Small and medium-sized businesses have been some of the biggest adopters of tablets, as evidenced by the increasing number of businesses that have opted for a tablet upgrade. “We are seeing a wide variety of adoption scenarios,” says Leslie Fiering, research vice president for Gartner. Here are some of the ways SMBs have found tablets to be valuable:
1. Notebook Companion
With a tablet PC, executives and sales personnel have immediate access to e-mail, the web, calendars, video clips, company and product documentation, and other information they need during meetings or on the road without the weight or bulk of a regular notebook.
2. Vertical Applications
A tablet PC and a single app can boost productivity among mobile workers who have relied on pen and paper and traditional communication tools. This would include employees who work in quality assurance, healthcare, real estate, manufacturing, supply and logistics, insurance adjustment, and training.
The percentage of business users who say that their tablet has fully or partially replaced their notebook for work-related activities
SOURCE: “The Business of Tablets” (Resolve Market Research, June 2011)
3. At-the-Ready Information
Many companies are using tablets as a way to have technical documentation and other product and company information at their fingertips.
4. Speeding the Sale
An iPad coupled with the free Square application is a handy tool for companies that sell products at trade shows, or even as a replacement for traditional cash registers. Meanwhile, a tablet paired with an electronic signature app can help company officials complete sales negotiations and close deals faster.
5. Out-of-the-Box Thinking
There is no limit to the possibilities tablets offer. For instance, a researcher uses Lenovo tablets to train dolphins; a solar-panel installation company provides iPads as customer-control devices; an insulation installer uses an iPad to calculate square footage and provide on-the-spot quotes; and a dog-training franchise has an iPad at the door so visitors can check themselves in.
For more on businesses and tablet computing, read our story "Tablets Give Mobile Workers an Edge."