For our Forrsights Workforce survey, Forrester annually surveys information workers.* I’m leading final preparation of our Forrsights Workforce survey focused on end user hardware and aimed at five major markets – the US, Canada, the UK, France, and Germany. By end user hardware, we primarily mean PC/Macs, tablets, and smartphones, but we may also focus a bit on peripherals. And we hope to mirror some of the questions from the Forrsights IT Hardware survey, which we develop after this one, so that we can compare results from this information worker survey to what IT buyers report in their survey. Analyst Heidi Shey is working on the other half of the survey, which will focus on security issues.

Below are the hypotheses and topics we plan to explore in the survey. Please give them a quick read, then post or email feedback by Friday, April 12 (Tuesday, April 16 at the very latest). If you are a Forrester client and would like to see a survey draft, please email your account rep and me.

These are statements of ideas we are planning to test in the survey questions, which are designed to confirm or disprove the idea. But we probably can’t fit all of these, so please help us prioritize – especially if you are a Forrsights Workforce client!

Info workers:

Multi-device use

  • Have multiple devices used for work, including many that are personally chosen and/or owned; they spend significant money on devices used regularly for work; and they expect to continue doing so.
  • Often blend work and personal tasks on the same device, despite employer policies to the contrary.
  • Have a core set of devices they use regularly and a broader set of devices they use occasionally for work, such as using a home PC to check email.
  • Have begun to develop strategies for accessing their data from multiple devices.

OS and platform preference

  • Use lots of Apple and Android devices but have a significant interest in using Windows 8 on their next tablet, but not for their next PC.
  • Are not very interested in Windows Phone.
  • Aren’t yet very conscious of choosing all or most devices from the same vendor (all Google, or Microsoft, or Apple).
  • Aren’t very aware of Google Chromebook/box and aren’t very interested in them.

Peripherals and new technologies

  • Aren’t very aware of new technologies such as SSDs.
  • Are printing less and differently because of mobile devices.
  • Aren’t interested in using video chat for work, unless they’ve had great experiences with it.

Evolution of tablets and PCs – cannibalization?

  • See tablets as a new category of specialized devices that can sometimes or often substitute for laptops, but are not full PC replacements.
  • Want a better way to transition between working on a tablet and working at a desk on a PC.
  • Like tablets because of the new usage scenarios, rather than because they are better PCs.
  • Do care about compatibility with Microsoft Office – but that existing iPad owners have found sufficient workarounds so that they don’t see it as a deal-breaker.
  • Like the idea of touch on a conventional laptop but not on a desktop display and won’t pay extra for it.
  • Are skeptical of convertible laptops that have a touch mode but are intrigued by truly mobile tablets that can be attached to a keyboard.

What topic areas are we missing? What hypotheses or questions should we change or add?

Thanks very much for sending your feedback.

*In our definition, information workers are employees who work 15 hours a week or more who use a smart device for work an hour or more per day.