How will you manage tablet fever?

How will you manage tablet fever?

Summary: A whopping 82 percent of companies expect to support tablets for employees - welcome to the anytime, anywhere information workplace, writes Simon Yates.


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.

Topics: Consumerization, Apple, Mobility, Tablets

Phil LeClare

About Phil LeClare

Forrester Research analysts provides best practices and analysis of burning issues and trends impacting Information & Knowledge Management and Infrastructure & Operations professionals.

J.P. Gownder, James Staten, Dave Bartoletti, TJ Keitt and others contribute to this blog.

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  • Remember...

    the Rest Day to keep it :-X

    No thanks.
  • I'm sure it'll be a combination that follows current trends.

    I think going forward BYOD (not to be confused with BSOD) take up rates are going to steadily increase, however whilst BYOD has rocketed in the last 5 years, whether a company chooses to provide hardware? In the short term I don't expect much movement on this front.

    Going forward it's harder to predict; we are already seeing a marked rise in full iCore tablet orders ahead of windows 8, and I have definitely seen a lot more windows 7 slate pc's around over the last few years. I think Windows 8 is going to provide something of a tipping point; ultimately lowering prices being the outcome. What this will mean for the business? Well expect to see a lot more full windows tablets. Full OS tablets such as Windows, maybe even Mac OS going forward create much less of a headache for IT teams as they can apy the usual rules: the choices are - you may bring it, but must adhear to X conditions, you may of course use your own device, or nope, here's a tablet we've secured for you.

    These full OS tablets have a lot of advantages for both the user and the business, but as I alluded to also are much simpler for the IT guys because they are no different to laptops in terms of software and connectivity.

    It's much harder to predict ios and android over the next 5 years. The reason for this is the massive leaps in hardware; looking at Samsung's galaxy 10.1n and even it's hybrid; the Note 2, these machines are already capable of running OS and software much more advanced than what is being asked of them. I'm often asked if Adobe make an app for whichever software title. Truth is at these expansion rates, it's not going to be ling before it's physically possible to run the desktop version on affordable tablets in these price ranges. It's all going to come down to how these kind of software titles adapt to the change in user interface. If anything I'd say it's the software developers who are going to have a harder time of it as more and more business users demand not only touch enabled interfaces, but touch designed ones.

    For the last 30 years most software updates just tweak the user interface of it's predecessor - touch PC's are going to need a whole new approach.
  • Simple...

    ...more cowbell.
  • How will you manage tablet fever?

    Block it before its inception. Ask them why they need a tablet then why they need to use that tablet to access company resources.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Solutions

      Tablets are superior for reading and simple input on the move. If you read a lot in your work, a tablet makes sense. It is not uncommon to read hundreds of pages and make comments and highlighs. In science, politics, law etc, reading can be your main work.

      There is several different solutions out there for using iPads. In hospitals for example you can use cryptation in combination with central data storage. Only minimum amount of sensitive data is stored at a given time on the iPad. Data on the iPad is unaccessible for other apps and can be remotely wiped.
  • Using the iPad For Business

    “We bought iPads but we’re not sure what to use them for.” It’s a common refrain – one we at StoryDesk are hearing from companies where the decision to adopt tablets was made without giving much thought as to how they’d be used.

    This is why it is imperative to take the time to plan exhaustively for an enterprise-wide iPad deployment, keeping the follow considerations in mind:

    - BYOD vs Provisioning

    - Identifying SPECIFIC use cases for the iPad within the organization

    - Providing employees sufficient training

    - Create a framework for measuring success (metrics).

    - Tablet Security, etc.

    Moreover, we suggest that organizations commission a task force/committee to articulate the goals, objectives and actions that must take place to ensure a successful enterprise iPad deployment.

    For more insight, visit