SAP has rolled out almost 1,500 iPads for users across its business, according to CIO Oliver Bussmann.
He revealed in conversation with Computing that the company has deployed the tablet PCs with email access, access to a virtual private network (VPN), Citrix software to enable access to server-based applications and business intelligence tools via BusinessObjects.
SAP employees are also piloting the Mobile Sales for SAP CRM app built by SAP's recent acquisition Sybase.
And the SAP CIO said that he intends to make the device generally available to all SAP employees as soon as possible. The company currently has 17,000 BlackBerrys rolled out across the organisation and Bussmann said that within 12 months, there will be as many iPads in use by SAP employees.
“We saw that the iPad presented a huge opportunity [to improve our sales environment], and it made sense that SAP should be ready to support the iPad and that we should embrace the mobile mindset,” he said.
The CIO said that the tablet device's reboot time, weight, 3G support and size made it work in the corporate environment.
“All of the executives take it into meetings, it gives immediate access to all information, through access to email, the VPN, business intelligence and CRM,” he explained.
The iPads have been distributed across SAP's sales, marketing and pre-sales teams. In addition, SAP's mobile app development team is also using the device, as are those piloting the Mobile Sales for SAP CRM app.
Bussmann also revealed that Apple offered SAP “good help and support” in rolling out the iPad, and said that the two companies have a good relationship as Apple is an SAP customer.