It’s rare today to see anyone on a train, waiting in line for a table or even sitting in traffic who isn’t glued to a mobile device. And with about 30 million small businesses in the United States today, many of them are probably small business owners or employers, trying to remain productive while on the go.
More than ever, small businesses understand the value of providing their employees with mobile devices to help them remain productive during the workday, and even during off hours. According to SMB Group, more than half of small business employees use mobile devices for business purposes, and that number continues to grow. They’re using mobile devices for more than just email, contacts and calendar — mobile devices now handle everything from online file sharing, document creation and editing to navigation and conferencing.
Calculating Your Mobile Budget
While outfitting employees with mobile devices is critical, small business owners know it comes at a cost. And it’s trickier than it sounds; the cost of the device and wireless plan is only one aspect of the overall mobile total cost of ownership (TCO). There are many others, and failing to consider them when choosing mobile devices can cost companies more than expected in the long run. It’s important to carefully consider the ongoing or unexpected costs that pile up in the following areas.
- Service and Support: No device is really “set it and forget it.” All devices need device management, whether it’s for troubleshooting, break and fix, upgrades or application installation and upgrading. It’s also important to have timely access to spares, so that employees can remain productive when a device requires repair or replacement. Consider how you will manage your device fleet, and build mobile device management into your TCO calculation.
- Recurring Costs: There are many recurring costs associated with mobile devices, from wireless connectivity to software licensing to device upgrades.
- Indirect Costs: This is the most important — and most overlooked — category of hidden costs. Any process that takes time away from being productive costs the company money. But by far, lack of sufficient security is the biggest potential hidden cost, because security breaches not only can cost thousands of dollars — an average of $117,000 per attack, according to one recent study — but can even cause small businesses to fail completely.
Choosing Vendors and Devices
Choosing the right device along with a vendor that provides extensive service and support options is the best way to reduce mobile TCO.
When evaluating mobile devices for your employees, focus on the following cost considerations.
- Make sure the hardware is proven and reliable. If the vendor has proven itself over time, you can rely on them to provide devices that won’t weigh you down with persistent service and support costs.
- Consider device-related risks. The cost of one security breach can sink a growing company. Invest in phones that can be secured against real-world threats to a phone that is stolen and breached. A comprehensive security platform like Samsung Knox can thwart a data thief and protect you from a massively expensive data breach.
- Look for features that will make your employees as productive as possible. With so many employees working from home or the road, the ability to remain productive is critical to the bottom line. That means choosing a device with productivity capabilities, such as the ability to have multiple windows open for more effective multitasking, access to productivity apps like Microsoft Office, and accessories such as a stylus.
- Think way outside the box. Look at innovations such as Samsung’s unique DeX solution that might allow you to purchase fewer desktops and laptops by leveraging the compute power of a smartphone or tablet for a high-end desktop experience.
- Get something powerful. Employees who work on the go need mobile devices that keep them productive wherever they are and whatever they need to do. Weigh device costs versus the productivity benefits of powerful processors, generous RAM, and long-lasting, fast-charging batteries.
- Make sure the device and its features are easy to use. Time is money, so time spent trying to figure things out or set things up is time away from the business of doing business. Choose an enterprise-ready solution that’s ready to go, with intuitive features.
- Don’t forget about support. Downtime is unproductive time, so choose a provider with a full range of technical support, application development, mobile management support, device customization and provisioning, and lifecycle management options.
Planning and budgeting for all of these will help to mitigate costs while keeping your employees productive and your business safe.
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