As I wander round Lotusphere 2011 I have come to the conclusion that there might be more iPads at the conference than laptops. Maybe not if you count the ones back in the hotel rooms, but certainly in the meeting rooms and open areas. OK, there are probably still more BlackBerry devices being carried, but the iPads win in terms of usage time.I find it really amazing how many there are. Quite a revolution in one year. I understand that 15 million iPads were sold in 2010, and have seen a forecast of 45M for 2011.This has reinforced my belief that people will stop carrying laptops sooner than many think. One colleague left his ThinkPad back in the UK. I am leaving mine in the room “just in case” I need access to something there. As I shift more and more content from local Notes databases to online Connections social content that concern will go away (helped by IBM giving me online access to my whole mail file via iNotes as well as local access to a subset synched to the device).I believe this will accelerate rapidly as Android extends the market down to users who cannot afford a premium Apple experience. I am starting to hear customers here talk about their future being a “bring your own device” strategy, which is also IBM’s approach, to increase flexibility and reduce costs.What many companies are starting to realise is that such employee flexibility (with appropriate usage guidance) can save them a lot of money, help their employees with work/life balance and make the organisations more agile and faster moving by improving employee reachability.I believe there is a strong feedback loop between social software (which is more compelling if it is always at your fingertips), mobile devices (which are easier to adopt if you can connect them to public Internet services) and Cloud based collaboration (which makes it easier for enterprises to adopt new services as they do not need to go through the deployment phase).This virtuous circle will accelerate adoption of Social Business in a way few are expecting. The combination of user owned devices, cloud based services and communities of users collaborating easily across all parts of the organisation to deliver business value, means that IT are going to have to embrace these technologies and use them to deliver an exceptional work experience to their users. Otherwise they risk becoming irrelevant to the business from a collaboration perspective as use of both e-mail and Windows PCs dies away and the users start using mobile devices and Cloud based social services to collaborate instead.Hard to believe? Well think back 3 years. How did you keep in touch with old University friends and the folks you met at the gym? Email, right? So how do you do it today? For most people (who don’t do email for a living) the answer is Facebook and Twitter.That transformation is coming to business to. So embrace it, or get out of the way before it steamrolls over you.