Step No. 3: Find outsourcing partners who provide the right combination of mobility knowledge, experience and scalability to meet your particular requirements
Look for an outsourcing partner with proven experience managing mobile strategy and/or devices. As you compare service providers, collect information on the best practices they use and their willingness to agree to knowledge transfer from their experts to your IT staff.
Make sure the provider offers the types of services your organization requires. Those may include deployment, device configuration, asset management, replacement and repair, help desk support (for your help desk personnel or your users), as well as training and recycling of obsolete devices. Your organization's experience and resources will dictate which tasks you can handle internally and which ones you should outsource to mobility service providers. In other words, find a partner that can fill in the gaps in your resources.
Also, ask outsourcing providers how they would go about cutting your deployment costs or making some of your variable costs more predictable. For example, can your organization eliminate the costs associated with building your own mobile help desk, and investing in new mobility infrastructure and tools to configure, deploy and deliver ongoing devices across your user base?
The costs of architecting an overall strategy-coupled with managing thousands of devices throughout their lifecycle-can increase rapidly as the number of users and mobile applications grows. The outsourcing model is right for your organization only if the result is a smoother, guaranteed lower expense than you could realize without outside help-and a better overall service level.
Inquire about device management capability and experience deploying applications over the air. Many mobile device users seldom-or never-come into a central office, so the best way to keep their applications up-to-date is to deploy them remotely. Device management is an area where an outsourcer can provide significant efficiencies, providing ways to increase security and decrease user downtime.
Press outsourcers for details on the type of user experience you can expect their services to provide. Will they deliver the service level that you and your users expect? If your deployment is not smooth, and any of your mobile workers lose significant productivity getting up and running, you can end up causing more problems than you solve. This is especially true for revenue-producing employees in sales or field service, whose productivity depends on their ability to react quickly to customer needs.
If mobility is not an area where you have a lot of experience or expertise, and it is not core to your business, outsourcing may be the right course for you. By taking the steps outlined here, you can better evaluate your organization's capabilities and resources, and carefully assess the services an outsourcer offers. In doing so, you will gain greater control over costs and, ultimately, the success of your mobility deployment.
In 1982, Mort founded Corporate Software Inc., which served as a new distribution channel that resold software to large organizations and offered a high level of technical service and support. By 1995, the company was merged with a division of R.R. Donnelly, the leading physical manufacturer of software, with Mort assuming the role of Chairman and CEO of the newly merged company, Stream International.
In 2001, Mort was inducted into the Computer Industry Hall of Fame for his time spent at Corporate Software inventing the new channel of software distribution that continues to dominate the industry today. He can be reached at [email protected].