Finding margins on tablets

Opinion Dec 03, 2012

John Howard, director for B2B at Logitech for Business, discusses how the channel can take advantage of the tablet revolution

One of the biggest decisions currently on the minds of CIOs is determining the role of tablets within their organisations.

While other technologies such as virtualisation and the cloud occupy their longer term thinking, tablets are a much more immediate priority.

This increase in workplace tablet usage is also changing the channel landscape by providing resellers and VARs with an additional revenue stream as a result of being able to offer a completely new product category.

However, one of the issues this presents is that many tablets offer relatively low margins.

With demand increasing, the channel is looking for other ways to capitalise on the trend whilst increasing profitability of its tablet sales. One area is the infrastructure needed to support their use. For checking emails and surfing the internet when away from a desktop PC, they provide an obvious solution. However, for more complex tasks, such as drafting long emails, or working for extended periods, the lack of a physical keyboard can affect productivity. Equally, their fragile nature and the lack of built-in cases, means they are much more prone to damage than a traditional laptop.

Organisations may not be prepared for the negative impact this could have on productivity. What many currently aren’t aware of – and where resellers can provide valuable advice – is the existence of a “user interface gap” resulting from the lack of a physical keyboard and pointing devices such as a mouse or stylus. Having the right peripherals can boost productivity by expanding both usage and the range of tablet tasks.

Resellers should also be able to advise their customers on the right way to implement a tablet deployment. Without the necessary infrastructure in place, employees may struggle to be fully productive when using them. For example, they need to be able to access mission critical applications, with the levels of security that are expected on laptops and desktops.

Ultimately, being able to provide the complete ecosystem around tablets provides resellers with an opportunity to augment their existing revenue streams. Peripherals can provide much better margins than the tablets they accompany. If a tablet only offers a margin of a couple of percent, compared to a tablet case or a keyboard, which offers margins of 10-20 percent, resellers are better able to turn the demand to their advantage.

The rise of the tablet is inevitable, especially with pressure from board members and staff alike. By providing the right support, both in terms of advice and peripherals, resellers can ensure they are in the best position to take advantage of the business tablet revolution.

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Image: Shutterstock

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