Are CIOs warming up — albeit grudgingly — to the iPad as a serious business tool? In a recent InformationWeek survey, tech professionals cited their biggest barriers to tablet adoption. Here they are:

  • Lack of enterprise apps (38%)
  • Security concerns (34%)
  • Lack of a physical keyboard (23%)
  • Inadequate or expensive management software (21%).

As for their general attitudes about iPad and other consumer technologies in the workplace, the tech pros are fairly evenly spread out, from early adopters to enterprise purists. Here’s how they described their view:

  • Proactive (29%)
  • Accepting (13%)
  • Neutral (23%)
  • Resistant (19%)
  • Strict (16%)

According to the report, “Interestingly, when asked if they have better technology at home than in the office, 52% said yes, while 22% said about the same, and 26% said no.”

It stands to reason that reluctant CIOs will get pushed to the side by the momentum created through the consumer marketplace. Apple lovers around the world will soon be scrambling to get their hands on an iPad 2, set to go on sale in 25 countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico and Britain this week. Welcomed with open arms by consumers and the enterprise alike, the iPad 2 is sure to garner the same reaction overseas.

What will be interesting to see is whether businesses abroad will embrace the tablet enough to add credence to Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ assertion that we’re entering the “post-PC era.” According to InformationWeek, Apple sold 14.8 million iPads by the end of 2010 and analysts predict that the company will sell a whopping 5 to 6 million this quarter.

A fast-growing proportion of those are finding their way into the enterprise. From field service to healthcare, the iPad is proving to be a device capable of not just consuming media, but of performing many of the tasks previously done on a PC. With more than 100 types of tablets launched or ready for launch in the next couple of years, the iPad is just one in a growing sea of mobile devices inching out laptop and desktop (who even has one of those anymore?) computers.

As InformationWeek’s Rob Preston notes, “if you think those devices haven’t been pervading enterprises, you haven’t been paying attention. Walk the aisles at trade shows, observe salespeople in the field or professionals on the plane or train, and you’ll see them toting (and doing serious work on) their iPads.”

InformationWeek isn’t the only source with survey data that supports the trend. A recent survey from the Corporate Executive Board found that nearly a quarter of IT infrastructure organizations have already deployed iPads; another 6% plan to do so this year;  and 3% in 2012.  Adds Preston: “Sure, that means 67% say they have no plans for deploying the Apple tablets–but this isn’t a one-vendor/product market anymore.”

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ABOUT Sara Suddes

San Francisco-based contributor Sara Suddes writes frequently about small business, the economy and technology.