Tablets are playing an increasingly larger role in the business setting. With businesses expecting workers to be able to work with mobility, devices like smartphones and tablets are becoming popular among employees, regardless of department or job description.
In the workplace, the bring-your-own-device scenario is likewise becoming more and more popular, with IT departments ensuring workers’ devices are compatible with their services. However, in terms of tablets, the iPad is still king of the hill, with about 97% of the enterprise tablet market. As such, companies considering getting tablets for their employees usually have a choice of either the iPad or comparable Android tablets.
But, before you decide a company-wide rollout of the Apple iPad, you will need to make a few considerations, particularly involving cost and need.
Do you really need to issue tablet computers? The first thing you need to ask yourself is whether your companies does, indeed, need tablet computers. Sure, mobile devices can help employees work while mobile – even from home. But, some apps and tasks are best suited for other devices. For instance, tablets are great at reading and watching content, and doing the occasional email. But for bigger text input, or for working on spreadsheets, notebooks might be more suitable. More mobile employees might prefer smaller devices instead, like smartphones or hybrids (like the 5-inch Samsung Galaxy Note), which are easier on the pocket.
Consider data costs. Being portable devices, tablets rely on the Internet for many of their functionalities. You will need to consider the cost of data when issuing tablets to your employees. Some tablet computers rely on a WiFi connection, while some have built-in 3G or even 4G modems. These come at an extra cost, though, and will need a compatible data plan. Since carriers are putting a stop to unlimited data plans, a company will need to ensure fair use, so that an employee does not rack up unnecessary bills for excess use. Or, an IT department may need to issue limits, such that an employee would have to shoulder expenses from data use outside of the company’s limit.
Consider other devices. In the so-called “post-PC” world, tablets and smartphones are said to overtake PCs and notebooks in terms of content consumption. But, companies will need to consider whether tablets will be a direct replacement to PCs, or whether these are simply complementary devices. Tablets are great as second devices, for use when working outside of the office or desk. But, when bigger tasks are at hand, an employee is better off with a full-fledged computer.
Tablets are best used for single-task applications, particularly those that don’t require switching across apps. The iPad is an excellent example. This tablet works best in full-screen single-app scenarios, but users have difficulty when there is a need to switch across apps and windows. As such, tablets are best used as alternative and complementary devices, which any enterprise should factor into when doing cost studies for tablet procurements. Don’t just jump into the tablet bandwagon. Consider your costs and requirements first.
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