Tablets in the Enterprise – Exploring Our Views Today vs. a Year Ago

Consumerization of IT and BYOD is shaking the foundation of enterprise IT … employees want to bring their gadgets to work and they want IT to support them.  IT can’t (and shouldn’t) say “No to Any” or “Yes to All”.  

A year ago, a "Tablets At Work" site published this blog about “5 reasons why consumer tablets are bad for business” highlighting the reasons below why consumer tablets should not be adopted in then enterprise.

  • Reason 1: They’re high on frivolity, low on functionality.
  • Reason 2: Thieves like them.
  • Reason 3: They drive IT crazy(er).
  • Reason 4: Have you tried customizing thousands of them?
  • Reason 5: Their wimpy work ethic.

As I read through this list this morning and scanned the numerous comments, I began to wonder how we feel today about the 5 reasons Tablets-At-Work proposed. To kick start the conversation, I'll share my own thoughts.


A year ago, there really were no (or very few) viable offerings as a business-class tablet so the only option and question for IT and businesses was - should we support consumer tablets or not.  But the tablet world is changing as should the conversation - as our options expand.  As Windows 8 gets set to release, I’m seeing a tremendous amount of choice emerge around business-class tablets (my team is working on a new website from Intel to summarize these offerings). I do believe both consumer and business tablets are a critical tool for business and play an important role in boosting business productivity (point 1, 5). Their function has to meet a business need for IT to support (point 3, 4) … but the level of access they get should be managed based on the device capability (point 2 and 3).

Intel IT enables a variety of devices (both personal and employer provided devices as PC companions) but restricts access to data and business services based on the security and manageability capabilities of the device – Paper: Improving security and mobility for personally owned devices.   Consumer tablets are allowed BYO (as they boost employee productivity by access to standard business apps like email, calendar, etc), but they only get limited access to corporate information and business data .. just like smartphones – another consumer focused device that is good for enterprise as a companion device. Inside Intel, consumer tablets have had a little penetration - a couple thousand within our ~100K employee base (compared to nearly20,000 BYO phones)

However, Intel IT has started to evaluate business-class tablets for specific business task functions. A good example of this was Intel IT’s recent evaluation of the use of tablets inside Intel’s factory environment (paper: Improving Facility Operations with Intel architecture-based tabletsIn this use-case, Intel IT looked at tablets as a replacement device for the clipboard. Instead of just adopting the most popular consumer device, Intel IT opted for a managed device due to IP concerns with allowing cameras and other sensitive information onto a consumer device.

In the past year, has your businesschanged the way it evaluates tablets usage in the enterprise, and with another year under your belt, how do you feel about consumer tablets inside your business?

Chris (@chris_p_intel)