The business enabler: Tablet PCs and SMB…

David McKean, Asus New Zealand sales manager, takes a look at the benefits and challenges posed by tablets for SMBs.

Mobility has changed when, where and how employees work – and while the cloud and mobile devices might once have been in the domain of large companies with robust IT budgets, now even the smallest companies are seeing benefits as price barriers to hardware and cloud servicing are eliminated.

As a form factor firmly entrenched in the consumer market, the tablet has recently received a lot of attention as a workplace tool.

However, there are challenges small businesses face to ensure their people are using these devices as effectively as possible.

Introducing a tablet into the work environment can boost productivity and efficiency. Once, small businesses were only able to support customers from the office. A tablet can lift the desk shackles to allow for work to be conducted virtually anywhere, at any time.

For a business that needs to be agile, a tablet offers a great middle ground between a laptop and a smartphone, with bigger screen sizes and range of available software application options balanced with longer battery life, lightweight form factor and ultra-fast responsiveness.

Reseller value

Resellers can add value by ensuring SMB customers are getting the best out of their tablet devices.

There are a couple of factors we’ve identified where SMB decision makers need professional advice before purchasing tablets for their staff.

The first is around picking the right product, and this anticipates how business decision makers envisage a tablet working for them.

Whether it’s a communication only tool, or whether employees are expected to use a tablet as a desktop alternative, there is a tablet for them.

However, it is up to the reseller to advise the best OS, combination of software and ideal hardware form factor to match business needs.

From tablets with built-in keyboard docks that perform like a lightweight laptop for maximum productivity or devices that can sync seamlessly with the company’s smartphone devices and applications, having a good understanding of the real life business needs means resellers can recommend a product that gives the company a competitive edge.

The second roadblock is security and device management. Few SMBs have effective mobile device management (MDM) strategies in place.

Resellers can help educate customers to plan and implement effective MDM strategies to reduce exposure to security risks.

An effective MDM strategy should include configuring network and device security measures, clearly outlining communication and usage policies and implementing measures to deter inappropriate usage.

There are an increasing number of device management solutions available to the channel.

Resellers should ensure they are up to date with the latest MDM trends, so they can steer and upsell their customers the right supporting software and tools for their tablet of choice.

Tablets offer a great value proposition for SMBs looking for increased flexibility and productivity.

The opportunity for resellers to grow their tablet sales to SMB is limited only by their ability to educate and guide IT decision makers toward the device and mobility strategy that will best work for their business.

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