Here Come Tablets. Here Come Problems.
American Airlines was an early adopter of tablet computers. As a result, it learned a lot about how best to use tablets—and where it could go wrong.
The airline, for instance, figured out early that one device would not fit all. The pilots wanted high-end tablets, to replace paper charts and such, while mechanics and engineers needed something more rugged. For flight attendants, small and light were key. Meanwhile, to its first- and business-class passengers, the airline lent models that played new movies without risk of illegal copying.
“When you’re in a conference room, you might think, ‘This is great,’ ” says Maya Leibman, chief information officer for American, owned by AMR Corp., about the airline’s effort to choose models that worked for everyone. “But then you get out in the field and realize it doesn’t work in a driving snowstorm.”
Companies everywhere are adopting tablets. Forrester Research Inc. FORR +0.71% estimates that about 25% of computers used for work globally are tablets and smartphones, not PCs.
But in the process, companies are making a lot of the same mistakes—from not researching ahead of time how workers can best use the devices, to underestimating the costs and the additional challenges tablets present for IT networks.
Here’s a rundown of five of the biggest mistakes, and what companies have learned from them.