Considerations for supporting tablets
There seems to be no end in sight for the growing popularity of tablets. Devices from Motorola, Samsung, Cisco and Research In Motion have all joined the modern market dominated by Apple and are constantly showing up in offices across the globe.
The chances are high that many companies are currently debating whether or not to support the devices within their current mobile strategies. However, this is becoming less of a choice and more of a necessity, as mobile employees are clamoring for companies to supply them with the latest technology.
"What the iPhone started to show us – and the iPad is absolutely making clear – is that these devices are coming in whether you like it or not," Leslie Fiering, research vice president at Gartner, recently told Computerworld. "That means that IT has its work cut out for them."
For many companies, the fear is that supporting a wide range of devices, whether it be smartphones, tablets or a combination of the two, will drive up mobility costs uncontrollably. IT is longing for the days when a company would only support BlackBerry devices, when managing wireless spend was an easy undertaking.
But that's no longer the case. Consumerization has taken hold, and many companies are responding by delivering the devices employees want.
Computerworld highlighted the case of RehabCare, a network of rehabilitation centers headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. CIO Dick Escue was proactive in meeting employee demands when the iPhone debuted in 2007. Now, the company supports 1,000 iPads, 2,000 iPhones and 9,000 iPod Touches and is still able to keep mobility costs in check, according to Escue.
"The smart thing to do is embrace the technologies and leverage the heck out of them," he told Computerworld.
Escue said he plans to stick with the corporate-owned mobile device strategy for the time being. Despite the fact that his department supports a number of devices, wireless expense management is less difficult with corporate-owned devices because the company has more control over the vendors' plans for services used by employees.
Though the tablet market is becoming increasingly crowded, Gartner still believes the iPad will continue to rule for the foreseeable feature. While the introduction of more competing devices will certainly cut into Apple's market share, the research firm still believes the company's device will command 47.1 percent of the market through 2015. This year, the iPad is expected to hold onto 83.9 percent share.