Articles, Technology

What Are the Best Tablets for Business?

So, you’re looking for the best tablets for business?

Whether you require business tablets for yourself, employees or the end user, work in construction, healthcare, logistics or education, ensuring that you have chosen the right fleet of tablets for your company can be daunting. 

What if the devices end up breaking after a month? What if the supplier proves impossible to reach post-sale? What if the tablet is not sufficient enough to fulfill the job at hand? What if the chosen warranty is not up to scratch?

There is certainly more to consider than just colour, size and brand when selecting the best tablets for your business.

And this is where most companies go wrong. They overlook the importance of the consideration stage of the buying process and consequently make a hasty decision based solely on brand name, price or current availability.

The danger here is that without asking the right questions during the consideration phase, that hasty decision will result in your employees or end-user being supplied a device that is not fit-for-purpose; inefficient and unable to fulfill the job it was intended to do. The effect of which is disgruntled employees and lack of productivity.

To avoid this, we recommend a series of questions, that during the consideration phase of the buying process, will help ensure you make the right decision for you company, and choose the best tablets for business.

1. How robust to you need to go?

Believe it or not, a common challenge that IT and procurement teams face when acquiring a new fleet of business tablets, is the right level of protection. Should the devices have IP protection? Military-grade? Is semi-rugged strong enough? What about ultra-rugged? Or will plain consumer devices suffice? 

We see all too often companies supply their employees with fragile consumer devices that are simply not fit for the working environment, the result of which is an accumulation of hefty repair and replacement costs. On the flip side, companies provide their mobile teams with ‘over-specified’ devices – equipped with impressive yet useless features – which also leads to unnecessarily high costs.

To combat this, we suggest you find out the exact conditions in which your fleet of business tablets will be used, and compare against this Ingress Protection chart. For most businesses an IP rated device is necessary, knocks, drops and weather is inevitable, but this chart will help you decide to what degree of protection your business tablets need.

2. What are the technical requirements?

This might seem like a blaringly obvious question, but for companies who want to select the best business tablets for their employees, it’s one that needs particularly careful consideration.

It is crucial that thorough research is carried out here. Select a range of employees, each with different levels of involvement in your company’s Enterprise Mobility – the more insights the better – and begin with: Software, Processes and Applications.

Ask yourself and your ‘Board of Enterprise Mobility people’: What software do we currently run/ plan to run on our business tablets? Which operating system do we require to support this software? Is it  Android or Windows? And what version do we require to support our business activities? If you are unsure then collect a case of ideas as to what your business tablets will be used for, this way your supplier can help you choose.

Next consider your business processes: What exactly will your business tablets be handling? Simple tasks such as completing timesheets or checklists? Or storing and sharing large files such as video or high resolution images? Once you have a good understanding of this you can determine technical attributes that relate to performance, such as the type of processor: Will your employees require a high performance M3 Intel processor? Or something lower? (remember to choose what it fit-for-purpose for your employees – don’t go ‘over-specified’ if it is not required).

Lastly, discuss the applications of your business tablets. Explore every use and scenario possible. How many hours will your tablets be active for each day? What is their main use going to be? Is it data capture? Image or video capture? Is data stored on a cloud or internally? Will the business tablets need to integrate with any other devices? Will they require internet access? Once you have discussed your tablet applications you can determine technical attributes such as battery mAh, camera Megapixels, wireless connectivity, memory, storage, display resolution and ports.

3. Who is your end-user?

Ironically, when acquiring business tablets for their employees, it is the employee, or end-user that is left out of the crucial consideration phase.

All too often, those making the purchase decision forget that the more satisfied the end-user is with the business tablet they are supplied, the greater the level of productivity there is. This is about employee experience and has a huge impact on the quality of work carried out, staff morale and task efficiency.

The best way to choose the best tablet for business, is to spend a day in the life of one of your end-users. Find out their working environment, what they find challenging, what motivates them, how they work and how tablets play a part in this.

The insights from your end-user will help shape your choice in business tablets, and hopefully give you a clear vision of what tablets you business requires. For example the form of the tablet, tablet accessories or additions such as 2D barcode scanning may only become apparent at this stage of the consideration phase – which is why it is absolutely vital.

Additional questions 

4. Are you covered?

Whatever your business type, industry or size, accidents happen and even the most rugged, military-grade tablets break eventually. So, are you prepared for when this might happen?

It is always good practice to choose a supplier that offers warranty options. Find out to what extent and conditions you are covered, what the agreed turnaround times are. What the repair process is,  and if the service Hub localis local.

Being confident in your supplier and level of cover is essential in avoiding downtime and high replacement costs.

5. What level of support have you agreed?

We cannot stress the importance of choosing a supplier that is accessible and easy-to-work with. 

It is extremely frustrating when a supplier is attentive in the beginning of the purchasing process, but less than helpful post-sale. Which is why we recommend thoroughly discussing and understanding your suppliers’ service and support policies before committing. Ensure you have a helpful account manager and that the suppliers’ repair, replacement and servicing procedures are communicated well with you.

Conclusion

Choosing the best tablets for your business can be a daunting process, but if you consider what is fit-for-purpose for your company – how robust you need to go, technical requirements and end-user applications – you have a recipe for success. This, opposed to making a decision based solely on price or brand name will see your company reap the benefits of productivity, employee satisfaction and device longevity.

Before implementing tablets into your company, we recommend calculating the Total Cost of Ownership.

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