Many companies have a “run it into the ground” attitude when it comes to their mobile devices.
Just because an OEM stops providing software upgrades, repair, or tech support for the device doesn’t mean you have to send it to an early grave.
OEMs sunset mobile devices for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s no longer profitable, or perhaps the OEM plans to release a new and improved model.
Regardless of the reason, the decision to stop supporting a device can have a significant impact on those companies who depend on the equipment in their day-to-day operations.
As long as the mobile technology continues to meet your operation’s needs, there are a variety of ways to keep it in service long after the OEM pulls the plug.
Is the Technology Still Viable?
A common mistake that companies make is to evaluate device performance in a vacuum, rather than taking a holistic view.
For example, while auditing its equipment, an IT department might decide to change its wireless infrastructure, which can indirectly affect those using the mobile device. Therefore, it’s important to evaluate how all of your departments are using the equipment, how it connects to the network, and how a change can impact the rest of the organization.
Before making the decision to extend the life of discontinued technology, first determine whether the device is still viable in your environment. Carefully review the equipment reports from the OEM or your device repair partner and evaluate repair incidences, failure rates, and downtime. Some questions you might ask while evaluating equipment:
- Are you constantly sending out the equipment for repair?
- Are you experiencing significant “second-time” repairs, in which equipment comes back still not working properly?
If you experience either of these scenarios, determine whether the root problem lies with your technology or your service provider. If the mobile device is the issue, it might be time for an upgrade.
Security compliance requirements are another indicator that the technology may not be worth keeping in service. Sometimes simply updating the software makes an older device compliant, but if an upgrade is not feasible, it might be time to transition to another mobile device.
Switching from an OEM to a Third-Party Provider
If you decide to keep end-of-life equipment in service, you’ll need to find a third-party service provider to take over device repair and management from the OEM.
Before your OEM’s maintenance contract expires, direct them to examine all of your devices, ensure they are in good working order and are configured to meet the current standard. This gives your new service provider a fresh starting point and provides a good baseline for measuring their performance going forward.
Another best practice is to discuss your objectives, software requirements, and configuration needs with any prospective service partner before transitioning your device. By setting expectations early, you can confirm they’re able to support all of your needs and will be a good fit for your company.
Selecting the Right Service Provider
There is no shortage of mobile device service providers who can help extend the life of your equipment, but not all of these providers offer the same expertise, skill sets, equipment, or resources. Since your service provider will manage your mission-critical devices, it’s important that you trust them and that they have a strong reputation in the industry. As you compare prospective partners, be sure to evaluate the following areas:
Industry knowledge and equipment experience. Does the company already support the type of equipment you use? Are they familiar with the software requirements and can they easily procure repair parts?
Future support. Supporting your end-of-life equipment is one thing, but can the same company also provide and/or support new or refurbished equipment should you decide to refresh your technology down the road or augment your current mix of devices?
Customer feedback. Be sure to talk to a prospective partner’s current customers to get candid feedback about their track record, strengths, and weaknesses.
Try before you buy. Ask if the company would provide a demonstration or a trial period so you can see how they operate and understand their process firsthand before you transition your end-of-life devices.
When to Pull the Plug
At some point, you might decide it’s time to retire a mobile device that has reached end-of-life because the technology no longer meets your needs or becomes too expensive to support. In this case, explore options to recapture part of your technology investment.
Check with your mobile device service provider to see if they offer an equipment buy-back program. Those that have such a program will either purchase your end-of-life technology or give you credit toward replacement devices to support a refresh.
Remember, you don’t always need to purchase new equipment from an OEM. A trusted service provider can recommend certified pre-owned technology to meet your needs at a fraction of the cost. They can also work with you to upgrade your end-of-life technology over time to lessen the financial impact of a large refresh.
No technology lasts forever, but an OEM’s decision to stop supporting a particular device doesn’t mean you have to stop using it. If an end-of-life device still meets your needs, a service provider like Carlton can keep it working in peak condition for years to come.