If you haven’t noticed, tablets (like the iPad) are becoming more and more common. And, in my opinion, they are here to stay. This trend is obvious in the consumer space – we are seeing people getting iPads (or similar devices) for use at home on a weekly basis. So how might this affect my business, you ask? The answer: In more ways than you can imagine.
According to a recent Pew Research report, approximately 11% of adults in the United States own a tablet computer – that’s a big number. Of those, over 77% use their tablet daily.
As we discussed in our previous blog entry “Bring Your Own Device”, more and more users are bringing their Smartphones (and now tablets) to work, and are finding ways to use those devices for business purposes. Some companies have adopted some sort of policy regarding email use on personal devices (less and less are providing Smartphones to users, but instead are reimbursing for personal expenses). Very few companies, however, have put policies in place (or even thought about) how to handle personal tablets that employees want to connect to the corporate network.
Access to the wireless network, email access, file access, and social media applications are just some of the issues that need to be considered as tablets become more popular.
Keep in mind, at least for now, the typical tablet does not and cannot replace a laptop computer for most users. There are no native Microsoft Office applications (although you can open Word, Excel and Powerpoint files on a tablet or use one of the many compatible Office applications available), and other native Windows applications (like Quickbooks) can’t be installed on an iPad or Android-based tablet. However, according to The Daily, there’s a rumor that Office is coming for the iPad.
But, for employees who primarily use e-mail and need the ability to view documents, a tablet could be a big productivity tool, especially for those that travel. In addition, as more companies embrace social media as a more significant part of their marketing efforts, social media tools such as Twitter, Tweetdeck, Linkedin, and Facebook apps have become standard issue for most forward-thinking marketers.
The bottom line is that you will see tablets appearing in your office, regardless of if they are “approved” or not. Embrace the trend, and prevent potential problems by developing appropriate technology policies and procedures regarding these devices. Talk to you employees about the use of personal technology at your office, and you may find that these “consumer” devices are of great benefit to your business.
For more information about the use of tablets in the business world, or any of our Cleveland IT services, please contact Brian Rosenfelt of Skoda Minotti Technology Partners at 440-449-6800.