Few aspects of a mobile computer deployment are as easy to understand – or misunderstand – as the total cost of ownership (TCO). It is easy tocalculate the purchase price of the hardware and license fees but when the initial cost analysis is complete companies often find themselves wondering why their IT operations, support and software maintenance costs keep going up.
Choosing the right mobile devices in terms of reliability, battery life, upgradeability, device features and ruggedness can have a big impact on the TCO of a mobile computer deployment as the cost to support and secure mobile and wireless devices rockets each time a device needs attention.
Selecting rugged devices over consumer-type PDAs can significantly lower TCO. On average, ruggedised computers last five years whereas 80 per cent of consumer devices have to be replaced after three. Non-rugged PDAs are also more prone to breaking down as they are designed to be light and compact. Ruggedised computers are developed for enterprise needs and built to withstand the bumps and knocks such devices suffer in the field.
But as well as ensuring you select the correct mobile equipment, there is also software on the market that can help lower the TCO of your mobile computer deployment. Device management software (DMS) can help cut labour costs and boost productivity by freeing IT staff to do their work without the time, effort and cost required for physical contact with the devices they manage.
DMS can keep track of a company’s investment in mobile devices by allowing real time visibility of mobile devices’ status and availability. If a device is unavailable for an extended time, the DMS alerts IT staff. By comparing devices with a list of predetermined properties and settings the DMS can monitor and control which devices have components that need to be updated.
DMS can also help maximise productivity by keeping software applications running and in optimal working condition. Updates, upgrades and other maintenance can be automatically pushed out to users by device management software without interrupting work.
As companies embrace mobile technologies, the need to contain costs while supporting an expanding base of users and devices becomes a big challenge. Choosing the correct mobile devices and employing management technology such as DMS can make a big contribution towards extending the life and usability of mobile devices, as well as lowering the overall total cost of ownership.
Stuart Scott is senior director, international marketing, for Intermec Technologies.