You may have heard that tech giants Apple and IBM have decided to team up to develop more than 100 business applications that will be compatible with the iOS operating system. As stated on USA Today, the companies released a joint statement, saying their purpose is to “redefine the way work will get done, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change.”
Tablets have become a mainstream mobile device, used by both consumers and professionals. However, its use within business environments is disjointed and cannot yet be considered fully integrated with business operations. For some things, yes, tablets are incredibly valuable; but, for others, things tend to go less than smoothly – just ask your IT team. So, when deciding if an investment in tablets for your business is worth it, weigh the pros and cons. Here are some of the most important, to get you started.
Pros of Using Tablets for Business
Mobility is the first and most obvious advantage tablets provide to professionals – especially for those that work remotely. It’s lighter and easier to transport than a laptop, and requires fewer and smaller cables for connection and power. On the other hand, it is larger and more user-friendly, for business purposes, than a mobile phone.
While providing these advantages, it also provides functions commonly needed on the go – note taking, internet connection capability, presentations, document viewing and sharing, and more.
The large screen is a major benefit for communication purposes. Tablets allow professionals to host face-to-face meetings from anywhere. Plus, many of today’s conferencing solutions are designed for mobile use. Most hardware- and web-based conferencing systems have an application that can be downloaded onto mobile devices, so remote employees can call-in from anywhere and experience the full-effects of the meeting, including discussion, presentation viewing and face-to-face interactions with all parties.
Cons of Using Tablets for Business
Although many conferencing solutions are including design for mobile devices, many business applications are not, or are not moving as quickly down this road. And, many that do have mobile-apps available are limited in functionality.
Laptops and desktop computers remain dominant in terms of most business application use and functionality.
Tablets, and the whole BYOD (bring your own device) environment, have opened up a new can of worms for business’ IT departments. These mobile devices require a change in IT security strategy. There are steps that need to be taken to protect company data that lives on these devices and fill security holes left in applications that run on tablets and other mobile devices. From software vulnerabilities, stolen hardware, hackers, biometric security and more, mobile devices present a new challenge to IT departments and overall business security.
And, finally, from a financial standpoint, tablets are an additional investment. Unfortunately they currently can’t logistically replace laptops, desktops or mobile phones – they merely supplement their capabilities. While “con” may be a strong word for this added investment, the point here is that cost savings may not be an advantage of this business technology.
However, it is important to point out that the mobility that this device offers can eventually result in cost savings, if you consider the additional time added into an employee’s day.
Weighing the pros and cons of using tablets for business will help determine if the purpose served is worth the investment. As can be seen from the Apple-IBM partnership, the landscape will continue to develop and change – in fact, this conversation could be entirely different in 6 months. I want to leave by saying that I do believe the future is bright for mobile technology and tablets aren’t going anywhere anytime soon – and when things change, I’ll be back with the latest information.