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What CIOs need to know about hybrid tablets

Sarah K. White | March 2, 2016
As hybrid devices become more popular with consumers, they're starting to find their place in the enterprise. However, there is a lot to consider before you decide to deploy them company-wide.

Defining ROI for hybrids 

Nate Ulery, senior director of Performance Services at business and technology consulting firm West Monroe Partners, says that a few years ago, hybrid devices were more of a “new toy in IT,” but that organizations “are beginning to partner with the business side to find users with a more meaningful use case and potential return on investment.” Once businesses can define the return on investment and practicality of these devices, it becomes easier to develop budgets and convince business leaders that hybrid devices have a place in the enterprise.

Guggemos predicts that adoption will steadily increase as IT departments start to demonstrate the cost-benefits of hybrid devices -- especially once the enterprise transitions to Windows 10. “At most companies, we’ll see them fill a niche role at first among select populations such as the C-suite or among the salesforce,” he says. “But once there is largescale proliferation to drive both the purchase and replacement costs down, an inverse environment will likely become the norm, where a select population is on desktops because it makes sense for the nature of their work but the majority of the organization is on some type of hybrid device.”

Additional hybrid considerations

Although it might be enticing to transition to the latest hybrid technology, as with any new tech, there are associated risks involved that IT might not consider with traditional notebooks or desktops. Guggemos says that most of the same issues with data, security and privacy associated with traditional notebooks extend to hybrids, but there are specific issues IT departments need to be aware of when switching to hybrids.

He says CIOs will want to first consider the best operating system for their business’ needs. Can employees work on a mobile OS, or do they need Windows 10 or OS X? For instance, if a company has platforms and applications built on Windows, then IT might want to look at deploying the Surface Pro 4 or similar devices. Alternatively, a company that thrives on the Apple ecosystem, might want to look at the iPad Pro. From there, it is easier to determine what device is best to deploy company wide.

Can your organization support these devices?

Next, he says it’s important to reevaluate support systems -- businesses need to consider current technology support systems and what would need to change or improve if hybrid devices entered the mix. For example, if a business has Web or desktop applications, it’s crucial to consider what devices and operating systems will be compatible with vital software and apps.

West Monroe Partners’ Ulery agrees. “We helped two healthcare organizations deploy Microsoft Surface devices, and with both we spent a fair amount of time defining the requirements and implementing software to support the healthcare workers at the hospital so they could efficiently and effectively use the device in tablet mode. In one, creating custom views of the application met the needs and in the other, we developed a custom application to make the best use of the interface.”


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