More Than Half of Companies Lack Clear Tablet Strategy

Ann All
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Creating a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) Program

12 steps to follow when creating a BYOT program.

As 2010 drew to a close I wrote about a Changewave survey that found a rapidly growing corporate interest in tablets - especially in Apple's iPad. Fast forward a few months and another survey, this one from Dimensional Research, features strikingly similar results. As CNET's Stephen Shankland writes, 22 percent of the 448 companies surveyed have already deployed tablets.


Another 22 percent plan to roll them out later this year and 24 percent intend to do so in 2012. Just 20 percent said they had no tablet plans.


Why are they deploying them? That's less clear. Fifty-one percent of respondents do not have a clearly articulated strategy for tablets. (Yikes!) This is probably less worrisome than it sounds. Many of the companies I've spoken with seem to discover multiple use cases they hadn't imagined for tablets when they begin putting them into users' hands. And new applications continue to emerge all the time.


Echoing the Changewave survey, which found Apple's iPad was the tablet of choice for the 82 percent of companies that had deployed tablets and 78 percent of companies that planned to adopt tablets in 2011's Q1, 83 percent of companies in the Dimensional Research survey intend to go with iPads. That's a huge lead on RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook, mentioned by 17 percent of respondents, HP's Slate (14 percent), Motorola's Xoom (13 percent) and Dell's Streak (11 percent).


(Yes, these numbers add up to more than 100 percent. I assume at least some companies plan to purchase tablets from more than one vendor.)


In what seems to be an affirmation that the BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) trend is not hype, 41 percent of respondents said individual employees were using tablets they had purchased themselves. Sixteen percent of respondents said small teams are piloting tablets. Fourteen percent have deployed tablets to specific groups and 1 percent provide tablets for every employee. Twenty-eight percent said they didn't have any tablets.


Writing on his blog, Gartner's Jack Santos reveals that tablets were popular among CIOs at a recent conference, just edging out laptops and smartphones among the devices he saw being used by attendees. His observations mesh with what I saw at the Midmarket CIO Forum I attended last month, where it seemed like every other CIO had an iPad. Santos predicts the numbers will change dramatically by next year's event, when he thinks tablets will be twice as popular as smartphones and six times more popular than laptops.


Some other interesting (and worrisome) points from the Dimensional Research survey:

  • 82 percent say tablets will complement, rather than replace, laptops. This result diverges from the Changewave survey, in which 38 percent of respondents planned to use tablets as laptop replacements, up from 25 percent from an earlier survey. While laptop replacement was only the sixth most popular business function for tablets (behind Internet access, checking email, working away from the office, sales support and customer presentations), it saw the biggest percentage increase from Changewave's prior survey.
  • 42 percent of IT personnel said business stakeholders do not understand the need for additional development. This statement reminded me of one of the cautionary tablet tales I wrote about earlier this year, in which an executive bought iPads for a sales team and then found the in-house CRM application did not work with the device, necessitating the development of a new one-page front end specifically for the iPad.

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