The path to tablet adoption

May 10, 2012
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As tablets inundate the workplace, IT organizations have a major challenge: giving users easy access to corporate applications and business information crucial to their jobs, while maintaining the security of the asset and integrity of transactions.

While daunting, this challenge is hardly insurmountable.

In fact, a CIO can drive a successful tablet-management program by focusing on four key practices.

  1. Base your policy on the end-user’s perspective. To develop a rational policy, you must first understand how your workers will use their tablets on the job. Identify the use-case scenarios you’ll need to accommodate by profiling the employees through web-based surveys.

    By understanding the range of issues you’ll have to deal with – workers’ expectations about access to corporate resources, potential security vulnerabilities, expectations for ongoing and remedial IT support – you can align your support resources and solutions to be proactive. At the same time, leverage collaborative methods, such as knowledge bases, that today’s information worker is accustomed to using.

  2. Invest in a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution. Implement a plan within your IT asset management lifecycle to account for mobile devices from request to replenishment, and for ancillary items such as phone and data plans. This will give you not just a view of the costs, but also a method of providing support, froremote diagnostics to proactive performance management. These solutions also put you firmly on the path to implementing end-to-end security for data, device, enterprise applications and the network.

  3. Align your company’s end-user support to workers’ needs. IT support services in the mobile environment are all about the quality of the end user’s experience – easily and securely accessing resources and staying productive 24/7. It helps to anchor your support scheme in end-user experience monitoring and use software tools to gather information about how workers employ their tablets. Use this information to empower the workers to provision their tablets as necessary and to predict and prevent service events that could impact their productivity. Lastly, it’s prudent to make sure that you’re providing a panoply of channels – chat, e-mail and the web, in addition to traditional phone-based help desk.

  4. Pilot programs. Well planned and designed, time-bound pilot programs are great for gauging the potential effectiveness of a proposed tablet-management initiative. You can use them to make adjustments before extending the program to the entire population.

    Above all, successfully managing tablets in the enterprise requires an attitudinal change on IT’s part. Traditional, top-down methods won’t work to control a user-driven movement. Ultimately, the employees’ zeal for flexible access to productivity tools and the corporate resources they need to do their jobs will be the prime factor in shaping IT policies. User needs must be the framework for any stable, forward-looking management strategy for tablets.

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