After gaining traction in the education sector for years, the Chromebook has started to attract considerable attention in the business and enterprise world. According to data from Statista, Chromebook shipments nearly doubled year on year between 2019 and 2020.
Of course, a good chunk of that rapid growth can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mid-size and large-scale businesses needed to pivot quickly away from decades-old workplace models and equip their newly remote end users with cost-effective tools to remain productive. But what does it say about Chromebooks that they were the go-to choice for facilitating that pivot?
What’s driving the move toward the Chromebook enterprise?
It wasn’t too long ago that the “Chromebook enterprise” was considered a fanciful notion. Certain misnomers about Chromebooks—and their native operating system, the Linux-based ChromeOS—arose when the devices were still in the process of carving out their own unique technological form factor. And, unfortunately, some of those assumptions have persisted over the years.
The Mac, so the thinking ran, was for creatives. Chromebooks were for students. And Windows devices were for businesses.
However, some open-minded technology experts outside of the K–12 space started to recognize Chromebooks for what they are:
- More Cost-Effective: Largely due to ChromeOS, Chromebooks accomplish more with less. Whereas even laptop PCs need to be powered by beefy (and expensive) AMD Ryzen or Intel Core i5 processors to run Microsoft Windows and all its related software, Chromebooks can achieve the same level of performance with more budget-friendly specs, such as Intel Celeron CPUs. Being cloud based, they also don’t need the same amount of SSD storage space.
- Great for ROI: It isn’t just that Chromebooks have lower upfront costs. They introduce new efficiencies to IT as well because, through programs like the Chrome Enterprise Upgrade, an entire fleet of ChromeOS workspaces can be administered easily from a single console. Furthermore, some studies have shown that Chromebooks can save SMBs as much as 45% on software licensing costs alone.
- Longer Lasting: This applies in day-to-day use, as many end users report Chromebooks’ long battery life to be one of their most valued attributes. But it also applies to the lifetime of the device. Rather than being disposable, rapid-upgrade devices, Chromebooks actually maintain the same level of functionality over a longer period of time. That’s why it’s not uncommon to find a vintage Mac or PC struggling a lot more than a Chromebook of the same age.
- Secure by Design: ChromeOS has more than flexibility and efficiency going for it. It gives IT tight control over trusted apps, updates automatically to apply the latest patches and provides proactive protection against malware threats. These security features make Chromebooks some of the most secure devices available.
When it comes to connectivity, Chromebooks have also largely kept pace with their bulkier, pricier Windows PC cousins. Although barebones Chromebooks certainly exist, it’s not hard to find a Chromebook with all of the necessary business connectivity options like HDMI, current-gen Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, a webcam, IPS displays with Full HD (FHD) or higher resolution as well as UHD graphics, USB-C ports, a headphone jack and even a stylus and touchscreen. This menu of ports and specs enables end users to connect to a wide variety of detachable peripherals, further extending the functionality of their Chromebooks.
What’s the best Chromebook for your needs?
In the traditional laptop corner, you have trusted standbys like the Dell Latitude, the HP Elite series and the Lenovo ThinkPad. These brands and models are well known in the enterprise world and have generated a lot of loyalty on account of their durability and feature set.
But even if a handful of your end users are wedded to their ThinkPads for life, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find viable replacements for all or part of your fleet in options such as the Asus Chromebook line, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook line, the HP Chromebook line, the Lenovo Chromebook line, Google’s Pixelbook Go, the Acer Chromebook Spin series and many more from smaller-scale manufacturers.
Each range will bring its own inherent strengths and functionality, and the constant updates to their form factors and specs make any definitive recommendation difficult. Your best bet is simply to survey the Chromebook landscape (our go-to source for current Chromebook reviews and specs is Chrome Unboxed) just before you’re ready to purchase and make sure that your proposed devices offer the connectivity, warranty and price your organization is looking for. Need help determining which devices are right for your organizaiton’s specific use cases? Reach out to Cameyo here and we’ll connect you with one of our reseller partners who specialize in ChromeOS devices.
What barriers remain to Chromebook enterprise adoption?
With Chromebooks having matured into enterprise-grade devices and so many options to choose from, it seems like enterprise adoption would be virtually guaranteed across the board.
And yet there’s been a sticking point for IT when it comes to fully embracing ChromeOS: the ability to provide all of their users with seamless access to all of the apps (including Windows apps) they need to be productive on Chromebooks. Previously, this limitation ruled out ChromeOS for end users who needed to do hardware-intensive tasks like video editing — or even those who just needed to work with the desktop version of Microsoft Office.
Cameyo completely removes that limitation. Its Virtual App Delivery (VAD) solution clears the path for enterprises everywhere to finally make the shift to ChromeOS and not look back. With Cameyo, organizations of any size can provide their end users with access to desktop-class applications across their devices, Chromebooks included.
Let’s say, for example, a remote Chromebook user needs to work with the Windows version of Microsoft Excel on account of macros and compatibility. Through Cameyo’s Virtual App Delivery platform, that user can access their business-critical native Windows software right from within their ChromeOS workspace. Cameyo integrates seamlessly, as you’d expect from a Chrome Enterprise Recommended partner, so users can easily continue multitasking with their ChromeOS and Windows apps alongside one another, with nothing new to learn for your end-users.
Fortune 500 manufacturing company Sanmina utilized Cameyo to remove the roadblocks to Chromebook adoption, and is in the process of migrating it’s 30,000 employees to ChromeOS while giving them seamless access to all of their apps with Cameyo. The large Swedish consortium Klarahill leveraged Cameyo to transition to Chromebooks without sacrificing support for legacy Windows apps — and reduced their remote desktop costs by 85% in the process. Retailer Ur&Penn deployed Cameyo to smooth their transition from Windows PCs to Chromebooks by maintaining effortless access to their essential Windows software. And the list goes on and one (see more case studies here).
The takeaway to all this? When paired with Cameyo, any Chromebook can be the best Chromebook for your organization. There’s no compromise in functionality because the operating system is no longer a limitation. Your end users enjoy all the cost, security, and manageability benefits of Chromebooks plus the advantages of working with all of their full-featured desktop Windows, Linux, and other apps.
And it’s easier than you think to get started. Sign up for your free trial of Cameyo today to begin testing its Virtual App Delivery platform right away. If you have questions that need answering beforehand, that’s fine too. Simply schedule a demo to have one of our engineers take you through the basics and show you how Cameyo bridges the enterprise gap between ChromeOS and your essential Windows software.