Tablets, Tablets Everywhere: Enterprise Adoption and Applications

Slalom Consultant Jeff Barber

Jeff Barber is a Seattle-based leader in Slalom Consulting’s mobility solutions practice. He's a mobile technology expert with deep experience helping clients “operationalize” mobile technologies.

Recently published statistics indicate that tablet adoption is taking off. Here are a few examples.

The Consumerization of IT

These statistics reflect a growing trend known as the consumerization of IT. According to ComputerWorld, “Gartner estimates that 69.8 million media tablets will be shipped in 2011, and analysts and forward-thinking tech managers say it’s time for IT to do more than simply take note of that surge.”

This trend has been challenging companies to embrace their employees’ rapid adoption of new mobile device technologies as smartphones and tablets have proliferated in the marketplace..

Finding secure ways to integrate tablets with enterprise applications and information is both a challenge and an opportunity. How do you publish line of business applications that consume and display sensitive information such as

  • customer or employee data covered under a privacy policy,
  • confidential corporate financial data, and
  • intellectual property and trade secrets?

I would argue this is not feasible yet with employee-owned consumer iPad devices. In this respect future versions of Android should give Google an early edge in the built-for-the-Enterprise tablet application category due to one key feature: the ability to support multiple user profiles. With business applications running on profiles “owned” by the Enterprise, IT should be able to retain control over such sensitive information, even when it resides on employee-owned devices

Enterprise Adoption of iPads

But it’s not just employees bringing devices from home who are driving tablet adoption. Pioneering enterprises in a variety of industries are purchasing large numbers of iPads for internal applications. Despite the fact that the iPad and iPad 2 are designed to be consumer devices, Apple encourages this growth by providing enterprise support for iOS4 to enable IT departments to control and secure corporate-owned devices.

Android Applications Built for the Enterprise

Android Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich bring to the table enterprise security features that promise to make Android tablets appealing to Enterprises. These features, combined with OEM-provided Enterprise app stores that can be brought in-house may give IT the control of app distribution it needs to maintain corporate compliance and support both employee and company tablets. Another advantage of these app stores is selective access to specialized pre-built apps that interact with popular line-of-business applications.

Earlier adopters are also extending the capabilities of earlier Android OS versions to redefine the tablet’s role in the enterprise. In May, I had the opportunity to participate in developer boot camp co-sponsored by the AT&T Foundry and Cisco. The event showcased the new Cisco Cius tablet, an Android 2.3 device with added Enterprise security features. The Cius integrates with Cisco’s IP telephony, telepresence, and networking solutions to provide a true 21st century device. Developers can access Cisco’s suite of APIs to build simple Android clients that access these network capabilities. Add in an HSPA+ chip to enable access to AT&T’s 4G network in off-campus settings, and the Cius becomes a truly mobile Enterprise multimedia tablet.

Follow Jeff on Twitter: @jbarber_slalom.

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About Jeff Barber
Jeff is a senior Business Analyst and Product / Program Manager, a leader in Slalom Consulting's Mobility Solutions practice with deep experience helping clients “productize” new technologies.

5 Responses to Tablets, Tablets Everywhere: Enterprise Adoption and Applications

  1. Pingback: Weekly News Wrap-up: iPass in the News | Enterprise Mobility iPass Blog: Smarter Connections

  2. Jeff Bilman says:

    You mentioned iPad and Adroid in your post but what do you think of WebOS and RIM tablets. From the buzz and trade press it appears to me they will be interesting footnotes in tablet history. Any thoughts?

  3. Jeff Barber says:

    Good question! HP has caught my attention more than RIM so far; their commitment to WebOS is intriguing. The question is, can these companies establish enough value-added differentiation and sustain consumer and enterprise interest in their app ecosystems to a make a long-term product evolution profitable?

  4. Pingback: Are Tablet Devices Perfect For Business

  5. Pingback: Weekly News Wrap-up: iPass in the News | iPass

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