iPads in Business: Are They Worth It? Politicians Say Yes

By | Feb 10, 2012

The idea of iPads in business is not a new concept, but now politicians in the United Kingdom are claiming they are a better option than conventional computers or laptops. In fact, they are so adamant that iPads are a better option that the parliamentary administration committee recommended that iPads be provided to all 650 parliament members. Parliament members could purchase two iPads a year and still not spend as much as they would to buy a single encrypted laptop, according to Tech Republic. While this seems to be a great option for parliament members, how does it correlate to midsize businesses and their IT departments?

If businesses decide to incorporate tablets such as the iPad into their daily workings, IT professionals may never get the dreaded printer technical support call they all dread. The iPad can help an office go paper free, and the less a printer is used, the fewer problems it has. Nothing is more infuriating than unclogging stuck paper in a printer. The reduced use of printers that comes with tablets is ideal--and with reduced use comes reduced expenses.

Of course, IT departments would require training in Apple product troubleshooting and repair. Broken screens are a real concern for IT departments when using tablets. If the IT department uses a secure server to back up each user's iPad so in the event of a broken machine a new one could quickly have all the necessary programs and documents downloaded to it immediately, both IT and end users within the company would find the transition much smoother.

Security is another blaring issue. When using a mobile device for sensitive information, there is always the chance it could fall into the wrong hands. With the temptation to download apps, there is always a chance of downloading an app that leads to a security leak. Strong passwords are a must, and warnings should be provided to users about the risks of using unsecured wireless networks to perform work functions. Many IT departments are already drilling this into the heads of their tech users, but if they issue a mobile device, this reminder will need to continue to go out but even more often.

IT departments will also need to implement training on the tablets if iPads in business becomes more commonplace. While most employees will quickly understand and be able to use the iPad easily, there will be those that just don't get the tablet. Getting these employees up and running on the machine is crucial to the success of a tablet rollout for a midsize business.

While parliament may find that iPads are a great option for business, it is yet to be seen whether IT departments will have the same outlook. Of course, it is likely iPads won't be seen in a large chunk of midsize businesses for quite some time.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

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