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The challenge of Enterprise Mobility

The enterprise workforce is a far cry from what it was five years ago. New improvements in mobile PC hardware offer significant advantages for the mobile workforce. Improvements in battery life, connectivity and portability, have freed end-users from the restrictions around computing that previously bound workers to the office.

With Australian end-users embracing the tablet in both personal and professional capacities, many predicted that the importance of the PC in enterprise would wane. However, after a period of rapid growth, industry leaders in the commercial space now recognize that maximum productivity is still gained and optimised through an Ultrabook class laptop PC, which maintains full performance without compromising on mobility features.

“The mobile workforce still needs access to powerful, flexible and reliable hardware for mission critical applications and day-to-day operations,” said, Adam Lee, Commercial Product Manager for Asus Australia.

“The ongoing feedback we are receiving from enterprise customers is that whilst tablets are great complementary devices, they are unable to replicate the productivity mobile users require. In addition, selecting the correct operating system such as Windows 8.1 Pro is important to ensure maximum security and functionality.”

Forrester research suggests that mobile customer experiences will fuel digital transformation in the Asia-Pacific region (Forrester, November 2014). This will certainly change the way organisations interact with customers, but will have less impact on collaboration and work practices within an organisation.

A Gartner report titled: Recommended configurations for enterprise notebooks, 2014, suggests that there are two main types of workers that require powerful portable devices, the day extender and the travelling worker.

Gartner states: “day extenders travel infrequently and spend most of their working time in the office or on the office campus. They usually prefer a larger display (14.1-inch or 15.6-inch screens) and, for demanding users, high-end specifications and richness of features are priorities.”

The travelling worker, according to Gartner, requires a far more lightweight solution and is willing to trade size and some aspects of functionality for portability. These workers are still not able to get all the functionality they need from a tablet. What these workers require, according to the report is an ultrabook with enough power to perform demanding tasks, and portable enough to meet lifestyle needs.

A Gartner report titled: Recommended configurations for enterprise notebooks, 2014, suggests that there are two main types of workers that require powerful portable devices, the day extender and the travelling worker.

Gartner states: “day extenders travel infrequently and spend most of their working time in the office or on the office campus. They usually prefer a larger display (14.1-inch or 15.6-inch screens) and, for demanding users, high-end specifications and richness of features are priorities.”

The travelling worker, according to Gartner, requires a far more lightweight solution and is willing to trade size and some aspects of functionality for portability. These workers are still not able to get all the functionality they need from a tablet. What these workers require, according to the report is an ultrabook with enough power to perform demanding tasks, and portable enough to meet lifestyle needs.

The clamshell is still the most cost-effective device for traditional enterprise mobile and office workers.

GARTNER

What Mobile Enterprise Workers Need

Mobile enterprise workers need a device that they can work comfortably on while having the portability and flexibility to meet their demanding needs. This is still the exclusive domain of the ultrabook PC. Tablets are a great tool for many tasks, but they can still be awkward to use compared to ultrabooks.

King Creative managing director, Kebrasca Ratima said “The nature of our industry ensures our team are constantly on the road, and the ability to be fully productive at all times is crucial. Taking a lightweight laptop when travelling for business gives us the versatility to work at full capacity virtually anywhere.”

One practical hardware feature of a well-built commercial-grade notebook is a lie-flat screen – an invaluable feature for presenting and sharing information to clients or colleagues. A lie-flat screen allows mobile workers to clearly and easily demonstrate with visual examples and supporting documentation. End-users also need to be able to run a myriad of different applications on the one platform, something that many tablets are simply not capable of at this point due to limited processing power. Only a device with enough capability to run enterprise-grade applications can fulfil this need.

The other big concern not only for end-users, but for IT departments, is security and device management. While there has been leaps and bounds in tablet security, most companies still struggle with implementing a successful mobile device management policy. In contrast, the security options available for PCs ensure a high level of security. Fingerprint scanners are just one example of how users and IT departments alike can gain peace of mind knowing that sensitive information remains secure in the hands of the mobile workforce.

The big advantage that the Ultrabook has over tablets is its ability to run an operating system that integrates seamlessly into an existing IT infrastructure. Such software is far easier to manage and requires little extra effort on the part of IT departments.

Storage is often overlooked as a concern for mobile workers. The increasing use of Cloud deployments has left some IT buyers with the opinion that workers need less local storage options than they once did. This is true, but again, slightly misleading.

Cloud storage cannot as yet match the speed of local storage needs. This is mainly due to its dependency on internet connections. Data stored on the Cloud is only as good as the connection it is accessed through. Local storage on the other hand is not limited by location or internet connection. Workers who fly frequently will be happier with an ultrabook than a tablet no matter how powerful.

Durability is another factor to consider. While light and portable, most tablets are not durable enough to withstand the rigors of travel and working in different environments. Some of the new generation of ultrabooks are built with these requirements in mind.

All these factors contribute to making most of the tablet market unsuitable for mobile enterprise workers. Instead IT buyers should look to the new crop of notebooks and ultrabooks to fulfil the needs of their mobile enterprise workforce.

Priorities for enterprise buyers

The notebook and ultrabook will remain an integral part of mobile deployments for enterprise with over 50 per cent of purchasing in 2015-16 focussed on traditional ‘clamshell’ devices.

WINDOWS is still a WIN

It’s difficult for other Operating Systems to match the power and functionality of Windows 8.1 Pro for enterprise end-users.

Ultrabooks are far more suited to such a task as they generally come with far more processing power and functionality. Windows 8.1 Pro can run whatever business application required by an organisation. This means workers will have all the durability, ports and connectivity you need for almost any task.

IT departments face many challenges in the age of bring your own device (BYOD). Dealing with smartphone use for work is challenging enough. For enterprise customers already implementing Windows, matching a different operating system to existing IT infrastructure can put undue pressure on IT managers. A system that mirrors, or at least relates to existing IT infrastructure, enables faster and more seamless integration.

“Windows 8.1 Pro offers several advantages for business. End-users can work outside the office with protected access to company data and apps, with new features like the auto-triggered VPN and Work Folders. Personal devices can be quickly and easily authenticated for use on the company network, which keeps IT departments happy,” said Lee.

What have we learned?

The key outcome from this discussion is that while tablets offer several advantages to the workforce as a companion device, optimum productivity is best gained through an Ultrabook class of laptop.

Products like the AsusPRO BU201 are specially built to meet the mobility needs of enterprise customers. The BU201 offers a balance of portability, power and connectivity, making it suitable for almost any working environment.

“We introduced the AsusPro BU201with the mobile enterprise end-user in mind. Pairing up to Core i7 processors with Windows 8.1 Pro ensures the BU201 delivers high performance and manageability of professional software and multitasking applications. We’ve also ensured connectivity is at an optimum, with a docking station solution and 4G capability,” said Lee.

“To ensure reliability and durability in any business environment without comprimisung on mobility, the ASUSPRO BU201 is built with a tough carbon-fiber LCD cover that combines outstanding strength with light weight, and the hard disk drive has an anti-shock mechanism that helps protect it from everyday bumpsand knocks.”

The AsusPro BU201 will launch in the Australian market December 2014. For enquiries please contact Timothy Lin, ASUS Commercial Sales Manager on 02 9815 6600.