While touch- or gesture-based interfaces are a de facto standard for most smartphones and tablets today, there is a certain amount of skepticism when comes to touch for corporate notebooks. But by all accounts, touch-enabled laptops are very likely to become mainstream in the future.
Traditionally, enterprise technology has always served as the precursor for consumer technology. But this trend has completely reversed over the past few years with consumer technology blazing the path for enterprise technology. Collaboration apps, enterprise social networks and the tidal wave of bring your own device (BYOD) and mobility in the workplace bear testimony to this fact.
The reason is simple enough. For users who grow up consuming touch-based devices, notebooks that don’t have touch capability will feel dated and less conducive to productivity when compared to users’ own personal devices.
Pattern of device usage by enterprise users
Enterprise users typically utilise their devices in two primary modes: consumption of and creation of information. Most current notebooks are excellent for creation of information, while tablets and smart phones are generally excellent for information consumption. However, the new enterprise-class, touch-enabled notebooks provide the best of both worlds.
The ability to switch instantaneously from consumption to creation and vice versa is a critical driver behind the demand for touch in the enterprise and requires the use of touch-based notebooks that can support both modes seamlessly. Prior to the BYOD era, most notebooks were used primarily for content creation, including spreadsheets, presentations, documents and other personal work. With the emergence of touch, primarily on tablets, a new mode of information consumption is emerging where users are interacting with content from others.
Touch is here to stay
It makes absolute sense for enterprises to deploy touch-based notebooks today. It allows end-users to use a single multi-mode notebook instead of having to carry both a tablet and a notebook. For IT, the multi-mode notebook reduces device sprawl, which lowers the costs of management, support and operations. Touch-enabled notebooks also bring consistency to the types of interfaces and capabilities of the myriad devices end-users employ, simplifying training and helping them become even more productive.
As touch-based applications evolve, it will make more sense than ever to use touch in addition to a keyboard. Consider an application such as business analytics. Users can employ touch or gestures to effectively and quickly develop scenarios, segment data, drill down and visually interact with their data, rather than typing commands. Numerous other applications can deliver similarly substantial increased business value via a touch interface.
And enterprises need to start planning for this now if they want to avoid costly system migration. Gartner warns that the cost of a PC migration can be quite expensive, approaching $1,000 per machine. What’s more, running both the touch and non-touch environments in parallel for longer than necessary increases support costs, creates a layer of complexity for IT and hinders the end-user’s efficiency.
If you want to future-proof your business, ensure your next corporate notebook is touch enabled!
The writer is director of commercial named accounts, Lenovo