Chromebooks haven’t exactly disrupted the enterprise or consumer markets, but they resemble a category of devices that has: tablets. And, as many organizations stop to consider where tablets may fit into their employee device mix, Forrester’s J.P. Gownder argues that Chromebooks should receive the same treatment. In a new report, Gownder explains that while Chromebooks aren’t right for every organization, or every worker within an organization, they can fill valuable niches for particular use cases.

Overall, 28% of enterprises have some interest in Chromebooks, but, when the same question is asked about tablets, the interest level rises to 82%. Despite this lag, Forrester’s research has shown that there are a number of circumstances where Chromebooks may trump PCs, Macs, or tablets for an organization:

  • Organizations willing to segment their workforces by offering Chromebooks to specific classes of workers in a mixed environment with PCs and tablets.
  • Organizations that have adopted Gmail and/or Google Apps.
  • Organizations that are deploying the devices in a customer-facing (think kiosk) scenario.

Under these circumstances, organizations stand to benefit greatly from a switch to Chromebooks. In a blog post, Gownder writes, “Chromebooks offer the prospect of radically reducing the amount of time IT staff spends ‘keeping the lights on’ for devices. As one IT leader told me, ‘Instead of spending time installing software on laptops or creating images, I’d rather have my desktop services people work on implementation of technologies related to location awareness or 3D printing.’ The CIO of another company added, ‘I want to get out of the laptop business.’ Chromebooks offer high uptime, low service costs, and scalable deployment of new web-based applications and content.”