Google's Chromebooks are ready for enterprise prime time, says Forrester

IT professionals should ignore 'naysayers' and take a 'fresh look' at Chromebooks

IT professionals should take a "fresh look" at Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Chromebooks for the enterprise, advises J.P. Gownder, vice president and principal analyst with Forrester Research.

While Chromebooks initially received bad press, IT professionals "with responsibility for end user computing and device portfolios should ignore the naysayers," Gownder writes in a blog.

"For companies that are willing to segment their workforces (offering Chromebooks to specific classes of workers in a mixed environment with PCs and tablets), adopting Gmail and/or Google Apps, or who are deploying the devices in a customer-facing (think kiosk) scenario, Chromebooks are definitely worth investigating," he judges.

There are two major enterprise benefits from going with low-cost Chromebooks, Gownder explains. First, IT professionals "can spend time on innovation, not maintenance." Chromebooks provides "high uptime, low service costs, and scalable deployment of new web-based applications and content," Gownder explains.

Second, employees benefit from collaborative computing capabilities. Chromebooks combined with Gmail "can promote collaborative work styles. One CIO told Gownder that workers at his company started to use Google Drive and other collaboration tools "organically and automatically" after the adoption of Gmail.

While Chromebooks might not be right for every enterprise use, "it's time to take the Google enterprise proposition seriously--and enterprises should conduct a fresh evaluation of Chromebooks," Gownder concludes.

Chromebooks have already taken off in the consumer market. Just this year, Chromebooks have taken between 20 percent and 25 percent of the U.S. market for the under $300 laptop market, according to NPD stats cited by Bloomberg.

"While we were skeptical initially, I think Chromebooks definitely have found a niche in the marketplace. The entire computing ecosystem is undergoing some radical change, and I think Google has its part in that change," Stephen Baker, an analyst at NPD, told the newswire.

For more:
- read Gownder's blog
- check out the Bloomberg story

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