With the rise of mobile technology, many business leaders are asking a similar question about their business IT infrastructure: “Is the PC dead?”
The short answer is no. The business technology landscape is evolving, to be certain, but mobile devices like tablets and smartphones aren’t wholly replacing desktops and laptops in the workplace, particularly among small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
However, mobile devices are taking on new roles in a company’s technology portfolio. Those roles complement older technology like PCs but don’t necessarily supplant the laptop altogether.
The key to maximizing your business IT infrastructure using both traditional and mobile technology is knowing which devices function best in which situations. Here are the top three dynamics you need to know:
When it comes to portability, mobile technology shines brightest. With a tablet or smartphone, you read emails at the airport, find the best place for your business lunch and host a video conference – all while on the move. Functions like these are the number one reason businesses purchase mobile technology for their personnel.
Transportability isn’t a one-size-fits-all metric though. The portability you need for a device while sitting in an airplane and reading reports is different than what you need when presenting in a client’s boardroom, where you may require more specific functionality.
Takeaway: Consider the degree of portability your business needs in its IT infrastructure, whether that’s another tablet for your sales team or a desktop computer for your graphic designer. Match the device to your need, not a trend.
2. Consumption vs. Creation
Different devices are built for different functions. Mobile devices function best for consumption. For example, if you’re on a taxi ride, it’s much easier to skim that quarterly report on your e-reader than on your PC. Touchscreens and brightness controls also make reading content via mobile device more comfortable for your eyes.
On the other hand, laptop and desktop PCs excel at document and project creation, giving you more fine-point control when editing a spreadsheet or adjusting a picture – tasks that are more problematic on a small touchscreen. Your IT management staff also need the more powerful computing and program capabilities of a PC.
Takeaway: Are you using your PCs and tablets for business reading and reviewing, or are you more often creating and editing content? Keep this in mind when deciding on a sleek tablet versus a PC for your business needs.
Some tasks require only one screen view at a time. For example, browsing a website, or reading the online version of your favorite business magazine or newspaper, or running down a checklist when organizing an event.
But other tasks require multiple windows and screens simultaneously. These include using CRM, reviewing your calendar while reading emails, or a range of creative projects. While mobile devices are agile at switching views, only PCs offer the large screens and multiple monitor hook-ups your in-house team needs.
The takeaway: Your employees are better multi-taskers when on a laptop or desktop, so don’t skimp on PC purchases for the ones that need more screen space. For your on-the-go team, smartphones and tablets may be all they need.
Remember that “PC” stands for personal computer. In many cases, mobile devices have the same computing power as the desktops of yesterday. They’re all still computers, just with changing roles and evolving functions for your business.
The best business IT infrastructure is one that is tailored to your company and not to passing trends. Consult with your IT management team on your changing business needs and which devices – whether PC or mobile – are the best for reaching your company’s growth point in the years to come.
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