Customised Apps Are Key To Gaining Value From Tablets In The Enterprise

Business Tablet

Today’s tablets should not be considered as laptop replacements for the majority of information workers. While useful where data presentation and “consumption” is concerned, a tablet’s form factor and touchscreen make using everyday productivity applications such as spreadsheets and word processors difficult.

However, using line-of-business tablet applications specifically designed for particular roles within an organisation can provide real value.

With forecasts showing that there will be in excess of 235 million tablets in circulation by 2016, the topic of “bring/buy your own device” (BYOD) will continue to be debated within business circles. In a new report, many organisations are adopting tablets simply to appease employees’ desires for the latest technology, rather than considering the real business case.

For most companies, it is a top-down movement. The CEO or another C-level executive gets hold of an iPad for their personal use and decides that they want to be able to use it in the office. It is hard for the IT department to say no when it is the CEO making the demand, so this opens up the path to further adoption throughout the organisation.

However, we’re starting to see a more structured and creative approach by CIOs looking to deploy tablets for specific functions, proactively exploiting this form factor rather than just responding to employee requests for device support.

Providing a range of customised applications that make use of tablet functionalities for employees in specific job roles is a good way to gain maximum value from tablets. The growing use of in-house app stores indicates that more and more companies are going down this custom development route.

While some companies may decide that there is no added value in provisioning tablets instead of, or as well as, laptops, they may allow employees to bring their own, in order to improve engagement. In which case, as with any BYOD policy, these personally owned devices still need to be subject to corporate mobility and security policies.

Businesses need to ensure that any tablets being used by employees are as secure as possible, so that vital corporate data is protected. Tablet adoption should be considered as part of a wider enterprise mobility policy – if a company decides to adopt consumer-focused smartphones, it should have the tools in place to manage tablets easily too.

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Richard Absalom is an analyst with the Ovum Consumer IT practice based in London, UK, covering markets across the media and telecoms space including TV, gaming, music, social media, mobile devices, and multi-play services. He has a particular focus on strategies around disruptive consumer innovations. Richard spent two years building the Business Insights Consumer Technology business before joining the newly formed Ovum Consumer IT practice. Business Insights focuses on providing unique strategic insight reports on change and disruption within consumer technology markets. Managing a team of internal analysts and a pool of associate writers with industry experience, Richard has been responsible for all aspects of R&A, managing and guiding each report in order to build a comprehensive and cohesive portfolio. He has also helped to guide the sales and marketing operations in order to grow the product into a successful commercial proposition. Prior to joining Business Insights, Richard was research manager at IT Europa in Uxbridge, UK. Conducting extensive primary research, he focused on creating unique database reports providing in-depth details on all major European IT channels. He has a BA (Joint Hons) in French and history from the University of Nottingham.