by Lauren Brousell

Tablets Take Precedence

Aug 31, 20112 mins
Cloud ComputingFinancial Services Industry

As tablets gain a foothold in the enterprise, CIOs are scrambling to create consumer-tech-friendly policies.

According to our biannual tech priorities survey, spending on mobile and wireless continues to rise, with 54 percent of CIOs planning to increase budgets in that area, up ten percent from January. Tablets in particular seem to be gaining ground—55 percent of the 261 respondents plan spending increases there.

Ken Piddington, CIO of Global Partners, started supporting iPads in June and plans to add Android tablets next year, as well as adding a bring-your-own-technology (BYOT) stipend program. “It [takes] a lot of money and manpower to manage devices,” he says. “As long as [employees] sign the [user] agreement, we can let them do their own thing.”

CIOs are clearly focusing their investments on areas that further enable the mobile workforce, but only 36 percent allow employees to access corporate email on personal devices and fewer (23 percent) allow access to corporate applications. Many CIOs, like Piddington, feel BYOT’s gaining ground, but just 6 percent provide an allowance for workers to buy their own devices.

Rick Okin, CIO of Epic Media Group, says that while some employees get iPads and Android tablets to use for developing mobile ads and for business intelligence (BI) reporting, people still bring their own devices to work.

“We allow people to bring in [their devices] and use them to get to the Internet, but they can’t get to corporate systems,” Okin says.

In general, deploying tablets is growing as an IT priority. Twenty-eight percent of respondents are now piloting the devices.

Steve Birgfeld, CIO of Hostess Brands, says his CEO was the first person to want to use an iPad on the company’s network. “We had a strong test case,” he says.

Birgfeld is testing some SAP and BI reporting capabilities on mobile devices, but he sees some security limitations. “The onus is on IT to work with mobile security and application providers to enhance this capability.”

Follow Editorial Assistant Lauren Brousell on Twitter: @lbrousell.