Do info workers prefer iPads or Windows 8 tablets? Let's ask them! And other interesting questions...

For our Forrsights Workforce survey, Forrester annually surveys information workers.* I’m leading final preparation of our Forrsights Workforce survey focused on end user hardware and aimed at five major markets – the US, Canada, the UK, France, and Germany. By end user hardware, we primarily mean PC/Macs, tablets, and smartphones, but we may also focus a bit on peripherals. And we hope to mirror some of the questions from the Forrsights IT Hardware survey, which we develop after this one, so that we can compare results from this information worker survey to what IT buyers report in their survey. Analyst Heidi Shey is working on the other half of the survey, which will focus on security issues.

Below are the hypotheses and topics we plan to explore in the survey. Please give them a quick read, then post or email feedback by Friday, April 12 (Tuesday, April 16 at the very latest). If you are a Forrester client and would like to see a survey draft, please email your account rep and me.

These are statements of ideas we are planning to test in the survey questions, which are designed to confirm or disprove the idea. But we probably can’t fit all of these, so please help us prioritize – especially if you are a Forrsights Workforce client!

Info workers:

Multi-device use

  • Have multiple devices used for work, including many that are personally chosen and/or owned; they spend significant money on devices used regularly for work; and they expect to continue doing so.
  • Often blend work and personal tasks on the same device, despite employer policies to the contrary.
  • Have a core set of devices they use regularly and a broader set of devices they use occasionally for work, such as using a home PC to check email.
  • Have begun to develop strategies for accessing their data from multiple devices.

OS and platform preference

  • Use lots of Apple and Android devices but have a significant interest in using Windows 8 on their next tablet, but not for their next PC.
  • Are not very interested in Windows Phone.
  • Aren’t yet very conscious of choosing all or most devices from the same vendor (all Google, or Microsoft, or Apple).
  • Aren’t very aware of Google Chromebook/box and aren’t very interested in them.

Peripherals and new technologies

  • Aren’t very aware of new technologies such as SSDs.
  • Are printing less and differently because of mobile devices.
  • Aren’t interested in using video chat for work, unless they’ve had great experiences with it.

Evolution of tablets and PCs – cannibalization?

  • See tablets as a new category of specialized devices that can sometimes or often substitute for laptops, but are not full PC replacements.
  • Want a better way to transition between working on a tablet and working at a desk on a PC.
  • Like tablets because of the new usage scenarios, rather than because they are better PCs.
  • Do care about compatibility with Microsoft Office – but that existing iPad owners have found sufficient workarounds so that they don’t see it as a deal-breaker.
  • Like the idea of touch on a conventional laptop but not on a desktop display and won’t pay extra for it.
  • Are skeptical of convertible laptops that have a touch mode but are intrigued by truly mobile tablets that can be attached to a keyboard.

What topic areas are we missing? What hypotheses or questions should we change or add?

Thanks very much for sending your feedback.

*In our definition, information workers are employees who work 15 hours a week or more who use a smart device for work an hour or more per day. 


frame PCs

Frank Is your notion of a frame PC missing? I hear vendors tlak occasionally and wonder if users have any notion of or demand for such a solution - the idea that a user may carry a core processor capability with them in a form factor of something as small as a smart phone and use it with whatever other peripherals might be available - keyboard, display, video conference unit, smartboard, sotrage, printer, etc., etc... Identity and user data would be 'in the cloud somewhere in many of these models- right?
Do users yet see a world where if they are watching an archived video while on a plane or filling their gas tank they are able to use the display in the seatback or on the gas pump to improve their experience while watching? same question when leveraging print capabilities as a visitor at a client/supplier/friend? same question when starting a video call at the desk and moving into a conference room and using all the display capabilities for both the ongoing call and to add collaboration/sharing surfaces? I saw a vendor demo where in the middle of a surgical procedure when things started to go south, the displays in the operating room (I was amazed how many there were available...) were used for the obvious (display vital signs) and the new/collaborative (video connection to a specialist at a remote health care facility, a medical equipment manufacturer and a whiteboard to create and plan a checklist of procedures/tests/action steps to save the patient).

Yes, exploring frame PC latent need

Since frame PCs aren't on the market yet, what we'll focus on is the latent desire or need to transition from a small portable screen to a large stationary screen. Thanks for the details.

A few questions that would be

A few questions that would be valuable to get insight into:

1) Which tools are the primary means of audio/video communication and consumption (smartphone/tablet/pc/other)?

2) Do workers use a hands free device? If so, do they acquire it themselves or does their employer choose/purchase for them?

3) Do workers find their voice communication is going up or down due to the new devices they carry now (i.e. with a smartphone/tablet enabling more email/text communication etc)?

Thanks Frank!

Yes, audio/video tools are a good focus

We'll review to add those.

thanks, frank

Need the apps piece

I would be interested in understanding the types of applications workers want to access in the workplace. Are they buying these apps themselves or is the organization providing them? Are they meeting their needs? Are their organizations adding more mobile apps to support them? What types of apps is the organization providing to them on their devices?

Also interested if the organization is allowing them access to other services (data as an example) from their own mobile devices.

As a follow on to this it

As a follow on to this it would be really interesting to see if information workers would use certain devices more if they did have all the apps they needed on them.

Basically, right now we see certain types of devices used for certain tasks. I'd be interested to see why this is happening. Are they not using certain devices for a task because they don't have an app for it? because they don't have the right access? because they don't have the right peripherals?

Great suggestion to look for intersection of apps and hardware

Christian, this is a good suggestion. We'll see what we can factor in and check back with you.

Apps are focus of 3rd Workforce survey later this year

This 2nd Workforce 2013 survey is focused on hardware, though we won't completely ignore software. There were some apps questions asked in the 1st Workforce 2013 survey, Mobile. And we'll ask more in the (3rd) Workforce 2013 Software survey in summer or early fall.

How many are using a

How many are using a dedicated (vs. shared) desk phone assigned to them and provided to them by their organization?

Usage of softphones?

Evolution of desk phones – cannibalization? In addition to the PC, which technologies are on their way out and being replaced by other technologies?

thanks for informative post!

thanks for informative post! I would be interested in understanding the types of applications workers want to access in the workplace. I'm working for .so, this post really make sense to me!