We’re noticing that larger businesses are increasingly interested in the Google environment. It seems that organisations are looking to transition from traditional computing platforms to new innovative alternatives and Google fits the bill. According to technology analyst group Gartner, by 2017 sales of Chromebooks are set to reach 14.4 million units. The analyst’s latest report estimates that 5.2 million Chromebooks will ship this year, and that this figure will triple by 2017.
I’m consistently being asked the same question by customers. Why such a steep uptake? At least from my perspective, the benefits of the Chromebook are clear. Organisations are attracted to Chromebooks because they offer all the features business users expect from a laptop – long battery life, full-sized keyboards and access to all the business applications they need – with the added bonus of easy management through the Google Chrome Management Console. Chromebooks offer easy access to application services along with the opportunity to escape the huge cost of traditional endpoint refresh cycles.
Moving workers to Chromebooks has other benefits as well:
1. Reducing Maintenance
Chromebooks offer the prospect of radically reducing the amount of time IT staff spends “keeping the lights on” for devices. They also offer enterprise customers a way out of what Forrester analyst J.P. Gownder calls, the “laptop maintenance business.” If an employee’s machine breaks, they simply have to sign into a new one to continue working. Chromebooks offer high uptime, low service costs, and scalable deployment of new web-based applications and content as well as traditional Windows reliant applications through virtualisation.
2. Empowering Collaboration
In a Google environment employees can more easily adopt collaborative computing. I read an article where one CIO reported that workers at his company started to use Google Drive and other collaboration tools “organically and automatically”. Chromebooks reinforce the value of these tools and represent the next step in empowering collaboration.
Chromebooks offer seamless usability and mobility for employees who can use Chromebooks both inside and outside the office with virtual access to their productivity, CRM and ERP apps. A fundamental challenge however for many enterprises is how to deliver their Windows-based business-critical line-of-business apps such as HR, finance and sales. The majority of companies have built their infrastructure to rely on these applications and these are still primarily Windows-based.
4. Windows Apps
It’s my belief that to facilitate the adoption of Chromebooks in the enterprise, organisations will need to be able to access existing ‘legacy’ apps in the Google world. To my mind, virtualisation technology is the answer as it enables organisations to utilise traditional business critical business apps but also gives them the opportunity to see how Google Chromebook devices can drive a new way of computing in the enterprise. The new version of the Citrix Receiver for Chrome also offers much more advanced, high definition user experience features. This is because Receiver for Chrome is now able to access more of Chrome Operating System’s native features directly, therefore users can more easily use it.
5. Anywhere, Anytime Work Environment
Applications remain at the core of what business users need to get their jobs done. However, ever-increasing business and user demands are driving many organisations to adopt a new strategy for delivering access to business-critical apps and data. Firms need to escape the high cost of traditional desktop refresh cycles and endpoint operating system migrations, while gaining greater flexibility to adapt to new services and solutions. Users want to be able to work from anywhere and increase their mobility and productivity by using a broad range of devices. This can include Chromebooks as well as personal tablets, laptops and smartphones.
I firmly believe that Chromebooks, combined with virtualisation technology, provide a flexible, cost-effective environment for the enterprise that allows users access to any kind of app — including legacy Windows apps as well as cloud services — with a seamless, high-definition user experience. There’s no doubt that there will be a need to deliver Windows applications well into the future but with virtualisation technology available today, Google Chromebooks are a viable alternative for organisations of all sizes, including the enterprise.