iPads in the Enterprise: 5 Price Negotiation Tactics

Did you know you can gain up to a margin point of additional discount when buying at least 1,000 iPads from an Apple reseller? Before you jump on the iPad bandwagon there are five things you need to know to ensure you get the best deal.

Wed, July 20, 2011

CIO — The iPad enterprise adoption craze is underway, are you armed with the knowledge and resources you need to negotiate a deal for iPads in bulk?

Once again, Apple (AAPL) played up the iPad in the enterprise during its really big quarterly earnings call earlier this week: 86 percent of Fortune 500 are deploying or testing iPads (along with nearly half of the Global 500), up from 75 percent last quarter. Companies include Boston Scientific (BSX), Xerox (XRX), Salesforce.com (CRM), Alaska and American Airlines.

A major New York law firm, Proskauer, also began rolling out iPads. Apple's iconic device has gained an early foothold among hospitals. Apple says iPads are on the rise in the K-12 education market, as well as in colleges. And they've been showing up to work in the strangest places.

"To be this far into the enterprise with a product that's only been shipping for 15 months in the case of iPad is incredible because enterprise is usually a lot more conservative," says Apple COO Tim Cook.

A Forrester report indicates that tablet makers are specifically targeting industries such as healthcare, manufacturing and logistics, education and real estate because tablets have the potential to revolutionize traditional business processes. The report goes on to predict that more than 24 million tablets will be sold to U.S. consumers this year, up from 10.3 million in 2010.

But iPad enterprise adoption is far from easy. "There's just a hundred decisions that have to be made along the way," Steven Kayman, senior litigation partner and chair of the technology committee at Proskauer, told CIO.com.

Whenever iPad in business came up during Apple's earnings call, management software vendors and service providers reportedly tweeted pitches to help companies behind on the iPad adoption curve.

Now Forrester Research offers five negotiation tactics for sourcing iPads and other tablets:

1. Stick to basic tenets for sourcing hardware. For tablets other than the iPad, you'll want to publish an RFx (request for X) with viable technology vendors. These vendors are desperate to build critical mass quickly for their first-gen products, which should give corporate buyers an advantage.

Crafting an RFx also will help you build a business case for tablets, establish criteria and help you decide if the tablet must be an iPad or not.

2. Work the business-to-business channel for best pricing and options, not the consumer ones. Apple channel managers—yes, they exist—target strategic accounts in important industries by creating special programs that spur iOS adoption. You may be one of those accounts, so put your sourcing managers to work.

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