Mobile device management is moving swiftly up the ranks as a must-have technology, and the latest findings from IDG Connect's "iPad for Business Survey," serve to bolster that idea. Among its findings: The survey shows 12 percent of people who use iPads for work said it has "completely replaced" a notebook computer. Here's some perspective ...

First up, a gracious nod goes to AppleInsider.com, which dissected the IDG Connect report. In addition to finding that 12 percent of workers have ditched their laptop for the iPad, almost 75 percent of work-related iPad users are toting around their laptop less, and a solid 75 percent brought their personal iPad into the workplace, rather than receiving one from their employer. Not surprisingly, only a small amount of users -- just 6 percent -- said they had completely replaced their desktop PCs with iPads.

Of the individuals surveyed, a whopping 91 percent who own an iPad said they use it for work-related materials, with 51 percent of those respondents saying they "always" use it at work. According to the survey, the iPad consistently is the "tablet of choice" for the enterprise.

IDG Connect draws this interesting conclusion:
"For most, the iPad isn't a substitute for an existing tool or device. Instead, it's a supplement, albeit one with functionality that overlaps with other devices. As a result, the iPad seems to have carved out a niche for itself at the partial expense of several rival form factors."
Here's my channel-focused conclusion: It's 2012 and a newer, better iPad 3 is on the horizon. Is there any doubt this current 12 percent figure will jump in the next three to five years? It's clear VARs and solution providers should be looking seriously at building at least part of their business around mobile device management, if they haven't done so already. Between security solutions and networking gateways, there are plenty of ways iPads can be wrangled down and tweaked for use in the corporate workspace. If the channel continues to adopt these solutions en masse, it's likely newer and better solutions will evolve from the demand also.