It’s safe to say that the early adopters of Apple’s iPad didn’t go out and buy the device because they wanted a new gadget for work. They purchased the iPad because of what they could do in their everyday lives. But it didn’t take long for employees to bring their iPads to the office. If we mark the modern tablet era by Apple’s 2010 iPad launch then an astounding 84 million iPads and as many as 120 million tablets in total have flown off the shelves. Forrester’s global workforce and decision-maker surveys and client conversations show just how fast tablets are being adopted:
- Three-quarters of a billion tablets will be in use by 2016. It took more than 20 years for the PC to reach an installed base of 750 million people. But tablets will surpass that mark in less than half the time. Global tablet sales will top 375 million in 2016 with about one-third of tablets acquired by businesses for employees. Back in 2007, we wrote that to reach the second billion users, the computer market would be driven by lower cost hardware, useful applications, and easy access to the Internet from anywhere. Tablets fit that bill to a tee.
- Some 82% of firms expect to support tablets for employees. Companies are getting tablet fever as 82% of firms report interest in using tablets. According to these IT decision makers, tablets will come into the enterprise via several doors, including employees bringing their own: Our latest survey of global information workers shows that 12% use tablets and 8% paid for it themselves. And more than half of the 1,004 firms we surveyed plan to increase their spending on mobile devices and apps by at least 10% next year.
- Tablets will accelerate the rise of the anytime, anywhere information worker. Today, 15% of information workers use at least three connected devices for work, work from at least three different locations, and use at least seven apps for work. And 30% of information workers satisfy at least two of those three criteria. The rise of tablets will drive the number of anytime, anywhere information workers up. Tablets enable access from more locations and bring relevant and useful apps to make employees more productive.
The question is not whether companies and their employees want tablets -- it's clear that the convenience, portability and cost are pretty appealing to everyone when compared to the standard issue corporate laptop -- but how will firms go about introducing them? Will they follow the traditional laptop model of provisioning and managing the device on a predictable refresh cycle or let the Wild West approach of BYOD rule? More than likely it will be a combination of both, but whatever the path, CIOs need to figure this out now.
JP Gownder and I will be hosting a client webinar on this topic later this week and we plan to share some eye-opening data from Forrester's Forrsights and Technology Marketing Navigator data sets, which can help CIOs benchmark their own activities against peers.