While tablet adoption at large companies is still in the early stages, according to analysts, applications can be created to help employees successfully integrate these on-the-go devices into their routine business activities.
Ted Schadler, an analyst at Forrester, came up with five tips for implementing these devices in large companies. These tips were enumerated in his October 2010 Forrester survey, “How iPads Enter the Workforce.”
Educating employees on where tablets work and where they don’t. Office doesn’t work on tablets today, so that’s a deal-breaker for many displaced laptop scenarios, Schadler said. He added that the most important application for tablet adoption is the Microsoft Office suite, followed by SharePoint or some sort of collaboration feature.
“The exec team is where it starts, and that’s mostly about content reading. Then it moves to the same people who brought in personal iPhones, people that want to work on the go, and then when real business applications are created (like SharePoint, Microsoft Office), other users will adopt the tablets,” he said.
Prioritizing the applications that get built first. Start with the basic applications needed for every employee, Schadler said. Then, he recommends adding on a layer of dedicated applications, depending on the business.
“We’re in the early days of experimentation,” he said. “Tools like the Citrix Receiver, which puts Windows applications in a virtual desktop and then makes them available for tablets, is one of the interesting implementations. Roambi.com creates interactive analytics reports that can be viewed on a tablet or mobile device as well.”
Dealing with the platform proliferation that threatens to clog the market with choices. Android, Chrome OS, iOS, Symbian, Windows Phone, webOS: Consumers will get confused, Schadler predicted, and so will large companies. He advises that companies begin with Android and iOS, and target browsers with HTML5 capabilities first. Building native applications for tablets now is hard, he said, and that by targeting these HTML5 websites, large companies ensure that information can be accessed on a tablet by consumers and employees alike.
According to Jeffrey Hammond, Forrester analyst, in his “Mobile Development Goes Multiplatform” survey from December 2010, 39% of 136 developers polled said that their strategies include optimized mobile applications, while 61% use native applications.