3 False Assumptions About Enterprise Devices

By Barry Issberner, Senior Director of Enterprise Product Marketing, Motorola Solutions, Inc. — November 25, 2013

Never before has mobility been so sought after across in such a broad range of markets. With a compelling ROI, mobility has become a critical facilitator of improved productivity, better operational efficiencies and enhanced customer satisfaction
 
For a growing number of enterprises, IT spending is focused on empowering mobile workers with the right amount of information when and where they need it, enabling them to make better real-time decisions.
 
Mobility is about improved data collection and streamlined data sharing. It’s also about cost-effectively putting the right mobile device in each worker’s hands over the long haul.
 
And with the proliferation devices, sleek form factors, intuitive user interfaces and attractive price points, mobile computing has changed dramatically over the last few years, and continues to evolve at an even faster pace today so there are many choices to make.
 
The options include new consumer-grade devices like smartphones and tablets, as well as more durable enterprise-grade devices. The type of devices that businesses choose will have enormous implications on the success of their strategic mobile investments.
 
Reassessing Assumptions
As businesses consider their mobile device options, they are being influenced by 3 key assumptions:
 

  1. That the lower acquisition cost of consumer devices relative to enterprise devices will translate to lower deployment costs.
     
  2. Because smartphone and tablet usage is high among the general population, mobile workers will find consumer devices familiar and easier to use than durable devices.
     
  3. Enterprise-grade devices cannot handle innovative new applications because they’re based on proprietary or legacy platforms. 
The question is, are these assumptions valid?
 
Cost Effectiveness. Although their lower initial acquisition costs can be tempting, the lack of durability in consumer-grade devices often leads to significant problems like device breakage, lost worker productivity and much higher IT support costs.
 
The reality is that non-rugged consumer devices routinely break down under the difficult conditions of industrial environments and the resulting expenses dwarf the acquisition cost.
 
According to the VDC Research report, “Mobile Device TCO Models for Line of Business Solutions,” non-rugged consumer device failure rates are at least twice as high as ruggedized devices in almost any daily enterprise use pattern, and are often four or five times higher.
 
The report estimates that each one percent increase in failure rate equates to a five percent increase in total cost of ownership (TCO) over typical enterprise useful life. Therefore, use of a TCO model that considers both hard (direct) upfront costs and “hidden” (indirect) costs can provide a more accurate baseline for determining which devices provide a better value over time.
 
Outdated.  Many organizations have come to think of enterprise-grade mobile devices as outdated, paling in comparison to today’s sleek consumer handhelds.
 
The truth is that enterprise-class devices have evolved and are offering the most popular generation of consumer OSes supported by in-demand technologies leveraged from consumer devices coupled with essential enterprise attributes.
 
Today’s enterprise devices still deliver consistently higher durability, ample battery capacity for the full operating shift, along with, a complete suite of enterprise-class accessories and services – but now they also offer sleeker form factors and all-touch user interfaces.
 
Proprietary.  Mobility managers and workers appreciate the range of applications and functionalities enabled by consumer-grade devices running open standards-based operating systems. Enterprises need higher levels of security and device management capability than those offered by these standard operating systems. 
 
Today’s new enterprise solutions offer extensions on top of the standard Android™ operating system to meet critical security and device management requirements and can run both native applications and those developed in HTML5.   
 
These “enterprise-hardened” operating systems are sometimes perceived to be proprietary when in fact they are standards-based – with optional extensions should greater robustness be desired. 
 
Mobile Co-Existence
It is clear that rugged and consumer mobile devices will co-exist in many enterprises. Consumer-grade mobile computers can be very effective in carpeted environments.

But, for critical line-of-business applications and demanding industrial conditions, IT departments should rely on today’s new enterprise-class mobile devices.

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