eWEEK asked Salesforce.com founder and CEO Marc Benioff last summer about his approach to arming his employees with the right tools to do the job.
"Interesting you should ask that," he said. "We just bought 2,000 iPads for our sales people the other day. New people we hire out of college now just expect to be handed a tablet or smartphone now, not old-school phones or laptops. They also expect to have an internal social network to collaborate on projects and get to know each other. If they don't get these tools, they're just going to use their own devices and social networks.
"This is the way business is done now. The new generation has grown up with connected devices, and they don't understand it if you don't give these to them when they start work. They think it's normal."
Tablets Gaining Traction for Business Use
Well, handing a new hire an iPad or Android tablet or smartphone -- or allowing them to bring their own device to work -- wasn't normal until just the last year or so; in fact, it still isn't. But this practice is gaining traction; plenty of other enterprise leaders alongside Benioff understand this inevitable intersection of consumer devices and business.
Tablets have opened up new possibilities for businesses because they transform the way sales people work. Large enterprises generally know this; Apple CEO Tim Cook noted at the company's April 2012 earnings conference call that 94 percent of the Fortune 500 companies were testing or deploying the iPad.
Using an iPad or other tablet, for example, salespeople can decrease lag time when conversing with potential clients, since they have the ability to provide them with product or service information on the spot, if necessary.
Sales can be closed and contracts signed on tablet PCs by using electronic signature applications, which makes obsolete the practice of downloading PDFs or Word documents, printing them out, and signing paper documents that can be lost or damaged.
Besides, it's just a cool image for the company to use a tablet to show slideshows, charts or photos during a sales pitch meeting.
How to Deploy and Keep Security Tight?
However, the question still remains for many IT decision-makers: Can any-size company put together a successful iPad or Android tablet deployment and make it secure?
Though the thought of employees bringing their own devices to work sends chills up and down the spines of IT managers and corporate security officers, the fact is that it is all but impossible to stop people from handling company business on such devices. If the tool is convenient, it does the job and you can do it wherever you are, employees will do it. Extra stress goes on the term "convenient."