Working in the technology business, I am more skeptical than most about vendor announcements. Claims of transformative innovation are a dime a dozen but the reality is that the typical product falls far short of the announcement hype. The iPad has been the exception that proves the rule. As VP of Sales I have a front-row view of how directors use board portals and its adoption has been nothing short of astounding. It has been a real eye-opener.
We’ve been experimenting with tablets for years in an attempt to lower the technology barrier for directors, but nothing seem to be able to move the standard laptop as the tool of choice. Frankly speaking, up to the introduction of the iPad, tablet computers have been little more than a PC minus the keyboard. They all suffered from the same shortcomings that most executives have grudgingly learned to work around, but that many directors just won’t accept.
After Joe published his early experiences with the iPad for BoardVantage, we’ve been inundated with inquiries. Directors across our customer base, whether at Washington Management, TriMas or Validus were running BoardVantage on their iPads within days from the Apple announcement. In many cases, companies let me know that the buzz in their boardroom was so great that they’re buying iPads for all their board members.
It’s a fair question to ask why the iPad is such a hit with directors. As best as I can tell its success is based as much on what it does NOT do, as what it does. While the iPad lacks the countless features that power users in the corporate secretary office demand, that is no loss for directors. What they value is that it’s always-on, highly readable, super-slim and lightweight. Apple’s philosophy of “less is more” is a perfect fit for directors, because the smart design trade-offs make for a hassle-free experience.
You can use BoardVantage with the iPad today, and of course we’re always happy to demo this, especially to organizations with traditional boards who have in the past been reluctant to move online. The iPad has done more to shake up the board portal market than anything I can remember.