Managing the Changing IT Landscape: Tablets for Business
There’s a lot of discussion lately about tablets at work. We know they’re great for browsing, movies, and music, but can they really cut it in the business world?
CIO Insight isn’t so sure. This recent CIO Insight article captured survey results from over 300 business workers weighing in on tablet productivity in the enterprise. And the findings were interesting:
- Just 17 percent of workers realized productivity increases with a tablet.
- 27 percent of workers feel desktop PCs are more effective than tablets at increasing productivity.
- Only about 30 percent of workers use tablets daily for work purposes.
According to Jonathan Kraft, research program manager at APQC, "The results were somewhat surprising in that the tool which has seemingly garnered the most attention over the past year—the tablet—is at this point not viewed as favorably in making people more productive."
AND, not OR
The flaw that I see with the CIO Insight study is that they compared these tools (Tablets and PCs) for productivity against each other instead of focusing on the incremental productivity that tablets can provide. The fact that 17 percent of workers are gaining productivity is actually a strong statistic in my mind.
The recent Ford Focus commercial captured this well. Imagine having to choose between sweet or sour chicken instead of having what works great: sweet and sour chicken. If we couldn’t have both, I’m not sure people would choose either one. And it’s the same with tablets; the fact that they are fun is exactly why I think they offer upside productivity benefits for the business.
Tablets offer both productivity and fun— giving us a new way to work in the process.
How tablets add productivity
Tablets are quickly gaining traction in the business world as a new way to increase productivity. And while it may be difficult to quantify efficiencies, the overall trend is only going to continue.
- Tablets offer an innovative way to work. This is especially true for employees who need to stay in touch or consume content, but don’t need the full functionality of a PC. For a lot of us who need to keep an eye on e-mail or IM in the evenings, or even catch a flight, a tablet is ideal.
- Tablets often complement rather than replace other devices. Tablets are extremely popular as secondary devices. When the enterprise can determine proper data governance, protection, and user access, these devices help users stay connected to the business.
- Today’s tablets are increasingly business ready. Initial tablet designs emerged from a consumer marketplace evolving from e-readers and filling a gap for more mobile consumers looking for a larger screen than the smart phone offers and more portable than laptops. Many of the new Intel-based tablets are now designed for business —complete with the performance users want and the security IT requires, in a highly portable device with long battery life. Users can multitask and move between multiple applications, whether from their Outlook* client to a web browser or from a video to an Excel* spreadsheet.
- And there’s an app for that. Whether you need file management tools, location-aware functionality, or printing capabilities, the latest tablet apps are increasingly being designed for the enterprise business user. TechRepublic just featured the top must-have business apps for tablets based on the Android* platform, which are another fast-growing segment of tablets.
When evaluating tablets for your business, is it an “AND” discussion about complementing and expanding usage models? Or is it an “OR” discussion in which tablets are replacing traditional business devices?
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