The corporate workplace has become a mixed device environment mainly driven by user demand for newer devices with improved user interface, speed and cool factor. In many ways IT is no longer able to control the proliferation of what they consider “Non-Standard” devices. To make it more complex, many staff have multiple devices, work devices (Blackberry) and personal devices (iPhone, iPad) they want to use for work purposes. With the increase demand for Apple support in the Corporate workplace, IT is looking for options that are manageable, secure and cost effective. From the user perspective, the perception is “it should be easy” for IT departments to provide multiple devices and deliver user support and trustworthy security.
With more and more organizations moving to a mobile employee model of working, laptops have become problematic. Compared to iPads (Airbooks) laptops are bulky, heavy, take a long time to boot and are not convenient. There are times I want to send email, write something down and by the time my laptop boots I have forgotten what I want to do.
iPads enable instant on and access to applications such as standard productivity (email, word processing, spreadsheet, presentations), corporate applications and social applications. The instant access and light weight are very helpful with mobile workers since the devices can be easily carried while in airports, on planes, in hotels or in your local coffee shop. Other aspects of iPads is the multi-purpose nature of the devices and polished user interface. Specifically, the iPad can be used for corporate applications, games, reader, musical instrument, navigation device – there are many advantages to this platform. For me, the iPad has reduced the number of devices I carry with me.
On the flip side there are manageability and security issues with mobile devices. Such as corporate application support (another platform to write code for), authentication, securing the device and it’s data from theft and providing support for employees through help desk services. Though not the topic of this article, adopting a platform in a large corporation is a complex task and impacts many areas and therefore the adoption process can be a very slow and frustrating for employees.