows 8 is “enterprise-ready by design”, and is trumpeting improvements in security, virtualization, backup/restore, performance and IT management plus improved Wi-Fi and cellular broadband connection management.

So far, it’s a hard sell. In fact, Gartner said recently that 90% of enterprises will bypass wholesale deployment of Windows 8 at least through 2014.  The primary reason for the delay is that the new touch-screen operating system is so different from earlier versions of Windows that the learning curve for end users could create a nightmare for support desks.

But it’s not too soon to begin enterprise resource planning for the day when your organization has to begin thinking about supporting the next operating system upgrade.  After all, Microsoft plans to release its final Windows 7 service pack in April 2013.[1]  Sooner or later, some version of Windows 8 is likely to make its way into your data center or onto new hardware you purchase.

Windows 8 deployment is likely to start with niche applications where the new OS offers clear benefits to the end user.  For instance, Gartner says that the OS could prove valuable to remote and traveling workers using the new Windows 8 Surface tablets. Companies with work environments where many workers share the same machines – such as laboratories where many technicians need to access data, libraries where patrons search for books, or retail stores where multiple employees need to search for inventory – might be among the earliest adopters.

Of course, long before Windows 8 is deployed in any enterprise, quite a bit of planning and evaluation is needed.  Nearly all enterprise application projects are complex and time consuming – and many think that Windows 8 may be among the most difficult transition yet.

Without advance enterprise resource planning to time the deployment of critical infrastructure upgrades, Gartner says that the new OS may become a nightmare for IT management.  But it is possible to simplify and streamline enterprise application projects.

InfoVision follows a five-part methodology for ensuring that complex enterprise application projects meet the challenge of integrating data and applications without sacrificing performance or accurate intelligence.  The five stages are:

  • Project Initiation
  • Project Planning
  • Project Execution
  • Project Closure
  • Project Transition

It sounds simple, doesn’t it?  That’s because with over 100 enterprise application projects under our belt, we’ve put together the framework that can help us work efficiently with clients at every stage of the process.  So if you’re considering an enterprise application project during 2013, talk to us about how we can help.

[1] Windows 7 Service Pack updates end in April, 2013, although mainstream support continues until 2015, and some extended support enterprise licenses run through 2020.

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