May 14

Mobile solutions in enterprises pay: #5 – Administration (including of mobile devices)

In this the fifth of various (of at least six) analyses of mobility and RoI, five examples from administrative situations are described.

  • A manufacturing company deployed 150 iPads to operators in on its highly specialized production line. The result is that operators can check machine settings or look up tolerances in an on-screen browser, rather than referring to pieces of paper or dragging unwieldy laptops around. This company’s IT department calculates that replacing ageing laptops with iPads,immediately saved $67K, mainly delivered by removing the cost of refreshing those laptops. In addition the tablet deployment, once completed across the all the company’s factories, will save about 30 minutes per shift as a result of improved efficiency. This is equivalent to savings of almost US$1M/year.
  • A provider of technology products has offices in 25 countries with products sold worldwide. Rapid growth and a global footprint meant employees travel the world to develop and market its products and to work with customers and partners. With an increasing reliance on smartphones, managers need to work productively anywhere, anytime. But, as more people traveled abroad, charges for international voice and data roaming exploded. To contain these costs the company deployed a mobile device management platform to monitor billing and phone quality issues and to manage smartphones across their lifecycle — from registration to retirement. Real-time notification and control of international roaming means that the chosen platform notifies both the user and IT when roaming starts and when usage thresholds are hit. By being able to control costs the company saved $8K quarterly just on on international calling plans. This approach also enables employees to self-police their usage, by being able to see their daily voice, SMS and data consumption.
  • A credit union, with over 350,000 members and more than 50 locations, saw its mobile device landscape changing, from being BlackBerry-only to needing to incorporate iPhones and iPads. At the same time the credit union’s IT department realized it needed a way to manage and secure these new devices: without a comprehensive mobile device management solution in place it would have to prevent iPhones and iPads from accessing the corporate network and email server — because this might potentially put sensitive credit union and customer information at risk. The credit union searched for a multi-device solution which would support many device types and provide the same level of functionality and security, or more, as was traditionally offered by its BlackBerry Enterprise Server. It also realized any solution needed to be easier to use and more intuitive. For example it used to take Level 2 Support Engineers two hours to enroll a single BlackBerry. A mobile device management solution that offered mobile device management in a cloud (SaaS) was selected because there was an immediate saving of approx a $21K. More significantly long term, the the time to enroll devices reduced by 90% — from two hours to 10 minutes and service desk employees (rather than Level 2 Support engineers) could now perform this work, further cutting resource costs by 50%.
  • Some years ago this company evaluated a range of handheld devices. The results of the trial showed that for its particular needs — where users need to respond quickly to customer requirements or internal workflow scenarios — the most effective business and security solution was based around BlackBerry which provided an ‘always on’ connection for corporate email and calendar. The BlackBerry-based solution developed enabled increased productivity — streamlining communication and time management with anytime, anywhere real-time access — with an identified average productivity gain of 32 minutes per user per day, a saving of over 120 hours or at some $7K a year. In addition there was improved customer responsiveness as well as removal of unnecessary manual data synchronization.
  • This private school has PCs for most students and staff and these are managed via a Dell Kace 1000. In 2012 it began experimenting with iPads (some 20 for students and 15 for staff), because so much educational content is available for the iPad.  The student iPads are a part of specific classrooms — they do not move with students; students arrive at the iPad for specific classes. The challenge was configuration and re-configuration — which has to happen at least every new school year (and sometimes more often). The school trialed a K3000 virtual appliance for configuring and managing mobile devices. One of the attractions of this is that multiple master device images, with all relevant content and system connection information, can be designed and built and then secured before being installed on an automated basis on each device. Thus there can be student-specific device images and instructor-specific device images, and these can be reinstalled whenever necessary. The savings arise from removing the manually intensive configuration that had been necessary before. As manually configuring an iPad device can take well over one hour per device, of skilled IT staff, the savings will come each year and increase as the school adds more and more iPads (and other devices). A related saving is in removing the configuration bottleneck in the summer, before the start of the new school year.

These examples are more diverse in their nature. Yet what they each illustrate is that positive RoI can come in many forms, depending on how you ‘look at the problems’.  Administration is no different from Sales, Field Support or Logistics/Delivery: there are opportunities for cost reductions as well as for operating differently.

 [In this, and future analyses, qualified mobile technology projects with quantified benefits are grouped into the following categories, each of which warrant examination:

  • Sales (see previous blog)
  • Field Support (see previous blog)
  • Logistics/Delivery (see previous blog)
  • Local Government (see previous blog)
  • Administration (see above)
  • Changing the business model.]

(c) 2013 C3B Consulting Ltd


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