Navigating the iWorkplace

March 15th, 2011 | Industry News | No Comments »

Mixing Tablets with Business

Any IT-related or tech savvy company wants to stay ahead of the curve, and the latest craze to ride the cutting edge is of course the tablet, particularly the iPad. Many people are wondering if this craze is just that; a craze, a fad, losing momentum as quickly as it gained it. But the numbers don’t lie, and a significant number of companies, large and small, have integrated tablets into their workplace with the goal to keep them there.

The arguments for their pros and cons have gotten people riled up on both sides of the table, but the tablet seems to have a mind and will power of its own, with its sales predicted to surpass those of PCs by the end of 2011.

The lure is clear. The newest tablets are exceedingly portable, versatile, and pretty. Beyond those factors, though, how does the overall functionality of the tablet stand up?
• Every Business. The top two uses of tablets in the workplace are reportedly business correspondence and web-based meetings. Plus, fast access to email, contacts, to-do’s, and more, no matter where in the world you are, is highly advantageous.
• Sharing. If you want to stretch your legs, the tablet is still easy to use. If you quickly want to show a colleague a file or make a short presentation to a client, just hand it over. When it comes to collaboration, the tablet is a pro.
• Other Business Stuff. Beyond your everyday business functions, the tablet starts to gain bad press. When you move onto data entry, creation, or editing, people turn back to their PCs. As for the meat of workplace business, the tablet often won’t cut it.

Besides the fact that tablets generally load faster, thanks to lighter operating systems, and have longer battery life than laptops, the arguments for and against them in terms of productivity are pretty clear cut.
• More. The ease with which you can fly through your email, navigate appointments, and find what you’re looking for on the web can shave minutes and hours off your work day, giving you more precious time for work that matters.
• Less. The range of exciting applications available for tablets is dizzying, and often hugely distracting. Plus, along with quick and easy access to email and basic business functions is the same quick, easy access to games and general entertainment. Not to mention the fact that tablets often drive us into an extreme multi-tasking frenzy, eventually leading to tablet-induced ADD.

Though you can find tablets in many workplaces, it’s a toss up between whether they’re company- or employee-owned. If the device is personal, there are risks mixing valuable company data with personal files. The owner is at his own will with security and privacy features, causing company concern about loss or theft. Additionally, many companies are used to monitoring computer and web usage, but doing so on a personal tablet used at work enters dangerous territory surrounding personal privacy. On the plus side, it’s possible to encrypt or selectively remote-kill information, so many threats could be tabled.

Tablets are growing in popularity and in value for many companies and industries, and it’s doubtful a growing list of cons will see its death in the workplace anytime soon. Though it’s equally doubtful that tablets will ever fully replace PCs, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a more complete integration of them into the workplace over the coming months and years.

What do you think? Has your workplace adopted or dismissed tablets?

Clare Saumell – Marketing Director at Ashley Ellis

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