The Need for Enterprise-class Tablets

Wayne Rash
Even before the CeBIT show opened this year, members of the press were given a preview of a new enterprise-class tablet PC from Fujitsu. The Stylistic Q550 is designed to meet the security and operational needs of use in an enterprise environment, while also meeting compliance requirements, and at the same time being easy to use and offering the usual tablet features. The device, when it ships at the end of April, will be a boon to the IT department. In addition, it will have the possibly useful benefit of keeping the CEO out of jail by avoiding compliance violations.

But the Fujitsu is not the only corporate-focused tablet on the market. When the Apple iPad 2 arrives today, it will face a world in which a number of other companies are meeting enterprise needs better than Apple has, or is likely to. While it's true that many of those enterprise requirements can be met by perusing Apple's App Store, not everything found there can meet enterprise security or compliance requirements. Plus, there are a number of functions that Apple doesn't offer but others do. This means that when employees want a tablet, they have choices that will work for the corporation without using a crowbar to cram it into place.

Moving beyond the security features of the Fujitsu Q550, there are other tablets aimed at the corporate world. For example, Asus is offering a 12-inch tablet that's slim, sleek and no heavier than the iPad. But this tablet runs Windows 7 Professional and it does it so seamlessly that there's no indication that it wasn't designed for a tablet in the first place. This Eee Slate EP121 also features multiple means of use, including a traditional touchscreen, an optional keyboard, and a Wacom digitizer pen and compatible screen for accuracy and precision far beyond what any touchscreen interface can provide.

In fact, a surprising number of large tablet devices powered by Windows 7 are appearing at CeBIT. These devices are aimed at corporate buyers for a couple of simple reasons. The first is that these tablets have enough memory to support nearly any Windows application. This means, for example, that you can use your Bluetooth keyboard with Microsoft Word on your tablet-something the iPad simply can't do. The results of these corporate-oriented tablets can ultimately improve ROI simply by reducing the training time required for employees and by being able to use your site license for major productivity software.

Because these new tablets have the same general capabilities that the iPad has in terms of playing music, watching videos and hosting e-readers, nobody will be giving up a lot.

So when Apple releases the new iPad, it will find that it has stiff competition in the enterprise. For many managers, it will mean that it's finally possible to use a tablet. For others, it will mean that they can now use their tablet for work that, in the past, couldn't be done there. While the existence of these enterprise-ready tablets won't have much effect on Apple's bottom line, they'll make a big difference to the companies that take compliance, security and functionality seriously. Apple may have started the tablet trend, but for the enterprise, some of the 39 tablet makers here at CeBIT may be providing a better solution.
 



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Mar 15, 2011 8:03 PM BobB BobB  says:
Sorry Wayne but this is exactly the same kind of old school thinking that shows the writer doesn't really understand the issues (and I am very old school, 30+ years in IT, multiple stints as CIO and as a principal in consulting groups). It seems to assume that the point of a tablet is light weight and a touchscreen and that suitability for corporate use centers on security (which is certainly not to be taken lightly).Reminds me of our work in 2009 with a Fortune 100 company's global IT staff. The Architecture group had said no to iPhones. Then suddenly SBU Presidents, in our interviews with them, were saying we're using these iPhones and IT has to figure out how fit them into the architecture - we're not carrying around two devices, one for personal use and one for corporate. Magically, within a few months, iPhones fit into corporate architecture.Like it or not, buzz phrase or not, there is a "consumerization" of corporate IT that is going on. Users, from the executive suite on down, are making demands, and increasingly vocal demands, regarding all of their devices, particularly the mobile ones. You have to be alive to the differences between the tablets mentioned above (basically lightweight PC's with a touchscreen, at laptop price points) and an iPad or comparable Android device. I'm not sure that many people would even consider them competitive devices.And you also have to understand the ecosystem that the devices are part of and the usefulness of that system to the users and to IT.Articles like this one, that are openly dismissive of iPad and iPad-like devices for corporate use, are deaf to these issues and differences. Those of us with actual day jobs in IT can't afford to be. Reply
Mar 15, 2011 8:03 PM BobB BobB  says:
Sorry Wayne but this is exactly the same kind of old school thinking that shows the writer doesn't really understand the issues (and I am very old school, 30+ years in IT, multiple stints as CIO and as a principal in consulting groups). It seems to assume that the point of a tablet is light weight and a touchscreen and that suitability for corporate use centers on security (which is certainly not to be taken lightly). The discussion reminds me of our work in 2009 with a Fortune 100 company's global IT staff. The Architecture group had said no to iPhones. Then suddenly SBU Presidents, in our interviews with them, were saying we're using these iPhones and IT has to figure out how fit them into the architecture - we're not carrying around two devices, one for personal use and one for corporate. Magically, within a few months, iPhones fit into corporate architecture. Like it or not, buzz phrase or not, there is a "consumerization" of corporate IT that is going on. Users, from the executive suite on down, are making demands, and increasingly vocal demands, regarding all of their devices, particularly the mobile ones. You have to be alive to the differences between the tablets mentioned above (basically lightweight PC's with a touchscreen, at laptop price points) and an iPad or comparable Android device. I'm not sure that many people would even consider them competitive devices. And you also have to understand the ecosystem that the devices are part of and the usefulness of that system to the users and to IT. Articles like this one, that are openly dismissive of iPad and iPad-like devices for corporate use, are deaf to these issues and differences. Those of us with actual day jobs in IT can't afford to be. Reply
Sep 19, 2011 4:09 PM comment le reconqu�rir comment le reconqu�rir  says:
Hi there, I found your site by the use of Google at the same time as looking for a similar topic, your site came up, it appears good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks. Reply

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