Is the Chromebook an Enterprise Player?

It might be cheap and need an internet connection do anything useful, but the Chromebook could be a viable option for some business customers, a Forrester report suggests.

Google’s ultra-cheap but fairly spartan Chromebook line is holding its own in the larger personal computing sphere, but is there potential for this cloud-enabled machine beyond home computing? A new Forrester report suggests that there is. “It’s Time to Reconsider Chromebooks” argues that Google’s devices work well for enterprises in some specific cases—and that they could help lighten the IT load in particular.

“Chromebooks offer the prospect of radically reducing the amount of time IT staff spends ‘keeping the lights on’ for devices,” said JP Gownder, the study’s author, in a blog post. So where could the Chromebook fit into an association’s setup? Some highlights from the study:

Where they make sense: Chromebooks are lightweight and simple, making them good in situations where it’s more important to get certain classes of workers moving than to maintain the devices. If you’re in a mixed office (PC and Mac), Chromebooks will fit right in. And if your association is a corporate user of Gmail or Google Apps, the devices naturally dovetail into already-set usage patterns, according to Gownder. Meetings professionals might find the devices useful, especially if they rely on kiosks at events.

Where they don’t: For associations with an international presence—specifically in China, where Google’s services are limited or banned—the platform may not make sense, as its largest benefit would be limited. And for certain kinds of users, tablets may simply be a better option. Also, ZDNet’s Ed Bott cited a study earlier this year that found  the Chromebook’s reach was much smaller than other estimates have suggested.

Do you own a Chromebook? Can you see a business case for upgrading them to the enterprise? Let us know your take in the comments.

(Samsung press photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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