Many companies hang onto their existing mobile computing devices (and technology) for as long as possible. Devices are expensive, and IT leaders are paid to determine a solution in-house whenever possible. After a certain point though, it makes more sense strategically, operationally, and financially to invest in new technology. Here are 8 reasons you should upgrade today.
Mobile Device End of Life or End of Service
Every year, mobile device equipment manufacturers introduce new technology. New devices from Honeywell, Datalogic, and Cipherlab continue to push the envelope for data capture, automation, and IoT. Their primary focus is innovation. Your business relies on you to choose the best solution every 3-5 years. Once an OEM ends support for a device, this can have a significant impact on companies that depend on mobile equipment in their day-to-day operations.
When an OEM stops supporting a mobile device, companies can still work with a third-party service provider to manage and repair the equipment. Over time, however, parts are harder and more expensive to source, causing the total cost of ownership to become greater than the costs to replace the devices with current technology.
New Data and Key Performance Metrics Requirements
Many industries have already gained operational and strategic advantage from deploying cutting edge devices, sensors, and IoT solutions which offer amazing data insights and uncover opportunities to improve the bottom line which may not have previously considered.
The transportation and logistics industry, for example, is an early adopter of onboard transportation management systems (TMS). Carlton recently partnered with a major trucking company to migrate and deploy new technology in more than 7,000 trucks.
At the time, the trucking company had been using 5,000 mobile devices to track cargo during loading and offloading to support proof of delivery and to optimize delivery routes. While this handheld technology served some of their needs, the company recognized an opportunity to upgrade to an onboard TMS and improve their metrics as well.
The new TMS devices enabled the transportation company to:
- Measure engine performance, such as idling and revving times
- Determine when trucks required maintenance
- Calculate cost-efficient refueling routes based on real-time fuel prices
- Shorten delivery timelines through more optimized route scheduling
Companies are expected to increase profits, and leaders in IT and Operations are realizing the potential in better data capture. In order to get there, the technology needs to fit into the puzzle.
Devices are Actually Hurting Production
The impact of poorly operating mobile devices, especially device failures, on operational efficiencies is a well-documented phenomenon. When goods can’t be packed and shipped, money is lost and customer loyalty takes a beating. Keeping mobile equipment in good working order is essential and can stave off the need to upgrade.
Your manufacturing data and employee uptime can help decide when it is time to considering upgrading your mobile devices rather than continuing to repair devices that no longer fit the bill. More often than not, it’s worth it to take a critical review at how frequently your mobile devices are experiencing errors, freeze-outs, and total failures. The results are often eye-opening.
An impartial, trusted third party who can help you compare options and pick the devices best suited for your operating environment and future plans is best for a long-term win (rather than a temporary band-aid).
BYOD: Bring Your Own Device
The “Consumerization of Business” means workers prefer to use their own devices on the job. On the plus side, BYOD programs generally shift costs to the user including most, or all the costs for the hardware, voice and/or data services. This can save the company as much as $80 per month per device depending on the licensing setup.
Conversely, companies have a difficult time with their BYOD usage policy, sanctioned security guidelines, and application guidelines. Concerns regarding data breaches or virus attacks in a BYOD environment, if the technology is not implemented correctly off the bat, are also extremely valid.
Consider a solution in the middle where a familiar form factor is used to appease your employees while hosted on your enterprise IT infrastructure. This way, your data is secure and your employees are productively using a device they are comfortable with in a protected environment. Mobile device management has come a long way.
Enterprise-Wide OS Upgrades
Android OS enabled devices are about to become a necessity in every vertical and supply chain. The 2020 end of support deadline for Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and Windows CE operating systems is rapidly approaching!
The ability to install custom, in-house applications and programs is easier on Android OS as well.
The third common catalyst for an OS switch? Workforce demographics. A younger workforce has an inherent familiarity with iOS and Android devices, as they’ve used them for years. Think about all the training costs you save when the OS is already familiar for order pickers, truck drivers, and retail associates.
In many cases, companies base their mobile equipment decisions on larger business needs, such as migrating from one enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to another. While some companies plan for ERP migrations years in advance, others might discover an immediate need to upgrade because of a merger or acquisition, which creates system incompatibilities between the legacy and newer technologies.
Companies that are planning to migrate to a new ERP system or upgrade their existing system must evaluate their mobile devices to ensure compatibility, so this is another very common reason for a device upgrade.
Changing Regulatory Requirements
Companies in heavily regulated industries like finance, healthcare, and hazardous materials have to ensure mobile devices stay compliant with changing requirements. As these regulations change, companies might find their mobile technology is no longer compliant.
For example, changes in PCI compliance might require companies that capture credit and debit card information to upgrade mobile devices to meet higher levels of data transfer encryption. Expanding HIPAA regulations might mean upgrading mobile equipment to ensure the safe transfer of medical records and health information. Companies that transport hazardous materials might need to refresh mobile equipment to remain compliant with recent changes to GHS’s global labeling standards.
#1 Reason for Upgrading Mobile Devices
Mobile equipment is mission-critical. Understanding the triggers behind a mobile device upgrade is essential for optimizing equipment performance and efficiencies in your operation. The #1 reason for upgrading enterprise technology is a lack of resources to properly manage thousands of devices.
Think of how many internal stakeholders and external vendors are needed to get a new technology roll out in place. Sending devices to the manufacturer can take weeks to repair and cost a fortune. New devices purchased from eBay aren’t configured for your specific needs. If the initial implementation is poor, due to trying to keep costs down or lack of experience – you end up paying double after just a few years for new devices and a redesign of the whole system.
It’s important to work with a trusted partner who can help you find the right technology mix. A good partner will guide you through the device procurement and asset management process over the entire mobile device and technology lifecycle. No technology solution is perfectly future proof, but a partner with 20 years of experience and the best technicians in the game can help you get very close.