Businesses And IT Embrace iPads But Not As PC Or Smartphone Replacements

Businesses And IT Embrace iPads But Not As PC Or Smartphone Replacements

IT embraces the iPad and other tablets, but not as PC or smartphone replacements.

One common assumption about iPads in business is that employees and executives are insisting on using their personal iPads at work or are demanding that the company provide them while CIOs and IT departments are fighting tooth and nail against the iPad. While that assumption certainly makes for good headlines and soundbites, it isn’t actually true – at least according to a new report from cloud and content management firm Alfresco.

In fact, Alfresco’s new report indicates that IT staffers are heavily involved in tablet adoption and may even be the driving force behind it. The report also provided a range of insights as to how iPads and other tablets are being used in the workplace and notes that tablets are offering new opportunities more than they are replacing either smartphones or PCs.

The report was compiled from information provided by Alfresco’s customers across a variety of industries including enterprise IT, government, education, healthcare and finance. Roughly half (56%) the individuals who provided Alfresco with information were IT professionals.

Are users (in IT and other departments) using iPads or other tablets?

  • 90% of respondents reported having used an iPad or tablet
  • Over 75% have used an iPad or tablet for work purposes

How are professionals using iPads and other tablets for work?

  • Web browsing (89%)
  • Email (82%)
  • Real-time communications (VoIP calls, video chats, and instant messaging (less than 40%)
  • Business-related social networking (about 56%)

There are a couple of situations where iPhones and other smartphones are preferred to iPads and other tablet.

  • 57% of respondents still use smartphones (34% use tablets) in casual mobile contexts, such as lunch meetings
  • 51% use a smartphone in coffee shops (43% use tablets)

There are also times when iPads and other tablets are clearly preferred over smartphones.

  • During business meetings 55% use tablets (24% use smartphones)
  • At conferences 59% use tablets (13% use smartphones)

Alfresco draws a couple of interesting conclusions from its research. The first conclusion is that IT is more heavily involved in iPad and tablet adoption than most people think.

Contrary to conventional “consumerization of IT” thinking, IT is both aware and excited about tablets and is actively thinking about the best use cases inside their companies.

The second, perhaps more interesting, conclusion is that professionals aren’t picking iPads and tablets over smartphones or PCs.

The survey clearly shows a 3-screen reality is coming true. Tablets aren’t replacing either smartphones or laptops, but are instead creating a new space in-between. It’s pretty clear that laptops are increasingly tethered to the desk or cube, while tablets are the tool of choice on the go.

Alfresco also notes that iPad/tablet adoption is greater in small businesses than large enterprises.

About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

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