The iPad: Success=Perception

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it is all about perception. The same can be true of IT and whether certain initiatives are successful.  Jeff Coghill emailed me a link to the article,” IT leadership often determines iPad success in the enterprise” which explains that it is how IT approaches the iPad as to whether it is successful. 

If IT reluctantly buys some iPads because “everyone is doing it” and they are looking for a problem for the devices to solve, the iPad (and really anything bought with this approach) is doomed for failure.  “iPad succeeds or fails in your enterprise is often driven by the IT leadership’s perception of the device. If you open the box and see headaches ranging from manageability to access control, save yourself the agony and leave the iPad to consumers.”

If IT approaches it from the perspective with the need first and the tool second, then the iPad (or any tablet device) has a chance to be sucessfully implemented.  With this approach the article states, the iPad may be  “be the technology ‘duct tape’ you’ve been waiting for — that is, a cheap (but imperfect) solution to all manner of enterprise problems.” 

If you own a home you know that there is never a shortage projects, no matter how updated it is.   Buying an iPad or tablet and trying to make it solve problems is like buying a flat head screwdriver at Home Depot before you looking at the screws to determine you really need a phillips head.  You can sort of maybe get the phillips head screw out with a common screw driver but you won’t be happy with the results.  Knowing your needs ahead of time and looking at what issues must be solved allows you to choose the right tool for the job.  Same goes with IT.  

So it really is the attitude of the IT department as to whether any device is adopted successfully. While many hospital IT departments are not well known for embracing technology with an open mind, some are definitely more open than others.  John Halamka, Chief Information Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Chief Information Officer at Harvard Medical School, writes often about finding new things to solve current problems.  Often he writes about new IT things like  using Apache Hadoop to “leverage commodity hardware infrastructure, reduce risk, and meet user demands for mining big data” might be something to investigate.  Sometimes though, he writes about finding cool new things that solve his personal problems like finding good lightweight shoes for light hiking and kayaking.  Reading his blog, you get the idea that he knows his needs ahead of time and isn’t fussy with where he finds the right solution as long as it is the right solution. 

It takes an open mind to look outside of the box to address the needs, this is where innovative hospitals with innovative IT departments and CIOs shine while other good hospitals just stay good hospitals.