“The uptake we’ve seen and the feedback we’ve received has been really encouraging. We’ll take all of this forward to shape how and what we roll out,” claimed civil servant Will van Rensburg, author of the blog post revealing details of the trials.
A “light-weight secure layer” device management system and portable 4G wi-fi were also included in testing.
Around 50 users were included in the study, who gave regular feedback on how the new tools affected their day-to-day working.
According to the Cabinet Office, the generally positive findings will inform new IT solutions going forward.
“Our users were extremely reluctant to return any of the equipment,” said Rensburg.
“Some of the clearest evidence of the difference the technology made came when we asked for the kit back – without exception, every team on the trial asked to keep the equipment beyond the trial end date,” he added.
Rensburg said Google’s answer to Microsoft Office was very helpful for a team who often collaborate on group presentations because it allowed them to work in sync, at faster speeds, from multiple locations in a much more efficient manner than they were used to.
However, users did say they encountered problems when attempting to work with anyone outside of the trials. According to Rensburg, this highlighted the need to make sure applications and file formats work together, but also to think about how this would work with people outside the Cabinet Office.
Respondents say they found the tablets to have “significant benefits” such as note-taking during meetings, using them to present work, carrying all their documents with them and the ability to work on the train.
Despite these benefits, many participants worried that their new devices wouldn’t actually help them work as the nature of their role doesn’t require them to move around a lot and they rely too heavily on laptop-based tools that tablets cannot match.
“Overall, we’re very happy with what we achieved during the trials,” said Rensburg.