Mobile vs. PC - Traditional PC Still Device of Choice in Business
August 29, 2017

Pete Goldin
APMdigest

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While business investments in smartphones and tablets are growing in some cases, the vast majority of employees still use laptops and desktops as their primary work device, and organizations aren’t planning to shift investments away from traditional PCs in the foreseeable future, according to The Future of the PC, a new study by Spiceworks.

Among organizations surveyed, an average of 60 percent of employees currently use desktops as their primary work device. Laptops are used by 27 percent of employees as their primary device, followed by thin clients (5 percent), tablets (3 percent), smartphones (2 percent), and 2-in-1s (2 percent).

In terms of future business investments, the results indicate that while desktop investments are expected to be relatively flat in the next 12 months, 43 percent of businesses expect to increase their laptop investments. Mobile devices, such as tablets (25 percent), smartphones (16 percent), and 2-in-1s (18 percent) are expected to see about half the growth of laptops.

“Although many predict the popularity of mobile devices will lead to the ‘death of the PC,’ this prophecy won’t become a reality anytime soon in the corporate world,” said Peter Tsai, Senior Technology Analyst at Spiceworks. “It’s true that desktop PCs will become less prevalent in the near future, giving way to laptops, but tablets and smartphones still face usability challenges that prevent them from enabling key tasks in the workplace. So for the foreseeable future, traditional PCs will remain dominant while tablets and smartphones serve as complementary devices.”

Among IT professionals who influence the purchase decisions of end user devices at their organization, 53 percent believe most employees will not use a mobile device as their primary device in the foreseeable future. Respondents who think it could happen believe a mobile-dominated workplace is at least three to five years off.

As to why organizations are sticking with laptops and desktops, the research shows IT professionals believe mobile devices are adequate for browsing the web and viewing documents, but more limited when it comes to other business functions, such as inputting data, and creating, editing, and saving documents.

Spiceworks also examined what factors IT professionals deem most important when choosing the PC brands to buy for their organization. The results show computer reliability is the most important factor.

87 percent of IT professionals said reliability is very to extremely important in the decision-making process, followed by performance (68 percent), security (62 percent), and cost (54 percent). Other factors, such as manageability (48 percent), user-friendliness (42 percent), and ease of repair (37 percent), were considered slightly less important, but innovative features (9 percent) and style (4 percent) were considered the least important factors.

Methodology: The survey was conducted in July 2017 and included 998 IT professionals across the US, Canada, and the UK who influence the purchase decisions of end user devices at their organization. Respondents represent a variety of company sizes, including small- to-medium-sized businesses and enterprises. Respondents also come from a variety of industries including manufacturing, healthcare, nonprofits, education, retail, government, and finance.

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