Employees offered chance to ditch laptops for Windows 8 tablets

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Employees offered chance to ditch laptops for Windows 8 tablets

Oil and gas group Santos will step up its rollout of tablets next year as it gives employees the option to ditch their laptop in favour of a Windows 8 tablet.

[Pressure to upgrade from old versions of Windows is stepping up this year, with Microsoft previously warning that businesses who haven't upgraded from Windows XP are sitting on a "ticking time bomb". The big question is how many businesses are ready to make the move to Windows 8. We were interested to see this article from our sister site iTnews, which reports that one major organisation rolling out hundreds of new computers has decided to give its staff the option of choosing a Windows 8 tablet.]

Nearing a two-year upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7, the predominantly HP shop has been finding employees seeking a single device with office connectivity to use when on the road.
The organisation’s metropolitan site workers currently use laptops, while field workers use desktops.
“A lot of people that do travel frequently want something lighter and more portable than a laptop. We’re finding they’re supplementing their laptop with an iPad or an Android device, and they said ‘Well I still don’t have full functionality out of the iPad’,” Santos team leader of desktops Chris Cardillo said.
“So we’re trying to fend off people having two devices and then give them the choice of going with a Windows 8 tablet which does everything.”
Cardillo said Santos hopes to deploy 300 Windows 8 devices this year, with a refresh of 1000 devices planned for next year.
Employees won’t be forced down the Surface path for tablets next year, however, with Santos using Windows to Go, allowing staff to boot and run Windows on other devices.
“HP right now unfortunately doesn’t have an enterprise tablet but I know they are working on something,” Cardillo said
“We might have a multitude of different tablet devices. With the USB docks you could have Surface Pros or you could have a HP tablet, whatever’s best at that time.”
Santos has only just completed a rollout of MobileIron to allow staff to connect their personal devices to the network.
Cardillo said while every vendor is “jumping on the MDM [mobile device management] bandwagon,” Santos is keen for a solution that covers multiple platforms. He is currently evaluating a VPN-style solution with two-factor authentication for those staff wanting to connect non-Windows devices.
“If it’s a domain joined Windows 7 or 8 device then we use DirectAccess to cater for them.”
Cardillo said the goal was to ensure staff had access to all systems and information anytime and anywhere.
This meant finding a solution that did not overburden the IT department, but at the same time didn’t inhibit staff from working flexibly.
“If you’ve got all these different platforms out there, people come in with consumer devices and it’s just a massive overhead and burden on the IT department.
“So we’d still like to say, ‘Here’s a really great solution that we can provide to you'. We can still give them some form of functionality on their personal devices like going down the MDM path and saying ‘Ok, you’ve got your mail and your contacts and your calendar, but we don’t want to be supporting multiple solutions for them to remote desktop back to the PCs because it’s not practical.”


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