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Professional services lack strategy for tablets

According to a survey by Thomson Reuters, professional services organisations lack a strategy for dealing with the growing popularity of tablets and smartphones. As a result these organisations are at risk of IT and security issues as well as frustrated staff, wasted work hours and decreased productivity.

In these traditionally highly structured firms, including the legal profession, individuals are overcoming significant technical and usage issues and are using tablet devices, especially Apple’s iPad.

In the survey which was completed by more than 300 tax and accounting professionals it was reported that, 95% use a smartphone (iPhone or Android) and 67% use an iPad. 60% of those using iPads used a personally purchased device, but not without problems.

50% admitted having technical problems when using Apple devices in their day-to-day work, but they still persevered. More than 50% had connectivity problems and over 30% had problems with accessing IT support or day-to-day systems.

One organisation has embraced this appetite amongst its partners and is reaping the results. Insurance lawyers, Wotton + Kearney issued all their partners with an iPad. Their CEO, Andrew Price commented, “Feedback from the partners so far, particularly about usability and efficiency, is very positive,” “The decision to roll out iPads to partners was not difficult – the cost is minimal when compared to the time savings the devices create.”

According to the report, 62 percent of respondents who use tablet devices used them for completing work on the move.

Another organisation, that LEO Learning spoke to off the record, estimated that 30,000 working hours a year were spent on the move and stressed that gaining mobile access to learning and communication materials could really unlock that time.

However, despite the increasing use of mobile and tablet devices, only a small proportion of organisations covered in the survey have an IT strategy in place to cover tablet usage – just 10%. Rick Ness of Thomson Reuters sees this as a potentially big issue for these organisations, saying; “Tablet and mobile device usage will not go away and it’s key that the professional services tackle this head on and recognise that a specific strategy is required to manage this. The risks of not doing this are far reaching; not only IT problems, but more importantly frustrated staff, wasted work hours and depressed productivity – exactly the issues technology should be solving.”