Do agencies need a platform to share info on iPad deployments?

A USDA IT manager suggests more collaboration is needed between agencies on the basics of iPad deployments.

As agencies prepare to deploy iPads for their employees, it would be great if they could share information on a Facebook page or another platform, suggests a project manager at the Agriculture Department.

Satish Iyer, IT project manager at the USDA office based in Des Moines, Iowa, said he has been looking — but has not been able to find -- a common Web platform or wiki where multiple federal agency managers can collaborate and share information on tablet deployment and other Web 2.0 programs. He has asked permission to create a Facebook page for interagency collaboration for those purposes.

The Veterans Affairs Department, General Services Administration and USDA are all involved in iPad deployments. For example, the VA expects to allow employees to use their personal iPads on VA networks by Oct. 1, VA CIO Roger Baker said recently.

“At the USDA, we’ve initiated identical pilots and are addressing similar challenges to other agencies," Iyer said. "However, I’ve not come across a platform where multiple agencies can collaborate on their Web 2.0 and tablet deployment initiatives, share ideas and pool resources,” he added.

Here are some questions he wants answered:

  • How do we measure the cost-effectiveness of an iPad deployment and justify it compared to existing laptops or desktops?
  • Should we purchase devices in bulk?
  • Should we purchase directly or from resellers? Who are some of the resellers out there?
  • What kind of maintenance agreement should be written for the devices? Should we build in a provision to replace all devices to a newer version of the iPad at a discounted price when one is released?
  • Are there any vendors who can assist federal agencies with the technical feasibility study, planning, and rollout of iPads?
  • Should we let employees use their personal tablets for work?
  • What kind of iPad-relevant technology training should be given to IT teams?
  • What kind of training should the IT helpdesk be given?
  • What are agencies’ experiences with Apple’s ‘IOS Enterprise Developer Program’?
  • What are agencies’ experiences with Apple’s volume purchase programs?