Deloitte, one of the "big four" professional services firms, will be issuing touchscreen laptop devices to its employees in 2014, but the company's CIO Matt Peers is still unsure on whether Microsoft's Surface Pro is a suitable alternative.
In an interview with Computing, Peers said that Deloitte will be rolling out Windows 8.1 as its main operating system in 2014, and as part of this move, the firm will be encouraging the use of touch interfaces.
"We recognise that we'll also have some people who will be based in an office using a mouse and touch won't be suitable for them, so it is dependent on the job function. We will make sure any offering we have is aligned to the job role, and that we've thought through any implications on anything new that we're going to deploy," he said.
For some of Deloitte's staff, the hybrid devices will be issued in 2014, after the company determines which device is best suited to its employees.
Peers said that the move to touchscreen laptops - or hybrid devices - will mean that staff will get the look and feel of a tablet, and the functionality of a laptop. He said that the extra battery life and portability would be of huge benefit to Deloitte employees.
Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga (pictured) is one of the devices that is under consideration, but Peers is still undecided over Microsoft's Surface Pro.
"The interesting thing for us is that I don't know how the Surface Pro fits in - I think we need a docking station for it, and our restriction is around things like the number of USB ports that are available," he said.
Last year, Telefonica's Group CIO Phil Jordan told Computing that the Surface was more of a "companion device" which was not good enough to replace the company's existing equipment, and Peers sees it as an "in between device".
"That's why we're stuck in that kind of predicament, because I think for a big number of our population, it is perfect as it is a tablet that has the processing power of a PC. It doesn't run like a mobile phone operating system, it comes with a keyboard and the screen is big enough to use from day to day. It works particularly well for people who travel around and need to demonstrate things to other people. In a meeting with a client, if our employee uses a laptop it is a barrier, but with a tablet it feels more open," he said.
"These hybrid devices could be the thing that our practitioners love or come to love," he added.
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