5 Mistakes That CIOs Make When Dealing With Tablet Madness

by drjim on January 23, 2013

CIOs need to be able to see beyond the tablet "cool factor"…

CIOs need to be able to see beyond the tablet “cool factor”…
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I love tablets, I’m sure that you love tablets. What’s not to love about them – they are thin, they go everywhere, and they run the coolest apps. Very soon tablets will become the poster children for the definition of information technology. You can well imagine the pressure that CIOs everywhere are under by the early adopters in their company (CEOs included) to quickly have the IT department support tablets and make tablets a part of how the company does business. As sexy as they are, CIOs need to be careful when agreeing to start to support tablets. It turns out that there are 5 things that CIOs need to know about tablets

Your Plan Is No Plan

The worst thing that a CIO can do is to have no plan when it comes to how the company wants to deal with tablets. Just buying a truck load of tablets and then handing them out to employees is no way to run an IT department. Tablets need to be cared for and supported just like every other IT device in the company. Every CIO in the IT sector is learning this lesson.

As the CIO, you are going to need to get a group of employees to trial using tablets to do their job. There will be many issues that pop up – simple things like policy issues and just exactly who owns the table will be among them! Take the time and come up with answers to these questions before you push tablets out to the rest of the company.

What Should People Do With Tablets?

As neat as tablets are, they currently can’t do everything that a laptop can. This can cause some serious problems for your staff. One of the biggest issues is simply that all applications that will run on a laptop will not necessarily run on a tablet.

Additionally, a tablet’s display is different from that of a laptop or even a desktop PC. This means that information may be displayed differently and, in some cases, information may be lost. Additionally, if a mouse or keyboard is required to do some tasks, they may be more difficult to do on a tablet which does not have either of these.

Where Is The Software?

So now you have a shiny new tablet in your hands. What are you going to do with it? You are going to need to get some software to run on it – “apps” in the vocabulary of tablets. The big question is does the software that you need exist for the type of table that you have?

The Apple store has many apps for the iPad, the Android store has many apps for Android-based tablets. However, nobody seems to have everything that everybody needs. You’re going to have to do some research before you buy and you may even end up having to write your own app for any specialized functions that your business performs.

Are You Really Going To Save Any Money?

Tablets cost less than laptops do simply because they do less. However, CIOs need to be very careful to not get fooled by the lower price. You’re going to have to run some numbers in order to determine if by going with tablets you are really going to be saving any money.

One point that you are going to have to consider is replacement costs. Tablets are going to have to be replaced every 18 months or so due to hardware / software upgrades that become available. It’s also very, very easy to break a tablet. When you are replacing a tablet for whatever reason, you are going to need to have some solid policies in place that dictate how you scrub them and then how you dispose of them.

Mobility Is Great Until You Have To Start To Worry About Security

In order for a tablet to be a useful tool for your employees, it must have company data loaded on to it. The extreme mobility that tablets provide means that that company data will be traveling outside of the office and may very easily fall into the wrong hands. You’re going to need to put safeguards into place in order to deal with this eventuality.

One of the other issues that you’re going to have to deal with is if employees download other apps to run on their tablet. You’re going to have to come up with a way to make sure that those 3rd party applications don’t steal your company data while your employees are busy playing the next version of some “Angry Birds” knock-off game!

What All Of This Means For You

Tablets have arrived! All in all, they are probably going to be a good thing in the long run and will end up increasing the importance of information technology. They’ll boost productivity and they’ll help to get more accurate and timelier information into the company’s databases quicker. However, CIOs do need to realize that tablets come with their own special set of issues.

As CIO you are going to have to create a plan for how you want the company to deal with the arrival of tablets. This plan is going to have to have a good understanding of what tasks tablets are good for – and which ones they are not good for. Software issues will need to be dealt with along with cost of ownership issues. Finally, security which has always been an issue will become an even greater issue with tablets.

I don’t think that you could stop tablets from entering into the company even if you wanted to. Instead, I’m going to suggest that you understand the challenges that you are going to be facing when it comes to tablets and you take the required steps. Doing so will let your company take advantage of what tablets can offer to you while not letting tablets take advantage of you!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you should pick just one type of tablet to support or should you pick multiple types?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve January 23, 2013 at 1:02 pm

#1 – manage the access not the assets. be device agnostic. in a BYOD world simply provide friction-less access.
#2 – understand the ecosystem of a mobile device, because really a smartphone is just a small tablet (or using the new lexicon ‘phablet’) and you will understand what one should ‘do’ with a tablet
#3 – software does not run on tablets. apps are accessed on a tablet. oh, there is always the browser…
#4 – concern oneself with the value proposition not a return on investment
#5 – what needs to be secured? exactly?

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Dr. Jim Anderson February 3, 2013 at 9:57 am

Steve: Great points. You said it better than I could…!

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