Are Advisors Using Tablets To Replace Their Computers? Let's Separate The Hype About Tablets From The Truth

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 20:41
Are Advisors Using Tablets To Replace Their Computers? Let's Separate The Hype About Tablets From The Truth

Tags: tablet

When I go to conferences or meet with advisors lately, I notice more advisors toting tablets. But are they replacing their laptops?

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Though I’m seeing more advisors using tablets, I’m not hearing about advisors replacing their laptops with tablets, and I don’t think can.

What got me thinking about this is that yesterday I posted about a Nielsen study that found 35% of tablet owners who also owned a desktop computer reported using their desktop less often or not at all, while 32% of those who also owned laptops said they used their laptop less often or never since acquiring a tablet.
Nielsen’s findings make it sound like tablets are replacing computers, but I am not so convinced. It’s hype.
While I believe advisors might be using their laptops and desktops less after buying a tablet, I do not believe many advisors are giving up using a desktop or laptop.
Most RIAs use desktop apps for portfolio reporting and CRM. While you could access those apps using your tablet, I doubt many advisors have made that adjustment. If you have, let me know.
Advisors who own tablets are undoubtedly using them to access email and the Web. That’s mostly what advisors are doing with tablets. It is an important distinction to understand in separating the hype from the truth.
My guess is that, if Nielsen surveyed people to ask if they use their computers less after buying a smartphone, the survey would get about the same results as asking people about the tablet’s impact on their desktop and laptop usage.   
For advisors to access their practice management apps, the vast majority must use their laptop or desktop. Hence, I can’t imagine that too many advisors have made the leap to being all-tablet all-the-time. If you have, let me know.
For advisors to stop using their laptops and desktops, we’ll need to see many more advisors switching to Web-based practice management systems. And even if that happened tomorrow, most web-based advisor apps have not built tablet-friendly interfaces. While some advisors apps (Orion, Redtail, and Salesforce have released iPad apps), most have not done so and those that do have a tablet interface often have only limited access to full apps.
That will change in the next two or three years as advisors apps build HTML 5 interfaces, but most of the tech vendors serving advisors are not there yet.
Incidentally, I’m not a tablet owner yet. But I bought my daughter an iPad 2 last week and it really is hard to resist getting one for myself. My laptop is ultra portable, however, and I own an HTC Thunderbolt Android phone with a 4.3” screen and 1GHz processor. So I’ll hold out till September or October when iPad 3 debuts and some other new models will be released.
Please let me know what you think. 


Comments (9)

We have seen the iPad replace some functions of the laptop but certainly not all. The most common function being replaced other than email is the use of the tablet at client meetings, primarily for note taking and presentations. There is however a new breed of tablets hitting the market that come with the windows7 OS, I beleive these slates will replace the need for an iPad and a Laptop combo.
BrianEdelman , May 11, 2011
I just got the IPad2 and love it, but you are right. I only use it for email, internet and calendar. I still need my laptop to login to my office computer to access our AXYs and Junxure systems.
laurend248 , May 11, 2011
when I can run two 27" monitors and multi-task on an IPad, then maybe it'll replace my super fast, i7 quad-core, loaded with RAM, and oh, a decent set of speakers, workstation.

Coming in June, right?
vguettlein , May 11, 2011
I can VPN into the office and access our Windows Server from my iPad via a remote desktop session. I can run virtually any application necessary (e.g. CRM, MS Office). While it is not quite as efficient as access via the laptop, it's not that far off. The amount of time needed for bootup/login for the iPad vs the laptop bridges the gap when I only need to access the office for a few minutes.
jakridge , May 11, 2011
does anyone have thoughts on IPad vs MacBook Air?
vguettlein , May 11, 2011
I own an iPad which are used for nonbusiness purposes such as surfing the web and occasional e-mail. I recently purchased a Playbook and I like its multifunction ability. It is a serious tablet and a great companion to my phone. I can envision not taking my laptop on an overnight trip since I can now look at and edit attachments. I still would like a regular keyboard.
bobr561 , May 12, 2011
For data comparing use of iPad v Mac Air, see
agluck , May 12, 2011
here's how to make your IPad REALLY sexy:
vguettlein , May 12, 2011
I bought the Zagg case and keyboard recommended by vguettlein in comment above. So cool! I bought it for my daughter but now want it for myself. Waiting for a BlackBerry QNX or next gen ipad.
agluck , May 27, 2011

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