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Making the Leap to Cloud Computing with Tablet PCs

Making the Leap to Cloud Computing and Tablet PC Technology

Adoption of cloud computing continues to attract businesses who are searching for ways to enhance operational efficiency and reduce IT costs. For mobile workers in line-of-business applications such as field service, food logistics, retail and warehouse management, the biggest benefit of cloud computing is reliable access to corporate data anytime, anywhere.

According to a 2011 Gartner Agenda Survey, technology executives expect to significantly expand their use of cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) technologies. While only 3% of executives have the majority of their IT systems running in the cloud today, it is anticipated that that number could leap to 43% in the next 4 years. Much of this growth will be driven by providing access to enterprise data through cloud-based applications delivered to mobile workers via tablet PC.

rugged tablet pc cloud computingIn a Service Council study, 53% of field service organizations were planning or at least strongly considering leveraging cloud computing in their field service operations in the next two years. That means that applications, data, storage capacity and servers could move physically out of the enterprise and into the virtual cloud. Companies would manage their IT infrastructure without the costly investment in hardware or support capabilities.

Benefits of Cloud Computing for the Mobile Worker

Most mobile workers are already using Tablet PCs and in many cases work remotely. By migrating the data to the cloud, information can be easily accessed by any employee from the mobile computer regardless of his or her location. The benefits come primarily through cost savings, reduced complexity of implementation and the mitigation of technology obsolescence.

Cloud solutions can provide significant cost savings in mobile applications as follows:

1.Lower infrastructure and support costs

2.Faster implementations

3.Faster application updates without downtime

4.More flexible configuration models

The cost benefits far outweigh the risk factors. A trusted partner like MobileDemand can help you evaluate the following considerations before making the great leap forward:

1.Security. A cloud provider should ensure that your data is never confused with another customer's information. For specific vertical markets, the vendor should also provide compliance with industry standards. For example, healthcare applications should comply with HIPAA requirements. When a mobile payment is involved, it may be necessary for the solution to meet Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standards.

2.Reliability. The cloud provider should contractually guarantee 24/7 uptime for the application. Be sure to evaluate the vendor’s backup and redundancy capabilities at multiple data centers.

3.Customization. No solution is ready to plug and play out of the box. Therefore, be sure that custom modifications can be made centrally so that they can be deployed faster.  

4.Wireless Coverage. The lack of coverage is rarely a problem now that wireless carriers have expanded their high-speed networks and boosted their performance. However, you should still evaluate how many of your workers operate in remote rural areas where coverage is a challenge. For those instances, ensure that the vendor can provide offline functionality. Regarding wireless LAN applications, conduct a site survey and analysis prior to deployment to identify any potential gaps in coverage.

With proper planning, cloud computing facilitates the accessibility of data, applications and web-related activity in an interactive and flexible environment. It provides several options that accommodate rapid expansion and contraction of data facilities based on current levels of sales activity and economic factors. Making the leap can substantially reduce costs and improve the return on investment of a mobile computing solution.

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