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How to evaluate mobility solutions and find what’s best for you...

How to evaluate mobility solutions and find what’s best for you...

There’s no doubting the need for enterprises to mobilise if they want to remain competitive and effective in today’s business environment. Mobile and mounted computers, tablets and wearable solutions are no longer ‘nice to haves’, they are essential business assets.

The current minimum expectation is that a business be connected and visible. Not only internally, but externally too, allowing partners and customers – even potential clients- to obtain real-time information and updates.

Making the move towards a mobility solution however can be a daunting process. The right decision can be a game-changer, but a poorly thought out, ill-fitting system can turn out to be an expensive mistake.

On a positive note, you don’t need to have a huge IT resource to embark upon your mobilisation journey, just a thorough and systematic approach to the entire evaluation process.

First things first…

Why is it so essential to adopt a mobility solution?

Aside from the needs of your customers, would-be customers and other stakeholders, your enterprise itself needs the benefits of a mobility solution.

In order to improve productivity, harness innovations and ensure agility in ever-changing times, you must remove all of the historical obstacles which are holding you back. Whether it’s error-ridden paper processes, old devices with limited capability and unsuitable functionality or outdated technology with poor security, these ‘barriers to growth’ need to be addressed if your business is to succeed.

Choice can sometimes be distracting

The mobility solutions market is a crowded one. Choice is fantastic, but it can also be the enemy of change and lead to procrastination simply due to the overwhelming number of options.

It is essential to establish exactly what your perfect mobility solution looks like. What do you need and what are the non-negotiable features versus the ones which are simply good to have? This is arguably the most important stage of the process so make comprehensive lists and check them twice! Some systems may even offer far more functions that you’ll actually ever use so make sure you remove the ‘don’t need’ options from your final line up.

In-depth homework will pay dividends

Thankfully you also have a wide choice of sources for research. Technical press articles, analysis reports, case studies and product reviews should be readily available, and these will provide valuable insight into what might be best for you.

Construct your wish list based upon the real-life needs of your enterprise and consider: -

  • Operating system
  • Security needs
  • Communication route
  • Existing systems to be connected
  • Needs of operators – input and display type
  • Ruggedness
  • Maintenance requirements

With research done and true needs established, make a shortlist of suppliers then look more deeply into their particular offering, comparing lead times, installation capability, technical support, failure rates. In short, pre-empt the potential pain points which could be both costly and frustrating.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a demo and actually test run some units on site to allow employee feedback. This is a great way to evaluate the systems but will also highlight any gaps in performance or reporting accuracy. Prior to the test, have your ‘mobility solution project team’ in place so that you can gather every piece of valuable input and capitalise on any learnings.

Costing is a whole project in itself

The cost of ownership is about so much more than the capital outlay for the hardware and software. There’s implementation, service, maintenance, maybe even licensing. Be meticulous in your financial assessment and understand the true size of budget which will have to be committed.

No one likes unpleasant surprises and it’s much more difficult to get buy-in when those in charge of the purse strings feel like they have been left out of the loop. Introduce your mobility solution project to all major stakeholders at the earliest possible opportunity – it may provide some additional valuable insights and it will certainly ensure that you don’t do your time consuming research for nothing.

Evaluating and implementing an effective mobility solution is not something to be scared of. Provided that it is approached in the right manner and important steps aren’t short-circuited, you can achieve exactly what you wanted to (perhaps even more) within your desired budget and avoid expensive pitfalls.

Of course, PLM Global are here to support you through the entire process. We can offer invaluable advice based upon our extensive experience and our focussed specialism in the supply, repair and maintenance of hand-held capture devices, mobile print and EPoS hardware. Visit https://plm-global.co.uk/pages/services to find out more.

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