Deloitte: Smartphones, tablets will begin replacing enterprise PCs in 2011
Substantial mobile penetration into enterprise technology spending tops Deloitte Consulting's recent list of Top Technology Trends for 2011.
The firm forecasts smartphones, tablets and non-PC netbooks will account for more than 50 percent of all enterprise computing device sales this year. This trend is more permanent than other mobile spending behavior in the past few years, according to the report, because smartphones and tablets are more than just less expensive than brand new desktop PCs – they are becoming equally useful.
Deloitte's report compares the new trends to those involving netbook purchases in 2009, in which businesses affected by the economic recession settled for less powerful netbook computers because they were less expensive. Now, smartphones and tablets are more evolved and have adopted technology, such as processing chips and operating systems, that are comparable to enterprise PCs.
"The last year has seen the market explode with a number of powerful alternatives to the traditional PC, and they are well-suited for an already mobile and always-connected U.S. population," said Eric Openshaw, vice chairman and technology sector leader at Deloitte.
Also, Openshaw believes recent consumerization IT trends will further develop in 2011 as security and technological improvements in mobile technology make smartphones and tablets just as reliable for businesses as they have become for consumers.
"Driven by high demand on the consumer side and the ever-increasingly distributed workforce, the enterprise will embrace mobile computing platforms in a big way," Openshaw said. "Online privacy is no longer a major barrier to adoption as companies proactively manage security policies to ensure the corporation is safely Web-enabled around the clock regardless of location or device."
Specifically, the emergence of tablets in 2010 introduced an entirely new dynamic for enterprise mobility management, according to the report. Since Apple released the iPad in April, businesses have consistently found new areas in which they can benefit from using a tablet. This year, the technology will become even more common, as Deloitte predicts businesses will account for more than 25 percent of all tablet purchases.
This number will only increase, according to the report, as more businesses realize that tablets are "more than just a toy," meaning IT decision-makers realize that tablets are equally suited for enterprise functions as they are for multimedia and entertainment. Because of this, Deloitte predicts tablet demand in the enterprise will eventually outweigh that among consumers.
Along with increased adoption and investment in mobile technologies, more businesses are likely to deploy mobile management solutions to control corporate wireless spend. According to a recent Computerworld report, businesses should adopt an enterprise mobility management solution before deploying new mobile technology.