An enterprise role for Chromebooks

Two years after they were introduced, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Chromebooks still have to create a noticeable blip in the enterprise market.

A recent report from Forrester Researcher, however, indicates that stripped down laptops running the search engine’s Web-focused Chrome operating system may have some future after all in the enterprise space.


Chromebooks are hot sellers
Asigra eases cloud fears with Google Apps support“Infrastructure and operations professional with responsibilities for end user computing and device portfolios should ignore the naysayers,” wrote JP Gownder, principal analyst for Forrester, in his recent blog. “In fact, it’s time to take a fresh look at whether Chromebooks might fill a legitimate computing niche in your company.”

Gownder of course made a point to stress that he didn’t see Chromebooks replacing Macs, Windows PCs and tablets anytime soon.
However, he mentioned three scenarios where Chromebooks would be ideal workplace computing devices:

1) Companies willing to segment workforces – Chromebooks can be given to specific classes of workers while other employees could work on traditional PCs or tablets
2) Organizations that are adopters of Gmail and/or Google Apps
3) Businesses considering deployment of customer-facing devices

Gownder also pointed out several key benefits of using Chromebooks. Among them would be enabling IT staff to spend more time in development-focused work rather than maintenance tasks.

He said one IT professional told him that he would rather have his desktop services people work on implementation projects rather than spend time installing software on laptops.

“Chromebooks offer high uptime, low service cost and scalable deployment of new Web-based applications and content,” said Gownder.

Chromebooks can also be instrumental in promoting a collaborative work style in the office, he said. Since the device requires a move to corporate Gmail, Chromebooks will likely introduce workers to other Wed-based collaborative tools and reinforce the value that these tools offer.

Chromebooks, however, are not ideal for all companies, according to Forrester analyst.

“Companies with a large presence in China, for example, will find Google’s famed clashed with the Chinese government handicaps the performance of Google Apps,” he said. “Although Chromebooks are highly portable (and offer optional wireless subscription options) for many hyper-mobile business scenarios, tablets might be a better choice.”



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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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