So you’ve chosen the right mobile devices – procured, configured and provisioned them – and now they’re ready to be delivered to the end users. With the strategic part of your new enterprise mobility solution wrapped up, it feels as though you are home free. After all, how hard can it be to get the devices shipped out and delivered?
Ultimately, the deployment phase is where the nuts and bolts really play a key role. End users are typically happy with what they know works for them, so they need a seamless transition to new devices and applications. Otherwise, you can easily lose credibility, along with end users’ willingness to use new devices and apps.
A recent report from Strategy Analytics demonstrated just how important enterprise mobility solutions are to businesses. They estimate that the global market for mobility will be worth more than $140 billion by 2020. But any benefits from these investments can quickly unravel due to a simple mistake during the deployment phase.
So before you relax, you need to ask yourself – are you really equipped to manage the deployment of hundreds or thousands of devices to end users in various locations? Do you have the ability to inventory them until they can be delivered, track them to identify any delays or lost shipments, and handle any unexpected issues down the road? And can you provide 24/7 support once they’re in the hands of end users?
All of the strategic work up until now was done to give end users the best possible mobile experience. But for it to be worth anything, you need to make sure the devices get to the users without any delays or issues. However, preparing thousands of devices to be shipped and delivering them on time can be a real challenge, especially in enterprises with multiple offices located around the world.
You need to ensure that devices are delivered to the right end users or else all of the work to provision and configure them will have gone to waste. And, you need to be able to track shipments to identify delays or lost items. It often takes a team of logistics experts to handle a deployment of this scale, and placing that responsibility on your IT staff who have other responsibilities can be an overwhelming experience.
One of the biggest challenges for enterprises is storing the devices once they’ve procured them. Many typically buy all of the devices they require upfront to take advantage of volume discounts or reduce the risk of not having them available when needed. Not only does this inventory tie up capital that could be used elsewhere, but also it incurs storage costs that quickly wipe out any upfront savings and increases the likelihood that devices will end up sitting on a shelf until they become obsolete. And since the warranty usually begins when the devices are purchased, not when they are delivered, you end up using up the warranty period before the end users have the devices in their hands.
3) Ongoing Requirements and Maintenance
Deployment is not a one-off project, especially in enterprises with a large number of end users. Once the initial rollout is complete, there will always be users who need replacement devices, parts or repairs. And when a device isn’t working, you’re not getting a return on your investment. This means your IT department needs to be able to handle these requests quickly and effectively while still taking care of their day-to-day work and preparing for the next strategic initiative. End users need to know where to turn and who to contact for 24/7 support services, and they need to be able to speak with someone who has the training and expertise to handle any request. Plus, what will you do if the device is discontinued by the manufacturer or the needs of the business shift to require new capabilities? Without a plan in place, your IT team will be left to figure out a new solution on the fly.
Don’t Underestimate the Deployment Phase of your Enterprise Mobility Solution
Deployment may seem like a nuts-and-bolts process compared to the strategic work that was done up until this point, but it’s still the most critical phase and one that has the potential to derail the entire project if taken for granted. Any mistake can lead to delays or budget overruns that quickly eat up any expected savings, and it can make the difference between satisfied end users and frustrated ones. Now is the time to execute on all of the planning, strategizing and effort that went into your investment – make sure you are able to get the best results possible.
Read how one enterprise rolled out hundreds of devices in days, and please ask a question or post a comment below to share your experiences.