Imagine you need to deploy hundreds of mobile devices or tablets to your employees, and they need to have them in hand in a matter of weeks.
This is what a major retail chain was looking to do with its store staff and outside sales employees. The tablets would be used to improve store efficiencies, times and logistics of on-site users, while also helping in-store employees with their day-to-day tasks.
But once the devices were selected and purchased, the chain’s IT department faced the challenge of configuring every single device and kitting them to withstand the rigors of a demanding environment.
This was a difficult task for a small IT team whose main responsibility was to keep the stores, networks and IT infrastructure up and running. It was clear the IT department did not have the internal resources or required knowledge for a deployment of this size.
With hundreds of employees set to receive tablets, the IT department weighed its alternatives. They could try and do the entire kit and configure internally, or they could look into a single-source solution provider to handle the process for them.
Whichever option they chose, the vital tasks that had to be properly completed included:
- Meet and adhere to the project schedule
- Load all corporate-sanctioned applications and software onto each device
- Configure the devices to work with the corporate network
- Ensure the new tablets integrated with existing technology and mobility solutions
- Provide support services to employees who had issues or questions starting or operating their device
As the team discussed the pros and cons of each approach, they considered the following factors and requirements in their decision to partner with an expert.
Configuring a device can take between 35-45 minutes. Per device. If the IT department was to take this on, it would have to spend months of full-time work just to get the devices up and running. Not only does this delay the deployment considerably, but also it draws valuable IT resources away from more strategic projects.
On the other hand, a partner can work with a single-source solution provider who has the expertise to deploy large-scale mobile solutions through a holistic lifecycle approach. By configuring multiple devices at the same time, this can dramatically speed up the process while mitigating the risk of human error. Think about it, would you rather have someone handling hundreds of devices individually or hand an expert partner the entire set-up in one shot?
Working and Ready to Go Out-of-the-Box
As they were discussing the length of time required to configure the tablets, one member of the team suggested that employees could simply configure the devices themselves. This, they reasoned, would take the burden off the IT department and save time without requiring the help of a partner.
However, it quickly became clear that this approach may have some issues as well. Configuring a device is not simple, especially if you’re not overly tech-savvy. Plus, one of the security experts warned that improperly configured devices may open up vulnerabilities if security policies aren’t installed or employees don’t understand the risk of downloading unsanctioned apps.
Besides, no one really likes setting up a new device, especially when there’s actual work that needs to get done. Do you really want to frustrate your staff right after making such a large investment in technology?
Integrating with Existing Technology
Employees often need to connect quickly to the corporate network, especially in the retail setting. They’re answering questions from customers or viewing inventory or other information. Recently, the chain had also deployed mobile phones to many of their management staff. If the new tablets could not integrate with these existing phones, it would stop employees from doing their jobs and completely negate any of the intended benefits of the investment.
The IT department recognized that getting everything to work together was no easy task, and that it was critical to the overall success of the project. Rather than try to take it on themselves, they decided that a single-source solution provider with expertise in kitting and configuring new enterprise devices was the best choice.
An expert partner like this would be better able to manage the entire environment and handle the intricacies and complexities of integrating with a wide variety of equipment.
The End Result – A Seamless Enterprise Mobility Deployment
With hundreds of devices to roll out, the chain decided to leverage the scale, experience and expertise of a solution provider. This made it possible to kit, configure, test and deploy all the devices in a period of days, not months, and let the IT team focus on the next strategic initiative.
Done right, no one sees the effort that goes into this step of setting everything up. And that’s the point.
But done wrong, it’s a disaster that leads to frustration, a drop in productivity, and a massive jump in service desk calls as employees give up and turn to help. When deciding on the best approach, ask yourself: are you willing to take this chance?
A first step when thinking about your enterprise mobility efforts is to be sure the pricing is in line with your own company ROI. How much can you save by switching to the right Mobile Access Solution? Answer these 6 questions, and feel free to leave a comment or ask a question below.