How to Successfully Outsource Mobile Device Deployments

Companies are discovering that deploying mobile devices to employees dispersed throughout remote locations can be a very daunting task. Getting those users up and running and providing them with the applications, network access and support they need to use those devices productively can be overwhelming. As a result, few organizations have carried out large-scale mobility deployments with success. Here, Knowledge Center contributor Mort Rosenthal explains how to successfully outsource your next mobile device deployment.

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With IT resources increasingly stretched thin, enterprises find that outsourcing various aspects of mobile device deployments can be an optimal strategy for addressing the needs of mobile employees. Depending on their mobility requirements, companies can choose to outsource initial device deployment, replacement and repair, and/or ongoing management and support.

By following the steps I'm about to outline, companies can make the most of their outsourcing efforts, streamlining and speeding their mobility deployments, and finding ways to control mobility costs. With careful planning and execution, outsourcing can reduce the costs of providing the mobile work force with the tools they need to work effectively on the road, without requiring additional staff.

Step No. 1: Recognize the inherent challenges mobile devices pose before the deployment

Enterprises struggle with the specific challenges mobile devices present. One of the biggest challenges results from the many tasks a successful deployment requires, and the need to map resources and costs to each task.

For example, say you have decided that you want to provide your field service or sales organization with smart phones. You will need to ask yourself a series of questions to help determine which types of resources will be required to get those devices into the right hands and how you will ensure that they operate properly.

Start with these four questions: Which devices do I want to deploy? How am I going to procure them? How will I load the application(s) required for each of the user groups on the devices? How am I going to make sure that they work after they are shipped out?

The difficulty of dealing with initial deployment, packaging and configuration pales in comparison with the challenges of creating a positive user experience. Shipping a device is just the first step. You also need to create value for the user right out of the box, so that their downtime is minimized and their productivity is almost immediate. Individually, none of the activities needed to support a successful deployment for a few devices is especially difficult. But for large deployments (of more than, say, 3,000 devices), you will need dedicated, capable resources.