Enterprise Applications for Tablets


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While tablets like the iPad started as consumer devices, businesses are not just finding them useful, but often positively disruptive.


Much has been written about consumerization of technology — the trend where consumers drive the adoption of technology within the enterprise, sometimes actively opposing the IT department. Tablets are the prime example of this. As more and more consumers buy and use them, they begin to bring them to the workplace and use them for their jobs. Salespeople are starting to take them to clients. Marketers start designing campaigns around them. And vendors take notice. Many enterprise vendors have begun to offer tablet versions of their software. Brand names like SAP, Oracle, salesforce.com and MicroStrategy are just a sampling of the vendors now openly offering iPad versions of their solutions.

So, are tablets ready for application leaders to consider a target platform? Should sales retool its processes to facilitate their use? Should clients evaluate vendor offerings when considering what IT solutions meet their needs? These issues are what this special research collection is all about.

In the second part of Gartner's special research collection on tablets, we look at the impact iPads and other tablets are having on various processes in the organization, such as sales and marketing. In addition, we look at the move by some vendors to offer enterprise applications to run on these tablets.

Understanding How User Behaviors Change

One of the most intriguing aspects of the tablet phenomenon is the way it is driving new user behaviors. Tablets do not merely present a new form factor for users, but they also create new opportunities to engage them. Tablets are not used in the same way as traditional PCs, and they are not replacing other devices, such as smartphones. Instead, they are extending computing capabilities into new locations that were not practical before, and along the way are extending the amount of time users spend in any computing environment. Given that user attention is a scarce commodity, businesses can capitalize on the additional time the tablet screen can offer.

Analyses of early adopters of iPads in business show a real shift in usage patterns. For example, a large sales force that deployed iPads discovered that people were spending 20% more computing time total per day when they used a tablet, a smartphone and a laptop than if they were using a smartphone and laptop alone. Laptops were relegated to less-frequent (but longer) sessions, and users were reaching for tablets frequently throughout the day (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. How Computing Behavior Changes
Research image courtesy of Gartner, Inc.

Source: Gartner (June 2011)

In this special research collection, we examine the resulting opportunities for new applications:

© 2011 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartners research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

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