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Analyst's 7 key factors to picking the right enterprise tablet

by David Needle

July 15 2013

BYOD has taken the enterprise by storm, forcing many IT departments, often at the behest of company executives, to let employees use the same device at work that they use at home.

But has the pendulum swung too far? For years IT had strict control over what computers and what devices employees could use. A big part of BlackBerry’s success was that the company’s smartphones were far more secure and IT-friendly than competing products. The iPhone changed all that, helping to drive a new generation of consumer devices, including iPads and Android devices, into the enterprise.

Analyst Jack Gold says that while end-users are unquestionably a key constituency of any organization, IT and the Line of Business are two others that need to be part of the buying decision.

“Improperly addressing the needs of these constituencies will result in a sub-optimized solution that can negatively impact user productivity, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), IT functions and business operations,” Gold said in a recent report to clients.

Tablets, especially the iPad, are driving the BYOD movement because employees, all the way up to the executive suite have demanded they be allowed to use them, either as replacements to heavier notebooks or to augment them.

Gold argues that the Line of Business (which directly funds 65% of corporate app deployments) has to balance what end users want against real world requirements particularly when it comes to apps and how to make best use of a company’s established infrastructure and processes.

Similarly, IT wants a solution that most easily integrates into the enterprise infrastructure which may or may not be the end-user’s first choice of device.

Making end users happy is fine, but Gold says it’s also important to get IT’s buy in. “Without IT fully supporting the solution, the deployment will likely experience many ongoing challenges,” says Gold.

7 keys to picking the right tablet for your organization

Here is Gold's list of what he says are the 7 keys to deciding on the best tablet for your organization: 

  1. Create a strategic vision – Be proactive, not reactive
  2. Look beyond the device – Focus on solutions
  3. Define requirements – What’s the goal?
  4. Build an App portfolio
  5. User acceptance is critical
  6. Support users while planning for obsolescence
  7. Determine technology/infrastructure requirements

Gold says careful consideration of these seven keys will lead to a more clear-headed assessment of what tablets are right for your organization. That could mean going with the best-selling iPad, but also could mean a newer competitor, like one of the Windows 8 tablets. 

For example, Gold notes that unlike the iPad, Windows 8 tablets offer full support of Office applications (a virtual enterprise standard) including the ability to run Microsoft Office itself on the tablet. 

David Needle is the Editor of TabTimes and based in Silicon Valley.
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