Can I work from an iPad? Salesforce Marketing Cloud Edition

On the advent of the new year, one of the most surprising things I was asked was “Can you do your job from an iPad?”. This got me thinking…could I? or couldn’t I? That is the question. Looking at what my iPad Pro can do with the M1 chip…it got me very curious so I got to testing.

With the iPad pro, it supports stage manager, and external monitor support. Now could this be enough to work? Short answer is no. It requires quite a few other things such as what do I use to actually complete my work? 

My everyday task work boils down to, JIRA because you always have to have a project manager system, and since JIRA is cloud based this would require me to work through the browser.  And speaking of browsers, I would need google chrome because Marketing Cloud plays the nicest on google’s own browser. Also for my current project, everything is done via google’s business items. And even if it was Microsoft, I could still use the cloud items. The only apps that would prove to be tricky would be google chat and slack. The reason why is because if I am taking a conference call on one I might be typing on another. 

Now in “working” off of my iPad the one thing that deters me is I like having my MacBook within a dock that keeps it closed. I don’t like to have the keyboard and screen open. When you have 2 ultra-wide 34 inch monitors, you need all the room you can get. Thus there is no option to have a “dock” mode with a wireless keyboard and mouse Bluetooth to your iPad and connected to a monitor. You must always have it open to use it. Minor criticism but something that a remote worker deals with. 

I would say as a device with 2 windows, I can have a conference call on my iPad, and the 2nd screen as my main workspace with my documentation and with marketing cloud within a browser. Multi tasking is made easier with the iPad Pro’s keyboard, it is easy to switch between tabs and browsers and tasks, and with stage manager you can put things within groups. 

The big issue with the iPad arises when you must work with multiple apps at once, such as formatting an excel file to a csv then to save it via files and then upload it to Marketing Cloud. Without having the ability to save to a desktop you must use the files app on the iPad which ain’t the brightest crayon in the box and still lacks in a lot of areas. And sometimes the iPad’s office excel can be a pain when copying and pasting data between excel files. 

Another example of where the iPad has a hard time struggling is trying to code automation files. Now if you are like me, you work from an editor, dreamweaver or visual studio code. Now with the iPad there isn’t really a solid code editor. Coda 2 use to be on the iPad but that has since been sunset and the SSH client by Panic hasn’t been updated in 7 months. The one I keep hearing about is Texttastic but it’s one I haven’t tried yet due to me not wanting to spend 10 dollars and have an app that doesn’t meet my needs especially when you can’t just return an purchased app. This is one where I actually must have a solid code editor due to the nature of automation studio and working in SQL. Also I don’t like working within automation studio because I have had issues with my code not saving due to a connection issue or in some cases I get up to get another cup of coffee and Salesforce has logged me out and there goes a crazy amount of work all gone. 

With the iPad Pro, when working with cloud technologies such as Salesforce, there are a few things that hold it back from being a primary work station. Such as the multi tasking, and being able to create files on the fly. But when it comes to email sends, journey development, SMS message development,  datarama, and anything that requires clicks over code, the work can be done on an iPad Pro. Or if you are a project manager taking notes on meetings while looking at Marketing Cloud, then yes you can very much get your work done. The iPad Pro has indeed evolved with the help of Stage Manager. It still has a few more kinks to work out and needs some apps that can give you more power to manage files better and code fully. But if you are a project manager or a business analyst on a marketing cloud project then you could very well work from your iPad Pro, but if your a Marketing Cloud Architect or a Marketing Cloud Developer you could very much have a hard time doing the complex tasking which would require a full fledge computer.

I have decided to break it down via the table below about what Marketing Cloud roles could be covered with just an iPad Pro and what roles could have issues.

Job Role Could They Work From an iPad Pro? Where does the focus of work happen What issues they might run into
Marketing Cloud Business Analyst Yes Jira, Microsoft Office or Google Office, Slack Multi Tasking will require another desktop. Stage Manager is limited to 4 apps
Marketing Cloud Administrator Yes Email Studio, Journey Builder, Set Up If you need to run any type of SFTP set up or automation testing with a file drop, there aren’t good SFTP apps on tablet.
Marketing Cloud Project Manager Yes Jira, Microsoft Office or Google Office, Slack Multi Tasking will require another desktop. Stage Manager is limited to 4 apps
Marketing Cloud Developer No Automation Studio, Content Builder, Mobile Connect, Set Up, APIs As a dev, I require Dreamweaver or VS code with multiple tabs, one note, and an FTP app. Running this on an iPad would prove beyond troublesome
Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Sort of Content Builder, Email Studio, Reporting Even with light coding it can prove to be difficult but firing off email sends is easy.

In Closing, Marketing Cloud is indeed one of those enigmas when it comes to cloud technology. The will it won’t it work on a tablet, I hope this helps solve some of the puzzles if you are starting out on a tablet before migrating to a full computer or if you are wanting to work from the road on an iPad and not carrying around a big laptop.

Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash