Tablets, Laptops, and 2-in-1s, Oh My! Which Combination of Devices Has the Lowest Total Cost of Ownership?

"No one wants to be the guy who says 'no' all the time. That perception turns IT from being an advocate into a barrier, and that's a bad thing." – Todd Knapp

The consumerization of IT has significantly impacted employee expectations, which in turn, have impacted employees’ perception of IT. When employees ask for a tablet to accompany their work PC, they’re asking for flexibility, mobility, and options – they want to transfer their positive consumer tablet experience to a positive work tablet experience. However, from IT’s perspective multiple employee devices means more to support, more to secure, and as many IT professionals suspect – more cost.

How can IT strike a balance between empowering employees with the mobile tools they want, and satisfying business needs and bottom-line responsibilities?

Principled Technologies recently calculated the total cost of ownership for 2-in-1 devices vs dual ownership of tablet and laptop, and the surprising result is that IT might be able to make everyone happy!

- IT Peer Network Administrator

Savings for an organization with one device instead of two


Principled Technologies analyzed three-year costs and value for an organization that is considering purchasing two devices for each staff member—a laptop and either an iPad or an Android tablet—both of which the organization will manage, secure, and support.

By replacing the two planned devices—a sub-$1,000 laptop plus consumer iPad or Android tablet—with a 2 in 1 vPro Ultrabook, the organization saves in the following key ways:

  • Hardware costs and hardware support plans can be lower for one device instead of two.
  • IT department manages and secures one device instead of two.
  • Intel vPro processor provides high level of manageability and security and adds to cost savings compared to a less-capable laptop.
  • No software purchases for the separate tablet are necessary.
  • Longer lifecycle of laptops vs. tablets saves on replacement costs of tablet.
  • The organization avoids costs for tablet accessories and peripherals. (Note: These costs were not included in the TCO analysis.)


If your organization runs a BYOD program, you might be wondering if these savings are consistent when IT is supporting, rather than supplying, devices. We’ll cover the TCO of BYOD devices in the next installment of this blog!

Until then, discover how a large pharmaceutical company is simplifying through device consolidation.

In the comments, or on Twitter, tell us: in your organization, is IT seen as a business-enabler? Or do you feel that IT has a reputation as a gatekeeper? How are you addressing this reputation?

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