The Role of Tablets in the Enterprise
Tablets may one day soon take their place alongside PCs and smartphones as standard-issue IT equipment.
So, the new iPad is here, and yes, it's chock-full of whiz-bang technology from Apple. But is it really going to replace the PC in the enterprise? Perhaps it will in some areas, but not entirely.
Even the most breathless headlines about the PC's imminent demise hide a much less glamorous story once you penetrate the details. Infoworld gets it right when it says "iPads are starting to replace business PCs," because the fact is that surveys report only about a third of companies are looking at swapping PCs for iPads entirely, and even then only for certain users.
It makes sense. As a communications and collaborative tool, the tablet rocks. However, as a production device, it is a little unwieldy, particularly for long-form work. I would log on to a group project and make changes with a tablet, but I wouldn't write an article (or a blog post) on one unless I had no other choice.
It's also true that the iPad has so far not captured the imagination of IT the way it has with consumers. According to InformationWeek, only 13 percent of recently surveyed business technology professionals were totally jazzed by the device, while 61 percent saw it as a solid offering that would meet expectations. Less than half, however, report their organizations are officially supporting the iPad.
Still, the iPad seems to be doing better than the rest of the tablet field. Samsung has seen its share of the corporate market drop from 20 percent to 8 percent, according to Changewave, while Amazon's Kindle is holding steady at about 6 percent. And lowly RIM has gotten even more lowly, dropping from 5 percent to 3 percent of planned acquisitions.
At the same time, the iPad has spawned a flood of tools and services designed to more easily fold mobile operations into existing data environments where they would be shared with traditional desktop and laptop infrastructure. One of the latest is cloud storage provider Vaultize, which recently launched iPad, iPhone and iPod apps to its backup, sharing and data sync services. The service allows mobile users to access files regardless of how they were generated, improving collaboration and communication across the entire enterprise population.
The PC will soldier on, but it's not where the action is anymore.