Why the Enterprise Needs to Start Considering Chromebooks

The main reason why tablets and smartphones are so popular is because they offer sufficient power and portability for basic computing tasks, such as checking email, sending text messages, and staying social on sites like Facebook and Twitter. A full-fledged PC just isn't needed for casual computing activities. By that same token, Google's Chromebook platform is an attractive alternative to a Windows PC because it costs much less and is capable of performing some basic tasks. The question is, does the Chromebook bring enough to the table to wedge out a section for itself in the enterprise?

Forrester thinks so. In a new Forrester report, the research firm makes a case for having Chromebooks in the enterprise, at least in a limited capacity.

Samsung Chromebooks

"Let me first be clear that Chromebooks won't replace all or even most Windows PCs, Macs, and tablets. But for companies that are (1) willing to segment their workforces (offering Chromebooks to specific lasses of workings in a mixed environment with PCs and tablets), (2) adopting Gmail and /or Google Apps, or who are (3) deploying the devices in a customer-facing (think kiosk) scenario, Chromebooks are definitely worth investigation," explains J.P. Gownder, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research serving Infrastructure & Operations Professionals.

As Gownder sees it, Chromebooks can "radically" reduce the amount of time IT staff spends on maintaining devices. Chromebooks offer high uptime, low service costs, and scalable deployment of new web-based applications and content, all of which are attractive in the enterprise.

At the same time, Gownder admits Chromebooks aren't for everyone, especially companies with a large presence in China. According to Gownder, the Chinese government handicaps the performance of Google Apps, thereby limiting the appeal of Chromebooks.