Six guiding principles for any organization considering tablets for their business

April 3, 2012

True or false: When employees show up to work with tablets they bought themselves – which also house sensitive company information – the heavens will open and the ground beneath the IT department will rumble for miles. 

How about maybe, but not necessarily?

Today’s tablets are not just mobile computing devices, but extensions of people’s lives. Employees are buying them because they want one device to balance work and personal. And even though many IT teams would prefer complete lockdown for what may be perceived as the ultimate in mobile security, they can’t ignore the trend and the benefits of employees using tablets at work.

A short case study

One global manufacturing company I know took the view that the tablet is a powerful new tool for their staff and an opportunity for their business.

When personally-owned tablets started coming into their business, this company asked an important first question – why? Their sales teams were bringing in their own tablets and using them to look up nutrition facts and product sell sheets, work together as a virtual team, and even post to their customers’ Twitter feeds. If this was a need for the sales team that helped them build closer relationships with customers and close sales, why not create a sales app that did it all?

Next the team looked at why people like to access personal apps on the job. They found their employees were not less, but more productive when they multitasked between work and personal tasks, or recreational apps. And they discovered a way to offer both. The key was to look for a tablet that isolates and protects personal content from corporate information in a way that is seamless to the user.

Finally, they took the stance that tablets provisioned by the company serve the needs of the organization best. They purchased tablets for their entire sales team and set them up with the new sales app. The process also spawned a complete revamp of the sales database, which improved how the company’s products were presented and sold.

What can we learn from this consumer goods company? Here are six guiding principles for any organization considering tablets for their business

1. Choose tablets that are built for business as well as entertainment – bringing together the best of both worlds will keep your employees happy and productive.

2. Find ways to transform your business processes with tablets. Build apps that will make your employees’ day-to-day tasks easier and your business benefit from more streamlined operations.

3. Make apps that are smart and savvy to wow your employees and make them want to use them.

4. Set up tablets to access the corporate network in a secure way similar to how laptops and many smartphones are enabled today, and let your staff leave their cumbersome laptops behind.

5. Choose tablets that can handle the load of content that today’s tech-savvy employees consume on a daily basis. Power and speed are important. Tablets that can run more than one application, video, web page, chat or download at the same time are definitely the way to go.

6. Keep security a priority. Choose tablets that separate business and personal content and keep confidential corporate, employee and customer information protected. Better yet, choose tablets that display business and personal content together while keeping the two separate and protected behind-the-scenes.

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