The Second Biggest User Of iPads In The World Is A Big Old Software Company

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By the end of 2011, SAP had issued 14,000 iPads to its workforce. That made it the second largest user of iPads in the world, says an employee.

The company bought about 1,000 of them in 2010 and apparently fell in love, reports Eric Lai in Forbes. Lai works for a SAP subsidiary, Sybase, and keeps a database of worldwide enterprise iPad deployments. The only company using more Apple tablets is Korea Telecom, which gave iPads to all 30,000 employees about a year ago, he says.

SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann had hoped to outfit about 17,000 of the 53,000 worldwide employees with an iPad by the end of 2011. While he didn’t quite reach that target, he says SAP’s iPad frenzy isn’t over yet.

The company is giving out about 1,000 iPads a month and expects to have 20,000 of them in the hands of salespeople, IT staff, developers, managers, and senior executives by the end of 2012.

Next Monday, SAP will start handing out Android tablets, too, even though Bussmann doesn’t think Android tablets are really up to snuff for enterprise use yet.  By year end, Bussmann plans to have more than 1,000 Samsung Galaxy Tabs in use by employees, Lai says.

SAP is eating its own dog food. It makes a mobile device management product, Afaria, which helps enterprises make tablets more secure, backs up data if they get lost, let’s them remotely add software and so on. Obviously, SAP is using Afaria with its own deployment as a test case.

But equipping so many with tablets is having a bigger effect. Since it began, various SAP units have now developed over 30 mobile apps to supplement SAP’s enterprise software products.

Lai reports that SAP’s internal mobility plans are having a payoff for the company, helping it bring in 350 new customers in 2011.

Are you an employee with insight into SAP’s business plans? We want to hear it. We are discreet. [email protected] or @Julie188 on Twitter.