"Surface" Blog Series - Why Aren’t We Supporting the Surface Pro 3?

By Sheri Martinez posted 03-09-2015 17:43


At conference last August in Nashville, I was blown away during one of the session in seeing all of the capabilities and benefits of the Surface Pro 3 and left the session asking myself one question: “Why aren’t we supporting the Surface Pro 3?” 

All of us in legal technology know that attorneys want the ability to work from anywhere at any time and that mobility is essential to serving our client’s needs.  As more attorneys move away from laptops and want a single device that provides a similar interface with ease of use and portability, the Surface Pro 3, in my opinion, deserves a hard look as the go-to device for our attorneys and a cost and resource effective tool for our firm and the IT department.

My firm has purchased a few Surfaces Pro 3’s so that the IT department can test and explore the benefits and administration of the Surface Pro 3.  Due to pending and ongoing projects and needed upgrades, we haven’t gotten as far as I would have liked to by this time; but from this point forward, we will be able to move along with proving that the Surface Pro 3 is the tool that will be most effective in creating the best mobile environment for our attorneys and staff. 

My first objections were from our IT Security department.  But, my response is -- since the Surface Pro 3 can be joined to active directory, it can be managed just like our other machines with group policies and other security tools.  So, I should have that debate wrapped up soon as I begin testing and configuring our proof of concept.

I know it will be a journey to test and setup this proof of concept, but I’m certain that I can demonstrate that we can and should be supporting the Surface as the best and most effective mobility tool for our attorneys.   The pros of supporting the Surface Pro 3 are many, but the following is just a highlight of positive points of deploying the Surface:

·       The Surface Pro 3 will support the same applications that we currently deploy on our firm desktops.  So, mobile users will not have to learn different applications to perform work while away from the firm as they do on other tablets (i.e. iPads, etc.).  With the Surface, all of the same editing tools, comparison tools, and communication tools with which our attorneys are already familiar can be used.  This should save time and resources for both our mobile users, as well as, our support and training staffs.

·       The Surface can be managed the same as our desktops with the same group policies and security tools that current laptops use. 

·       We can employ the same software deployment tools and patching tools as we currently use.

·       Yes, the Surface Pro 3 has a newer operating system (Windows 8.1) than we currently support and train our users, but that should be a small learning curve for most users. 

·       The Surface Pro 3 has several features that will assist in users learning Windows 8.1 and also aid in using the device.  These include touch screen and the Microsoft Pen.  There are also accessories that will contribute to ease of use when in the office, such as the docking station which allows for dual monitors, as well as the ability to connect a standard keyboard, mouse, etc.

To me it is a no-brainer to suggest that the Surface Pro 3 will be the best choice for a mobile user at our firm.  Just the fact that I can use full-blown versions of Outlook and Word (and not a pseudo app) makes me happy and more efficient.  As with all new technology, we have a lot to learn, but I am excited to setup the test environment at our firm.  In the coming weeks and months, I will be working on creating an image for my firm to use with Surface Pro 3’s.  Also, in the coming months, I, along with other members of the Applications & Desktop Coordinating Team, will be posting more discussion of our adventures in testing, deploying and administering Surface Pro 3’s in our firms.  Stay tuned for many additional discussions that will share what we are learning as we go down this path.


03-31-2015 09:33

Sheri, we're also testing within IS. A big challenge has been Windows 8's adoption within the Enterprise. I agree that the Surface Pro 3 is a very promising device for lawyers.

03-16-2015 16:37

Lisa, at this time in our testing, we are focusing on the desktop versions of our production desktop applications. I agree that the metro versions could be useful, but my focus is to give mobile users the same look and feel as they do from their current desktop/laptop which is Windows 7. So I too, am always using the classic desktop version of the applications.

03-13-2015 10:48

Excellent post Sheri. I am also personally testing a Surface Pro 3 for use with our legal specific applications. I'm curious - are you installing metro versions as well as the client versions. For instance eDOCS has a metro version - I can see some value but find I will always go back to the 'desktop' version.