I just counted: my household has 16 internet-connected or internet-capable devices.
That puts me close to the average, which is 13 per household according to IHS Technologies. Much to my dismay, I have become that guy with the three screens.

Anyone who has worked in IT has felt the tangible effects of explosive growth in internet-connected devices. Users want corporate IT services on their phones and tablets, and they want them now. That’s because, when it comes to new technologies and new ways to create, consume, and share content, users often learn the ropes on consumer-oriented devices and services.

They see what’s possible on their phone or tablet, and then bring the subsequent assumptions and expectations about technology into the workplace. (Consider an early iteration of this tendency: my ten-year-old son finds it funny that his class goes to a “computer lab.” In his experience at home, computers are not something you “go to.” They’re everywhere.)

If service is King, client is the scepter

One of the assumptions users make is that cloud service is the thing, and the device used to connect to the service is of little importance.

It’s easy to see how this assumption takes hold, and I’ll use my son again to illustrate. At home, he can stream video over his X-Box 360 or the iPad or the family laptop, or Dad’s Samsung Galaxy tab 3 (if Dad’s not paying attention). The device is incidental…the streaming service is the thing.

And the assumption might very well be true for consumer-oriented activities. One can update Facebook equally well on any combination of operating system and hardware.

But assumptions that hold true in users’ consumer lives should be challenged when it comes to workplace technology. It’s easy to conduct an experiment for yourself that will show you that the “client-doesn’t-matter” assumption is flawed: Do a simple Google search on your smart phone and then repeat it on your laptop and see which platform delivers the better user experience.

For close to three years, Prowess Consulting has put that assumption under scrutiny. We conduct rigorous user experience and functionality testing across multiple platforms to tease out the details where the client does, in fact, matter with cloud-based services.

For example, we’ve tested collaboration tools such as Google Apps and OneNote across multiple mobile devices to see which ones work best in business scenarios. Those studies are already available.


We’re testing.

Our next research projects will look at HP and Lenovo devices in the healthcare vertical, in the ring with a zero client.

We’re big fans of mobility around here, so these are exciting projects. We work hard to make the resulting papers valuable references that can help organizations make decisions around mobile technology for users. Stay tuned so you don’t miss anything.

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