Meet the iPad’s Unlikely Cheerleader: SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann

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SAP's Bussman and his iPad at Appnation Enterprise.
SAP's Bussman and his iPad at Appnation Enterprise. @Cultofmac.

Oliver Bussmann, CIO of SAP, makes an unlikely cheerleader for Apple’s iPad — but one who is bound to get noticed. (If you’re now picturing him in a varsity sweater shaking pom-poms, sorry).

But Bussmann is unabashedly enthusiastic about Apple’s magical tablet computer.
SAP deployed some 14,000 iPads to employees last year, making the stodgy German business management software colossal the second largest corporate iPad user worldwide. (Korea Telecom handed over 30,000 to its workers).

“It’s an exciting time. The line between consumer and corporate is fading and we’ve been aggressive in regards to the iPad,” he said. “There’s a  huge opportunity to be in driver’s seat.”

Calling the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement “unstoppable,” Bussmann spoke of his company’s internal app store which has 40 apps and Afaria, the company’s mobile device management software from Sybase, with which they can deploy services to 3,000-4,000 devices in a month.

Fresh from CES in Vegas – where he also cheered about role of the iPad in SAP – he made the remarks at San Francisco’s Appnation Enterprise keynote.

Bussmann believes in employing multiple mobile devices – they will start rolling out Androids soon, though he says it lags about a year behind i0S – and is excited about the overall implications for big data, mobile medical uses (his iPad presentation featured brain CAT scans) and accelerating the world of HR, thanks to the iPeople Sovanta app.

While Bussmann does not foresee tablets replacing laptops for employees entirely in the near future – editing or creating complex documents like presentations or spreadsheets on the road is still too problematic – he is a firm proponent of mobile.

“Overall, a CIO has two choices: step aside…or embrace the mobile mindset, loosening policies about bring-your-own devices and bringing end users into the process.”