Since the release of the Apple iPad just over a year ago, the question of whether or not tablets were suitable for business use and enterprises loomed.
And with PC sales continuing to slide, it appears that the tablet charge, led by the iPad, will break through business walls is a big way.
A new study commissioned by cloud computing and mobility solution provider Model Metrics, and performed by Dimensional Research, revealed that tablets will make a major splash in the enterprise in coming years, but many companies don't have a strategy to leverage them to their fullest value.
According to Chicago-based Model Metrics' research, 78 percent of respondents plan to have tablets officially deployed by the end of 2013, but only 51 percent said they have an actual adoption strategy in place.
Among the types of tablets businesses plan to deploy, the iPad and iOS take the cake, with 83 percent saying they expect to deploy Apple iPads. Google Android tablets ranked second with 34 percent of respondents saying they plan to deploy Android devices. Fourteen percent plan to deploy Windows-based tablets. Breaking it down by brand, Apple retains its 83 percent, followed by the BlackBerry PlayBook at 19 percent; the HP Slate at 14 percent; the Motorola Xoom at 13 percent; and the Dell Streak at 11 percent.
Of the respondents that are planning to deploy Apple iPads, 53 percent said the availability of productivity tools drove their choice, while 35 percent said the "cool factor" influenced the decision. Other factors like performance, the availability of non-business applications and security also fueled the iPad decision, Model Metrics found.
The enterprise applications that are most in demand for iPads and tablets include sales force automation, 47 percent; service desk, 35 percent; expense submissions, 21 percent; ERP, 20 percent; and financials 17 percent. Other enterprise applications driving the tablet revolution include human resources and purchasing, the survey found.
While tablets are expected to increase their presence in the enterprise, the Model Metrics revealed that the market for tablets is still in its infancy. Among the 448 business stake holders and IT professionals surveyed last month, only 22 percent said they have officially deployed tablets. Meanwhile, a total of 72 percent of those queries have iPads or other tablets in use in their enterprise, despite them not having been formally deployed. The survey found that the 41 percent of iPads are used by individuals who have purchased their own. And 49 percent of respondents said the first iPads used in their companies were bought by C-level executives.
The survey also sheds light on the uncertainty surrounding tablets and their business value. Model Metrics found that 42 percent of IT respondents said business stakeholders don't understand the need for additional development to enable applications for iPads and tablets; and a further 32 percent cited issues due to lack of expertise available to perform development tasks.
And while the survey revealed that iPads and tablets will become major business tools, survey participants said they won't replace laptops. According to the research, 82 percent of respondents said tablets will compliment laptops, while 19 percent said tablets will replace laptops.