Businesses need to write more useful tablet apps for their staff, according to analyst house Ovum.

With the launch of Apple's latest iPad, and RIM's Playbook seeking to now carve a larger business niche, Ovum published new research on enterprise tablets.

Richard Absalom, an analyst at the company, said: "Providing a range of customised applications that make use of tablet functionalities for employees in specific job roles is a good way to gain maximum value from tablets. The growing use of in-house app stores indicates that more and more companies are going down this custom development route."

But Ovum also cautioned businesses against using tablets as laptop replacements for the majority of information workers. While they are useful where data presentation and "consumption" is concerned, tablets' form factor and touchscreen make using everyday productivity applications such as spreadsheets and word processors difficult, it said.

But using line-of-business tablet applications specifically designed for particular roles within an organisation "can provide real value".

Ovum forecasts there will be over 235 million tablets in circulation by 2016, although it says many organisations are adopting tablets simply to appease top employees' desires for the latest technology, rather than considering the real business case.

Absalom said: "The CEO or another C-level executive gets hold of an iPad for their personal use and decides that they want to be able to use it in the office. It is hard for the IT department to say no when it is the CEO making the demand, so this opens up the path to further adoption throughout the organisation."

According to iPass, a provider of mobility services for enterprises and telcos, tablet adoption in the enterprise has grown to 64 percent in 2012 from 41 percent in the second quarter of 2011. iPass questioned over 1,800 mobile enterprise employees at 1,100 enterprises worldwide for a survey on mobile working.