*This blog post was written by Kris Boles of TPI, a Zebra Premier Solution Partner.
The results of Zebra's 2019 Intelligent Enterprise Index were recently released and it was a relief to see that companies are relying substantially more on a single strategic partner to manage their entire IoT solution, shifting away from using several partners as in previous years.
Technology changes at such a fast pace that keeping up with new solutions is challenging at best. It can be hard to decipher which hardware, software, or accessories are best for you in any given moment. It can also be challenging to distinguish between technologies that are the best fix right now – a band-aid if you will – and those that will remain the best solution long term.
Imagine how much more complicated it can become if you are leaning on multiple partners to help you piece together your technology solution. Conflicting advice can obscure your project, as can mismatched design, development or deployment visions among your many vendors. Even if every solution provider is an expert – and excellent – at what they do and they do their best to work as a team, project managing multiple partners can be onerous for many organizations.
Perhaps that’s why we’re seeing more companies ask a single strategic partner to manage their projects and their other partners. It reduces the fragmentation that can cause a “failure to deliver” outcome, from either the solution or solution provider.
Strategic Partnerships Benefit All Technology Projects
Although it may appear that the Intelligent Enterprise Index study was focused solely on IoT deployments, every type of technology connected to an enterprise or industrial data system is going to be part of an IoT deployment. Mobile computers, barcode scanners, printers and tablets are all “things” connected via the internet to empower workers and workflows.
That is why it is imperative to find a strategic technology partner who has expertise in both wireless LAN and industrial computing systems if your mobile workers run critical applications at the edge of your enterprise, regardless of the specific devices you ultimately employ to facilitate those applications.
More importantly, you want an expert in your corner who stays educated and aware of the technologies available. You need a partner who will get to know your business, will get to the bottom of your business challenges and consult you on the best ways to solve your problems. You also need a partner who is committed to collaborating with you long after a sale is complete and your system is online.
This kind of partnership gives your distributed enterprise an advantage at the edge. Your technology architecture – including networks, mobile hardware and software – will need continuous optimization as new challenges emerge and new operational goals are defined over time:
- Expertise in Wi-Fi design, deployment and interference mitigation minimizes problems up front and provides a more robust and reliable user experience, reducing downtime and loss of productivity.
- Proficiency with the rugged mobile computers that will be used to run your critical applications yields best of breed solutions, and that maximizes your hardware ROI and improves user satisfaction.
- An understanding of the proper network configuration for reliable roaming across the enterprise can help to reduce session interruptions and loss of data.
- Experience in troubleshooting these connections means that you will have the resources needed to quickly pinpoint any problem and reduce time to resolution.
- Having expert input on what works, what doesn’t, and why will empower you to select the best devices based on your unique use case, which will improve performance, extend the useful life of the platform and reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO).
How do you know that a solution provider possesses all of these qualities? How do you confirm it has experience successfully deploying solutions in your type of operating environment?
Its track record will speak volumes. But that may require you to pick up the phone and speak directly to its customer references. The success stories you see on paper don’t always tell the full story. Just as you may talk to your peers to assess their experience with certain technology solutions, you need to assess the experiences they’ve had with solution providers.
Choosing the right partner can do more than secure you a strong return on investment (ROI) for your technology spend. It can relieve stress and bring peace of mind to you and your team. Knowing you have experts you can turn to in both times of need and times of trouble is valuable. Having a single point-of-contact that you trust, who can provide expert advice on products or services, will make a positive effect on your bottom line and provide your distributed enterprise an advantage at the edge.
About the Author:
Kris Boles is an experienced marketing and client services professional with a demonstrated track record in the wireless industry. She is celebrating her 17th year with TPI, where she handles marketing and vendor relations. Ms. Boles is actively involved with TPI’s industry partners and works in close collaboration with their teams to develop, execute and measure tactical marketing plans.
TPI is a systems integrator and value-added reseller of barcoding hardware and software solutions. TPI helps companies in a variety of industries that are looking to improve operational efficiency and financial performance. Typically, this involves best-of-breed WLAN survey, design, installation and deployment of mobile computing and scanning solutions. TPI also develops custom software that shares legacy system information with the shop floor and outside the four walls. Learn how TPI can help you be better at what you do. Visit our website at www.tpi1.com