Mobile technology

Using laptops and tablets in business


Tablet computers are devices that run cut-down versions of 'standard' office software packages and similar applications to automate tasks or access and share information. Their small size can make extended use inconvenient, but they are ideal for remote access to email, schedules and documents.

Laptop computers, netbooks and some tablet devices give you the full functionality of a desktop PC and can handle the full range of office software.

Most modern laptops and tablets can connect to the internet or your business' computer network via wireless technology.

Reasons to use laptops in business

Mobile networking devices such as laptops and tablets can be used for a wide variety of purposes. Key features include immediate access to data and more flexible ways of doing business.

It is often possible to carry out the same tasks that you would in an office while on the move, as many mobile devices operate the same software as office PCs. For example:

  • salespeople can use laptops and handhelds to make presentations, check stock levels, make quotations, and place online orders while on customer premises
  • laptops are ideal for 'hot-desking' and other types of flexible working, such as homeworking and working while travelling away from the office
  • laptops and tablet computers allow users to keep in touch via email while out of the office

Disadvantages of laptops and tablets over desktops

Depending on the tasks, smaller devices such as laptops and tablets may not always be appropriate. For example:

  • Tablet keyboards can be small and more difficult to use. Choosing one with a stylus can avoid this problem and can be quicker than typing or using a touchscreen.
  • Laptops, netbooks and tablets present additional security issues - eg they are easy to steal or lose. When using mobile devices employees should be made aware of the need to keep devices and business information secure.
  • If using public wireless fidelity networks (Wi-Fi) to access the internet, it may not always be possible to find a secure network for your mobile device. This may prevent you from accessing your business information when you need to.

As with all technology, training can be key to delivering the full benefits. Find out how to identify staff IT training and learning needs.