Mobile device procurement is more than just deciding which version of tablet to buy for your company’s sales team.
The procurement strategy needs to begin with an understanding of the business imperative. As Gartner explains, digitalization = computing everywhere: Digitalization is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value producing opportunities.
This strategy will play a large role in how your company moves forward with technology; it can be a huge success or a huge burden that wastes company resources.
You must understand what your business units require to perform their tasks at the highest level. From there, we can dive into the technology and have the business units’ requirements in mind as we review each component of a device, including:
- Operating systems
- Device capabilities
- Application availability and software availability for potential devices that will be added to the enterprise program
- Device lifecycle management
Does the IT department choose which mobile system they’ll support and do they fully understand the business requirements to make a solid selection for one operating system (OS) over another?
Mobile operating systems are not all alike. Leaving out the personal preferences of iOS vs. Android vs. Windows, there are different features and specialized functions of each that may help or hinder your company operations.
What’s being used today and how is that working? Shall we leave well enough alone or is there a better alternative for what the business wants to do? How can the technology help you get there? These discussions are bigger than an OS conversation, it’s a business conversation.
Your employees will not tolerate using one device for work and one for their personal lives – at least not where mobile phones are concerned. Understanding which devices are an ideal fit for your enterprise, and which will please your employees, is a major piece of the discussion.
Add to that, each month, original equipment manufacturers are releasing new devices and not all of them are appropriate for the enterprise. It is also important to understand that many of the devices in the market today are built for the consumer/basic user. The components (processors) inside a device play a role in how a device functions and operates. Can the home/base user model support running business-specific applications? In most cases, the answer is no.
Another trend to consider is tablets vs. laptops. Tablets are growing more and more powerful with each release, and if they are a better fit and cheaper than a full-fledged laptop, perhaps this is the right choice to make. How do you decide? Again, refer back to the business goals.
With new devices launching each month, it can be a monumental task to keep up on which are right for your company. You certainly wouldn’t want to invest your money in technology that is going to be quickly outdated or withdrawn from the market six months from now. Will the newer device run older applications or business tools? What if your employees lose their device and need replacements?
Often, older devices are on sale as they are being discontinued. Sometimes, the cost savings can seem too good to pass up. You should take a pass because even if they are a price “too good to pass up” now, down the road it will be impossible to get replacement units. You’ll have to start your device selection process all over again. This makes a price that is “too good to pass up” worth passing on.
How are these devices going to be used? Do your field personnel need ruggedized devices? Is a long battery life more important as your teams are on the go for extended periods of time and not near charging stations? Do your applications require a specific amount of random access memory to run them efficiently? It is vital to be certain the hardware fits your company’s business needs.
Apps and Software
Has your IT team been hard at work developing a proprietary app for your company? Is that app in use now? What future devices will it work on (if any, cringe!)? Often, the developers have the best of intentions, but lack the foresight to understand future business unit requirements, deployments and device migration. When it comes to testing proprietary apps on new devices, does your IT team have the resources to conduct thorough testing?
The current mobile device management (MDM) software running to manage your enterprise mobility initiatives needs to support future devices that will be added to the network. Which MDM is best suited for the future of your company?
Mobile Device Lifecycle and the Experts
Managing device procurement on your own is difficult. It is larger than a device type or OS discussion, and needs to encompass an understanding of your business goals.
Typically, organizations lack the IT resources to back each implementation, and this can create delays. This negatively impacts your employees and customer satisfaction, as well as business operations and revenue. The viable alternative is to work with a single-source solution provider for your enterprise mobility needs. The experts understand the device market, take time to learn your business strategy and can advise on how technology can help you get to where you need to go, next quarter and into the future.
Learn what you need to know about which devices are on the market and appropriate for your company. Learn how CompuCom tackles device sourcing in our last blog post: Strategic Device Sourcing – Fantasy or the New Reality of Enterprise Mobility Management? Feel free to ask a question or post a comment below.