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Mobile devices can help make workforces more productive and helpful to customers, but rolling out these devices across a large enterprise can add up to a significant investment. Especially in today’s challenging economic environment, it is essential for mobile users to better manage their ROI and reduce the TCO of their mobile equipment.

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  1. 1. 5 Strategies to Lower Your Costs & Improve Service While mobile deployments are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in today’s retail market, the hard truth is that over 70% of the cost of owning a mobility solution can come after the initial purchase, according to a recent study conducted by the VDC Research Group, a research company that specializes in providing technology executives with the market intelligence they need to make critical business decisions with confidence. Although there are many benefits to implementing a mobile solutions infrastructure--including the ability to speed up efficiency and improve customer service—most companies find that the large scale investments are in the “soft” costs, which can be anything from maintenance expenses to productivity losses due to worker downtime and deviceSponsored By failure.
  2. 2. “Some of the most difficult to track, yet and TCO before investing in new potentially some of the most significant mobile equipment. costs, relate to soft costs associated with 1. Extend the Life of device failure. This is especially true for Your Equipment non-rugged devices being deployed in environments that are more suitable for Industry standards show that the average retailer gets 5-7 years out rugged solutions.” of their initial purchase of mobile - David Krebs, VDC Research Group deployments, which, over the lifetime of the device, will eventually represent only 1/3 of the TCO. More specifically, for rugged handheld devices used However, the irony is that in today’s in retail environments, the average challenging economy an astounding lifespan is approximately 5-6 years, 68.4% of these companies are more according to David Krebs, Director likely to make a mobile investment of Mobile and Wireless Practice at based on upfront “hard” costs instead VDC Research Group. “This has of looking down the road at the trended up recently as organizations long-term total cost of ownership have extended the life cycle [or their (TCO), according to a July 2007 equipment] in response to the weak report published by VDC entitled, economy,” he adds. A statistic that TCO Models For Mobile Computing many industry experts feel highlights and Communications Platforms. the importance of aligning with an These facts illustrate why it is more independent service provider (ISP) important than ever for mobile whose main focus is extending the life users to be armed with the proper cycle of mobile equipment. knowledge of all costs associated with a mobile solutions infrastructure In a recent study conducted by The before making an informed business Aberdeen Group, 129 mobile users investment. were surveyed between July and August 2009 to reveal Best-in-Class By exploring innovative ways to methods and techniques to ensure extend the life of their equipment, maximum longevity of a mobility evaluating their workforce infrastructure in 21st century retail. environment, improving service For 52% of Best-in-Class mobile levels, aligning with a mobile services users, the larger issue is the need to provider, and taking a prudent ensure timely application upgrades to approach to battery management, their mobility solutions. this white paper will illustrate 5 ways mobile users can improve their ROI To that end, industry analysts stress2 s A Retail TouchPoints White Paper 2010
  3. 3. Another key to extending the life cycle of according to Krebs. “This is especially mobile deployments is to understand the life true for non-rugged devices being deployed in environments that are of your battery. VDC’s research indicates that more suitable for rugged solutions,” accessories represent approximately 15- he adds. 20% of the hardware costs of a mobile solu- Statistics show that approximately tion. 35% of consumer-grade devices are replaced within the first two the importance of considering years of implementation when used broadband wireless functionality, in an industrial environment, so the security, ongoing serviceability, importance of considering where and future application needs when the mobile deployments will be upgrading your current mobile getting the most mileage should infrastructure, in order to avoid not be underestimated. Having needless upgrades. this knowledge can provide mobile users with insight into the degree of “I think it is important for [mobile wear-and-tear the equipment could users] to let the application drive the potentially endure, ultimately giving product selection,” says Krebs. “In them an idea as to what types of addition, as many rugged devices failure rates they might experience will be used for 5 years or more, it is and how often they will occur. important to also anticipate some of the future application requirements. “Companies [should] review how the This could impact integrated wireless equipment is being used every day options, I/O options (such as imaging, to determine if there are ways the RFID, bar code scanning, voice, etc.), equipment can be better protected display size, etc.” against damage,” advises David Marin of BCS Solutions, a data collections 2. Evaluate the Workplace and mobility solutions provider that Environment helps transform enterprises into streamlined, efficient and productive According to VDC, it is not businesses. uncommon for the annual mobile computer failure rates to exceed Marin also suggests some ways to 30% these days. extend the life of your equipment by evaluating the workplace “Some of the most difficult to track, environment. “If the terminals are yet potentially some of the most not in holders/holsters they should significant costs, relate to soft costs be as holsters or other cases that associated with device failure,” will protect a terminal in the event3 s A Retail TouchPoints White Paper 2010
  4. 4. According to VDC’s 2007 research, mo- bile device end users lost an average of Mark Kling, Senior Product Manager at Scan Again Inc. Kling is also 75 minutes of productivity each time a quick to stress the importance of device failed. “Being diligent in battery understanding that 1 battery life cycle management can provide real cost sav- = 1 charge of the battery, whether it’s depleted or not. ings.” - Mark Kling, Scain Again Inc. “The average mobile computer battery is only good for 500 life of a drop. It is also wise to assign cycles [or 500 charges], which is a terminal to an individual, as that equal to about 2 years,” says Kling. person is more likely to take care of it Without having a good understanding rather than just letting it be common of the battery life cycle, he explains, property.” “… equipment could wind up with ‘failures’ that aren’t actual ‘failures’ — 3. Improve Battery leading to more time and resources Management spent on processing and repair.” Another key to extending the What’s more, according to VDC’s life cycle of mobile deployments 2007 research, mobile device is to understand the life of your end users lost an average of 75 battery. VDC’s research indicates minutes of productivity each time a that accessories represent device failed. “Being diligent in battery approximately 15-20% of the management can provide real cost hardware costs of a mobile savings,” adds Kling. solution. “One of the most significant contributors is the battery,” 4. Improve Service Levels emphasizes Krebs. For many organizations, having a “Beyond the actual performance of managed services vendor provides the batteries, end users also want an deployment flexibility and pricing effective way to manage their battery variability over today’s largely fixed inventory (i.e. easily identifying which cost capital investment models, batteries are charged/need charging; according to VDC research. understanding when to replace a Additional benefits include low upfront battery, and also the ability to share costs and outsourced IT services and batteries among different devices),” infrastructure, which can take the he adds. pressure off of the initial investment. One way to do this is by writing the Furthermore, according to an August installation date on them, suggests 2009 study conducted by The4 s A Retail TouchPoints White Paper 2010
  5. 5. For Laggard mobile users intent on ex- needs has benefits. But how else can tending the life of their current equipment] having a partner affect the TCO of a mobile solutions infrastructure? is vital to the overall deployment of mobil- “In our case, the operating cost is ity devices to ensure adequate mainte- budgeted through a yearly contract. Repairs and shipping to and from nance and prompt replacement of devices the stores is included so there are no in case ‘lost or broken’ issues crop up.” surprises,” explains one executive from a large software company. - August 2009 Aberdeen Group Study, “Mobile Field Workforce However, other experts point to the in Retail: Strategies to Reduce Total Cost of Ownership following guidelines to keep in mind when evaluating service vendors: Aberdeen Group entitled, Mobile Field Workforce in Retail: Strategies • Self-service web portals to Reduce Total Cost of Ownership, -- According to a recent report by “the services component [for Laggard the Aberdeen Group, 45% of Best- mobile users intent on extending in-Class companies lowered their the life of their current equipment] support costs with self-service web is vital to the overall deployment portals. Self-service web portals can of mobility devices to ensure provide 24-7 support while freeing up adequate maintenance and prompt the help desk staff for more critical replacement of devices in case ‘lost support. An Internet service portal or broken’ issues crop up.” also allows a way for companies to track the progress of repairs and Industry experts add that original manage service activities. equipment manufacturers (OEM) may push to obsolete equipment in order • Experts in the field – to keep moving new products, so Aligning with a vendor that has the in- it’s extremely important to be leery house capability to handle all mobile of having your equipment deemed repairs down to the component level non-repairable right off the cuff. One is crucial when it comes to eliminating option that could increase ROI is to downtime. deal with and ISP, which will help ensure the longevity of the original • Fast repair turnaround – device. Fast turnaround time has the potential to provide companies with substantial 5. Find a Partner cost savings by eliminating the need to stock up on spare equipment. Obviously, multiple service vendors = multiple service costs, so having “Repair time varies quite a bit one vendor to meet all of your mobile depending on the expertise and parts5 s A Retail TouchPoints White Paper 2010
  6. 6. Statistics show that approximately 35% of consumer-grade devices are the broken units are returned, they replaced within the first two years are repaired and placed [back into] the pool,” explains James Luck, EVP, of implementation when used in an Scan Again Inc. industrial environment Along with the hot swap repair inventory of the service providers,” service, clients can also track the explains Marin. “The goal would be progress of their defective equipment to get repairs done in three days;” by utilizing Scan Again’s self service -- a turnaround which typically out web portal, adds Kling. performs most OEM’s. “Customer’s can simply log in [to the Additionally, vendors who maintain web site] enter a serial number, failure cross-border facilities can aid mobile description and contact info, and just users in reducing cross-border ship [the defective equipment] and shipment costs, as well as any we’ll be able to service and return it downtime incurred when shipments within 3-5 days,” he says. are tied up in customs. • Customized service programs – Customized service programs like “hot swaps” are key in reducing significant costs that can be lost in the event of downtime by effortlessly replacing broken equipment without shutting down the system. “When [a] client has a breakdown, either he or the client help desk (after vetting) will request a unit(s) be sent out immediately from the pool. When6 s A Retail TouchPoints White Paper 2010
  7. 7. 5 Strategies to Lower Your Costs & Improve ServiceConclusionMobile devices can help make workforces more productive and helpful to custom-ers, but rolling out these devices across a large enterprise can add up to a sig-nificant investment. Especially in today’s challenging economic environment, it isessential for mobile users to better manage their ROI and reduce the TCO of theirmobile equipment.By taking into account all of the costs associated with a mobile infrastructure – hard(direct) costs, as well as soft (indirect) costs — companies can enable themselves tomake better business investments and extend the life of their existing equipment.Additionally, aligning with experts in the mobility space, such as an ISP, can helpavoid unnecessary upgrades. Furthermore, ISP’s can aid mobile users by providingguidance on matching the right product for the right environment, ultimately reduc-ing ongoing expenses tied to maintenance, worker downtime or device failure, andsignificantly extend the life of your equipment.
  8. 8. About Scan Again Scan Again Inc. was created eight years ago to offer an alternative for repair and sales of equipment and accessories to North American customers that feel that they are under serviced. This in particular on the legacy equipment which they have in use, in their environment. The business has been built on a model designed to offer superior quality repair at a reasonable rate with a consistent turn around time. Manufacturer trained technicians and state of the art test equipment enable SAl to fix equipment other companies may deem un-repairable. This, in itself, allows us to cut cost ensuring our customers receive the best possible service. At SAl our techni- cians are trained to repair customer equipment down to board level, effectively reducing cost. SAI does not believe in replacing entire circuit boards if an inex- pensive component will fix the problem. Maintaining adequate inventory levels of parts ensures all repairs performed are returned to our clients without delay. About Retail TouchPoints Retail TouchPoints is an online publishing network for retail executives, with con- tent focussed on optimizing the customer experience across all channels. Tap- ping into the power of the Web 2.0 environment, the Retail TouchPoints network is made up of a weekly e-newsletter, category-specific blogs, twice-monthly Spe- cial Reports, web seminars, benchmark research, virtual events and a content- rich website at By