main graphic 01 9 Key Aspects of Selecting Devices for Enterprise Mobility

Mobile devices are right at the heart of an enterprise mobility initiative, so it’s important to select them correctly. There is a plethora of options, especially on the Android platform, and selecting correctly will impact the ROI of the mobility project.

An unsuitable or substandard device can lead to

  1. Loss of productivity, defeating the entire purpose of enterprise mobility
  2. Frustration among users, who may then reject mobility
  3. Increase in support costs

There are 3 different approaches to device selection. The organization can select and own devices, or can convert consumer devices into enterprise devices, or may go with a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy.

When you plan for enterprise mobility, it is important to put together a list of business requirements and what aspects of device features you need to allow or restrict to ensure security and data loss prevention. Sometimes the management of firmware or hardware may not be supported by the device manufacturer, especially in the fragmented Android market. So it is important to consider the manageability of the device OS and features like GPS, camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and others.

“If the mobile device you choose can’t support your mobile device remote management solution, support costs per mobile worker can increase by as much as 85 percent.”  - VDC Research, White Paper—Enterprise Digital Assistant Leverage in the Emerging Mobile Enterprise; David Krebs/ Chris Rezendes

The most important aspects that you should consider for device selection are

  1. What is the physical work environment like? Devices provided to field workers may have to operate in extreme temperatures, humidity, noise levels or other environmental factors. Regular devices are not suited for these conditions and you may need to opt for rugged devices, which are typically more expensive.
  2. If end users don’t have access to charging stations during work hours, it is important to have batteries that last or can be swapped easily.
  3. Devices that need to access locations, such as for logistics or transportation purposes, must be equipped with GPS.
  4. If your business workflows require that photographs be taken, for example, for insurance claims, then the camera features need to be suitable.
  5. For devices that will be carrying sensitive data, data protection is paramount, so security features such as encryption, biometric authentication etc are important
  6. If business workflows require that devices be shared among different users, then multi-user capabilities need to be available.
  7. Which is the right OS – iOS, Android or Windows – for your enterprise? You need to consider which one your IT team can easily support and also compatibility with the apps you plan to use.
  8. What is the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)? As devices are expected to last for 2-3 years, it’s important to consider your expenses over that period rather than only the purchase price. Insurance, warranty and durability are other aspects of the cost. Whether the manufacturer has service centers in sufficient proximity to your users should also be considered.
  9. In addition to all the above, basic features such as battery life, connectivity, speed and performance of devices impact employee productivity in a major way.

At 1Mobility, we enable Enterprise Mobility Management and can help you to effectively manage devices and secure data. Where the underlying device platform doesn’t support such management features, we do have solutions and workarounds but a lot of times we may have to depend on the management APIs provided by the OEMs.

Selecting the right devices will have a great impact on the success of your enterprise mobility initiatives, so consider all the factors listed above carefully. We have seen organizations making decisions based purely on cost, and compromising or overlooking other vital aspects. Quite naturally, the devices do not support the mobility project effectively, and the real price paid by the organization to support end users is huge and you are continuously looking for workarounds which are not real solutions.