Recently I’ve been having conversations with many people who are trying to decide whether to buy an iPad, and if their business needs can justify the pricey expense. I usually get the same response when I pose the question: “From a purely business perspective, how does your iPad increase your business productivity in a way a laptop doesn’t?” When pressed, most people struggle to come up with an answer. Most of us already own a laptop. An iPad will not replace a computer. It doesn’t print, it isn’t really designed to do expanded programming in excel or put together power point presentations and it does not accept any USB devices, a severe limitation that is standard on laptop computers.
But, an iPad is FUN… something that cannot really be said of a laptop. In addition to the non-business applications (photography, music etc.), is it possible for the iPad to increase business productivity more than a laptop? Possibly; it depends on what your business is and your position.
The iPad is smaller and easier to transport than a laptop; 1.33lbs compared to 6-10 lbs, and is small enough to fit into your purse, briefcase, or man-bag. There is no need to “boot up” and it’s less intrusive in business meetings and conferences. The primary purpose I would use it for is e-mails, keeping track of my ever changing calendar, saving client notes, and keeping notes organized so I can easily find them. These are all great, but a laptop is able to do all of those things and is a more powerful computer. The portability is the real differentiating factor.
I can see myself using it to take notes instead of all the notepads I carry around for different clients. It would do away with me constantly flipping through notebooks to find that piece of information I “know” I wrote down. Juggling a calendar would be easier without having to boot up a PC. The portability allows for easy reference to my calendar for available dates when meeting with clients. Frequently, while out of the office, brief phone conversations with a client or my fellow team members require me to quickly figure out if I can re-arrange my schedule. I do not have time to open my laptop to find my calendar. If I had an iPad I could answer pretty quickly.
It remains to be seen if I could review financials on an iPad. I like to print things out, so I’m not sure that would benefit me. I would use it to write a blog like this when I find myself waiting in line or early for an appointment. I could also submit mileage reimbursements or log my time into a time tracking system, all of which I can do on a laptop, but probably wouldn’t if I was on the go.
So, in conclusion, I’m leaning toward buying one. Analyze your immediate uses and benefits for you when deciding which direction you would like to go.Written by: Nancy Brzezniak TGG Accounting