By 2025, the number of IoT (Internet of Things) connected devices worldwide is expected to reach 75 billion, and with hundreds of thousands of mobile employees relying on these devices out on the front lines – both in the field and within the four walls of your facilities – there’s a real premium on knowing how well every device is performing. Yet, many organizations are paying the price of ‘not knowing’ such information.
In a recent ‘State of Enterprise Mobility’ report, 50 percent of professionals surveyed reported experiencing mobile device failures on a monthly basis, which impacted their ability to do their work. Even worse, nearly 40 percent of respondents claimed that their mobility issues have increased over the past 12 to 18 months. Given the correlation between mobile device performance and worker performance, greater attention must be given to proactively managing enterprise devices and pre-empting device ‘health’ issues.
‘Failure Is Not an Option’
I understand that most IT teams are stretched thin given the proliferation of technology in the enterprise. It can be challenging to balance mobile device management (MDM) tasks against other systems’ modernization and maintenance priorities. As a result, I’ve seen several companies become mostly reactive rather than proactive in managing device performance. In many cases, companies wait for devices to show signs of poor health – or fail completely – before taking action. And those who do attempt to proactively assess device performance do so at the most basic level, relying solely on physical inspections, human decision making and paper-based reporting.
The problem is that such reliance on guesswork or hindsight impacts employee productivity, which impacts operational efficiency and ultimately the bottom line. Mobility and productivity are synonymous these days: if a device goes down, so does a worker. And we know the potential ripple effect of the smallest disruption in today’s field service or supply chain-connected workflows.
In the couple of minutes it may take for a warehouse worker to grab a replacement mobile device from a charging station, fulfillment of dozens of orders may be stalled, leading to delayed shipments and missed delivery deadlines – something that could be equally detrimental to small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMB) and global corporations alike. And it could take a utility field engineer hours to ‘blindly’ diagnose a power outage if his mobile device isn’t working like it should. On the other hand, it could take him minutes if he’s able to plug the tablet into the system to automatically retrieve error codes or troubleshoot the system on a broader scale. In other words, the impact of mobile device performance extends far beyond your front line. Your customers, partners and entire communities could feel the effect.
That’s precisely why proactive mobile device management should be a priority for every organisation, no matter the size or industry. Actually, organisations should be employing technology solutions that surpass mobile device management (MDM) and asset repair management systems to pre-empt issues. Worker mobility is just that important.
Taking Back Control: Real-Team Mobile Device Visibility Improves Serviceability
This may not be well known (yet), but innovative enterprise-grade device manufacturers are utilising sensors, RFID, IoT and analytics solutions to provide companies such as yours with incredibly actionable insights about each device’s location and status in real time, around the clock – assuming you are giving your workers enterprise-grade mobile computers, tablets and printers.
And the best part is that these ‘operational visibility and control’ services are becoming easily accessible and affordable. They’re also becoming quite automated, which means it’s no longer a burden to proactively monitor and maintain workers’ mobile devices.
Unlike traditional ‘consumerised’ MDM offerings, these enterprise device management services are no longer based just on a break-fix model (where action is taken after a problem has hit the business). They are much more expansive in their monitoring (and return more intelligent and actionable insights) than routine maintenance processes, which can miss issues simmering below the surface, faults that develop in between inspections or future factors that humans simply cannot detect. And since the device visibility and care services have evolved to a digital platform that aggregates both big data and small actionable data about the health of workers’ devices, they provide real-time insight to all stakeholders, including those outside the IT suite or in non-analytical roles. This ‘scientific crystal ball’ approach underpins cost-effective, confident business decision making while taking the burden of MDM (and worker productivity) off IT alone.
For example, services such as the ones that Zebra offers customers will aggregate data from multiple sources to identify any potential opportunity to improve device performance or any threat to worker productivity because of a device issue. This video quickly shows how it works: