Financial-services workers help clients strive to attain financial freedom. But in our latest benchmark, we investigated how to give these workers some freedom of their own by identifying a mobile computing device that will let them be both mobile and free from unnecessary productivity hiccups and headaches.

To perform our testing, we picked representative Windows and iOS operating system–based devices:

  • A Microsoft Surface Pro 4 with an Intel Core i7-6650U processor running Windows 10
  • An Apple iPad Pro with an Apple A9X processor running iOS Mobile 10.2.1



The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (on the left) and the Apple iPad Pro (on the right)

We tested our representative devices by running various workflows on each.

  • In workflow one, reps used Microsoft PowerPoint 2016, Microsoft Excel 2016, and Microsoft Power BI to create a client presentation.
  • In workflow two, reps created a report about a bank customer’s account by using Power BI and Excel.
  • In workflow three, reps pulled customer financial data from external sources into Microsoft Excel to run forecasts.
  • In workflow four, reps ran analyses on computationally heavy spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Delivers Greater Freedom for Financial-Services Workers

In all of our test scenarios, the Surface Pro 4 delivered a better user experience and greater productivity than the iPad Pro. In general, the Surface Pro 4:

  • Provided the performance needed to multitask with multiple programs and/or windows open at the same time
  • Delivered the computing power needed to quickly complete calculations
  • Supported more features and capabilities to deliver a true desktop-like user experience with a mobile device

The iPad Pro doesn’t support having two applications or windows open at the same time or extending the display to a second monitor when desired. This created serious headaches in trying to complete workflows. Testers had to close and reopen programs repeatedly on the iPad Pro to finalize tasks that involved multiple applications. This limitation of the iPad Pro let the rep using the Surface Pro 4 complete tasks faster. It took 57 percent less time on the Surface Pro 4 to create the client presentation using PowerPoint 2016, Excel 2016, and Power BI. And 76 percent less time to create the report on a bank’s customer account. That savings adds up over the course of a year to save financial-services workers more than 17 business days when using the Surface Pro 4 for these two activities.

Apple iPad Pro Lets Them Consume Content. But Create It? Not So Much.

We found the iPad Pro works well for consuming content, but not well at all for creating and manipulating content, especially content that involves calculations. While the iPad Pro might be a perfect complement for a financial-services worker who needs to consume content on the go, but has access to a more powerful notebook at a desk, a worker who needs a fully functional mobile device will be more productive using the Surface Pro 4.

Split-screen functionality on the Microsoft Surface Pro helps users productively consume and create content

Split-screen functionality on the Microsoft Surface Pro helps users productively consume and create content

There’s more to the story of our testing the Surface Pro 4 and iPad Pro than a better user experience and faster workflows when running multiple applications. To learn more and get details on how the two devices compare in running complex calculations, key differences in applications for the Windows and iOS platforms, and the differences in basic usability features:Get the Full Story on Freeing Financial-Services Workers

You can also visit the research section on the Prowess Consulting website for more research reports.

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