Businesses considering buying Apple iPads and other tablets must take a series of specific steps to purchase wisely, according to analyst house Forrester.

The “chorus of calls from the C-level suites” for tablets are growing as “new uses” for the devices emerge, including “conducting mobile business activities and connecting with customers”, Forrester notes.

But tablets introduce a new sourcing cycle, and may also affect traditional hardware price and negotiation policies, it states.

For businesses hoping to buy iPads, they need to be aware that Apple dealers are given an extra point of margin on all purchases of a minimum of a thousand of the devices, it says. “Sourcing pros can negotiate with the resellers to gain that margin back as a discount.”

Forrester says that large businesses willing to give a commitment of over $250,000 (£150,000) a year for Apple products can also achieve better pricing and discounts from resellers. Businesses would also be wise to consider purchasing the lower cost, previous-generation iPads, it notes.

With regard to non-Apple tablet selection and negotiations, Forrester states that "the combination of a fragmented market littered with options and a lack of enterprise standardisation presents a sourcing opportunity".


For businesses looking to sort through this fragmented market, Forrester recommends they: integrate the acquisition of tablets with the company's hardware refresh; and hire an advisor with experience with hardware manufacturers and resellers.

Whichever tablet route they take, businesses need to answer some key questions, it says. Firstly, they should decide whether tablets are to be a corporate purchase or self-provisioned.

Additionally, they need to look at what impact tablets will have on their PC and laptop purchases over the next three years, it says.

“Understanding this can prepare you for structuring purchase agreements containing investment commitments. For example, if you foresee purchasing on 75 percent of the same PC volume in three years as you do now, you need to review your current hardware contracts to determine if you can renegotiate any existing volume commitments.”

Lastly, business may need to reconsider their supplier tiering to evaluate which are most important for a good relationship, based on the relative drop in the prominence of PCs.