News International helped encapsulate the success of Apple’s iPad and other computing devices at a recent London conference, detailing how it had no Apple products before the iPad was launched to become the Apple’s fifth biggest UK customer.

The iPad has helped the media company’s use of technology within its properties, providing its employees with products and services that make use of mobile and Cloud technologies.

Paul Cheesbrough, News International’s CIO told attendees at the 451 Group’s recent Hosting and Cloud Transformation conference:

“We had zero Apple footprint before the iPad. We are now the fifth biggest customer in the UK in terms of desktops and laptops and so on.

The iPad isn’t a nice-to-have. It’s to explore the consumer applications, [for example] the way you can move data around. We are taking a lot of what we are learning [from The Times] iPad app and bringing it into the enterprise.

The adoption of Apple technology has helped Cheesbrough to focus on services that can be accessed from the browser, making the decision to utilise systems that can be “virtualised or cloud-based”. So it will come as no surprise that News International has shifted many of its services to Google Apps, allowing staff to access their accounts from both a desktop and a mobile device.

However, Cheesbrough has admitted that Google Apps has its shortcomings, namely its lack of features in comparison to Microsoft Office, but says the benefits such as video chat help employees connect and collaborate.

News International also employs Salesforce’s Chatter and will possibly look to develop an internal social network amongst staff. Staff also use Twitter to monitor services and assist customers if they have difficulty with the company’s array of consumer iPad/iPhone and mobile apps.

“We’ve got more connections between all types of people – journalists, sales, marketing are talking to each other about things they wouldn’t talk about before,” he said.