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Mobility: How to Choose a Business Tablet That’s Right for Employees and IT

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You might be forgiven for thinking tablets in the workplace are more trouble than they’re worth. With concerns over management and security, IT teams often see tablets as an unnecessary evil.

But with B2B tablet sales increasing by 50% year on year, it’s clear that business people find them increasingly useful – and companies that resist them may find themselves falling behind.

Mobile devices: the good, the bad and the BYOD

The biggest barrier to successful tablet adoption in the workplace is the impact of unmanaged BYOD (bring your own device) policies. If Sally in Marketing brings in an iPad, Jon from Sales swears by Android gear, and Jacob in Customer Services is one of those types that insists on running Ubuntu on everything, your IT team suddenly has to manage dozens of device types running a bunch of different – and unfamiliar – operating systems.

And unfamiliar devices are just the tip of iceberg. 51% of people connect to unsecure networks using their smartphone, and 53% of users install and use unsupported software and internet services on their personal devices while at work. It doesn’t take long for IT to be plagued by the kind of security, support and compliance issues that will have them begging to return to the simpler days of MS-DOS.

Choosing the right tablet for your users – and for your IT team

If BYOD is such a bust, then corporate-owned tablets should be the way forward to enabling employee mobility. But then you have to make a decision: what kind of tablet should I supply?

Sadly, none of the leading consumer options are particularly appropriate for business use:

  • Apple iPads pioneered the consumer tablet market, but their closed OS limits their business potential. Basic communication and word processing are probably the most useful features, and they don’t justify the comparatively steep price tag.
  • Android offers a more open operating system. While this brings greater support for niche business applications, it also presents potential security issues. With the ability to root Android devices, and easily sideload any kind of app, you can’t always guarantee you’ll keep your devices safe and supported for long.
  • Windows tablets should be the ideal hybrid of new tech and familiar design. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s new Metro interface is a completely different beast to conventional Windows desktop design, and the mobile Windows suffers from a lack of application support.

These are all fine choices for consumers, but for true business value, it pays to look for devices designed with corporate users in mind.

Windows tablets: the Pro(fessional) version

While Microsoft’s RT mobile interface doesn’t offer the support and familiar professional environment of its desktop cousin, there is a great hybrid available.

Windows 8.1 Pro is a fully featured mobile operating system that combines the best of both worlds. The Metro interface is still the default, offering a touch-screen friendly interface, but x86 architectures are also supported, allowing you to run a range of desktop applications that were previously inaccessible to mobile devices. So you can rest safe in the knowledge that employees will be able to run all mission-critical apps on the go.

The clearest window to success?

Windows 8.1 Pro has yet to break into the tablet mainstream, but HP is leading the way with some great tablets designed with the corporate world in mind.

With support for a variety of external keyboards, docks, note pens and additional batteries, the HP ElitePad range has the power, flexibility and durability needed for a serious day of business, both in the office and on the road.

The HP ElitePad range is also a rare breed that puts businesses first, with built-in, enterprise-level security and productivity apps. While there are other Windows 8.1 Pro tablets to choose from, HP solutions are quick to deploy and manage in a business environment, making them our personal tablet of choice for organisations starting their mobility journey.

Get help with your mobility strategy

But even with enterprise-grade devices, it’s not just a case of handing out tablets and being done with it. You still need to support these devices and manage them effectively. You’d ideally want to invest in a partner who can supply the tablets and accessories you need at the right price, and can work with you to successfully deploy the new devices across your business.

The good news is we can help you with all of this, and much more, including defining a mobility strategy and supplying you with mobile solutions. Start your conversation with DTP today.

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