What Everybody Ought to Know About Identifying a Mobile Computing Platform for Enterprise Mobility
Guest Post by Timothy C B Cox. I always have said the mobile computer like the smart phone is not much use without applications, and it’s true for all enterprise solutions which makes identifying a mobile computing platform for enterprise mobility such an important task.
But the platform does play an important part in the solution and should not be overlooked as just an easy decision because of our familiarity with smart consumer devices. Recently Apple reported a drop in product margin’s, but their pricing has not really changed. It shows smart phones are not going to get any cheaper anytime soon.
If anything consumer choice will be between the high margin expensive full featured hand-sets and the lower cost feature limited devices. Or putting it another way, choosing between high margin devices and low margin devices. Of course it’s in the interests of the vendor to urge the consumer to purchase the high margin product.
So future options are limited, I see them trying to protect existing product margins by releasing a new product with lower cost base. I cannot see them compromising flagship products in terms of quality or features being a route for established brands when they battling with each other for market share.
Samsung is currently being probed by the Taiwanese authorities for possibly paying people to post bad reviews and poor readability reports for the HTC One in Taiwan. The HTC One uses higher quality materials in its case design and Samsung is concerned they may get into a new battle where their material costs increase to defend against other products, and this would be an unwanted downward pressure on their product margins.
The Apple iPhone is generally accepted to be of high quality design and build. What Samsung fears is having to compete with another Android handset where the only real difference is quality of materials used in it’s industrial design.
Everyone selling is under pressure from falling margins!
Mobile Computing Platform for Enterprise Mobility
Rugged devices, though initially more expensive do last longer before being replaced, they are more stable in design and feature sets. Typical customers do not like unpleasant surprises, because their investment is larger and the time to reach their ROI is longer.
You shouldn’t expect rugged device makers to jump onto latest OS releases or design features their customer base has a predefined expectation of their products. If you look at Conical responsible for the open source Ubuntu Linux distribution, they have a two track release solution, a LTS or Long Term Support release and a general release. Think of their LTS release as the enterprise edition (stable) with the general release aimed directly at the consumer (with latest features).
Rugged device manufactures also work to the LTS concept but all their products adhere to the LTS concept! Where they commit to a number of years of support, service and updates for their platform.
Enterprise customers must get a stable platform to build their business; not to be distracted by worrisome and unimportant support and life cycling of the product. It allows customer’s to manage their mobility system over a known period of stability in terms of the platform, allowing them to build and plan their applications and solutions with very low risk along with favorable Total Cost of Ownership TCO numbers.
Buy a consumer device for use in the mobile workforce and you will be going through some sort of product and/or software refresh every year. Because consumer devices change with annoyingly regularity, to the delight of the vendors and retail stores, as it drains consumers wallets regularly.
In short, it’s not in best interests for consumer products to have a LTS approach, they rely on phones being replaced regularly to maintain revenues. Google likes to tell the market they have 1.5 million phone activations every day, but they don’t let on if these are existing users upgrading or new customers.
In April 2013 Google changed from reporting new hand-set activations to only reporting device visits to their on-line app store called ‘Play Store’!
So a LTS products may not have all the latest features and leading edge (or bleeding edge) options like consumer products. But they are what is called ‘stable’ releases, nothing is included that may have a negative affect on smooth running of the device. Be assured the LTS designed products do not suffer like some iPhone batteries have after a recent iOS update from Apple, and solved by two subsequent updates.
Imagine (as an enterprise user) having to manage, push and pay for (if pushed over 3G) an update to your mobile workforce. Not to mention dealing with users suffering from shorter than expected battery life, this happen recently with Apples iOS devices. Just because the vendor pushed an update to hand-sets automatically.
Get a new Windows Phone device, and even if you to use it in the enterprise, be ready to create a new Hotmail (Microsoft Live) account for each device. Use Bing to find out more! Something else to manage and filter and control and lock down and…
It’s not the incorrect decision to purchase a consumer device, all companies are at different stages in their cooperate life. Some have more important projects with bigger positive impact on their operations commanding a larger percentage of the available budgets. Some may not be able to afford the initial costs of rugged mobile devices.
No matter how you look at it, there is someone who will supply a product to fit your financial requirements, guaranteed! So I would go as far as to suggest that companies who can only afford consumer devices or think they are stretched too much to get into rugged devices should wait until they have the budget or consider leasing, because maybe they are spending their cash on the wrong kind of project and its better spent elsewhere!!
So don’t dismiss those who tell you ‘you’re making a huge/massive mistake by looking at consumer products’. Help them understand where your company is today and what resources and projects you are working with. It will save everyone a whole lot of wasted time and money!
Sometimes it’s difficult for people to understand why a company would choose what looks to be an inferior product. I would like to be driving a Range Rover and I could if I wanted, but I drive a cheaper 4×4 because my children are still young and make a complete mess of the interior. So choosing the cheaper car fits my situation today and I live with that decision and my car delivers exactly what I expect!
Timothy C B Cox Mobile Workforce Strategy Consultant based in Dubai. Get in touch with Tim through Linkedin
Call us to discuss how we can help you identify the right opertaing system for your enterprise mobility project.