While Google’s Chromebook laptops might not be popular with consumers, a new Forrester report suggests it’s time for businesses to start thinking about using them.
“Infrastructure & Operations professionals with responsibility for end user computing and device portfolios should ignore the naysayers,” Forrester VP and analyst J.P. Gownder wrote in a blog post highlighting the report. “In fact, it’s time to take a fresh look at whether Chromebooks might fill a legitimate computing niche for your company.”
Gownder doesn’t straight up say that Chromebooks are the answer to your company’s computing problems, and he admits that they “won’t replace all or even most Windows PCs, Macs, and tablets.” But he does think investing in Chromebooks could be a smart option if you fall into one of these three categories:
1. Your company is willing to “segment” your workforce so you offer Chromebooks to “specific classes of workers.”
2. Your company has adopted Google Apps and/or Gmail.
3. Your company has customer-facing devices (like kiosks) that don’t require a Windows (or Mac) experience.
Gownder also lays out two major benefits of using Chromebooks in the enterprise. The first is that “infrastructure professionals can spend time on innovation, not maintenance.” Because Chromebooks feature cloud-based web applications, they offer a high level of uptime, lower service costs, and a simple and scalable deployment.
The second benefit is that “employees naturally gravitate toward collaborative computing scenarios.” If employees are already using the corporate version of Gmail, they will likely start using Google Drive. Drive (and services like it) allow employees to collaborate better and faster on projects.
While Gownder didn’t mention this in his blog post, one other big reason to consider Chromebooks is cost, since Chromebooks are usually priced lower than other laptops. The cheapest Chromebook is the Acer C7, which costs $200. One step above the C7 is the $250 Samsung Chromebook.