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If you are willing to introduce or upgrade some technological tools, you are about to see great benefits. But buying the technologies you need can be tedious. Today, there are more options to choose from than ever. How will you know which mobile, scanning or printing devices are right for your specific business operations? And will they come preloaded with the software you need to make tasks or reports easier, or will you have to shop around for that separately?
Before deciding which technology you think will work for your business, it is fundamentally essential to recognize that a laptop or printer is only a “solution” if it does not create more work for your team. . In many cases, business owners and IT buyers don’t take the time to think about how their devices work before buying them. In turn, they face long-term challenges that lead to even more inefficiencies, confusion, and costs.
Remember that you are in a discovery phase. You are opening a door that can lead to a great improvement in your operations. However, it is essential to establish a solid enough foundation to support the growth of your business and your technological infrastructure in the long term.
Before buying devices, consider these points.
1. Existing workflows
Your workflow is the fuel that keeps all the moving parts of your business running like a well-oiled machine. That’s why it’s important to determine how ready you are to adapt your existing workflows to fit into the mold of new technologies. Will workflows need to be reconfigured with the deployment of these new devices, or will new hardware and software be able to fit in without too many changes? If changes are necessary, do you have the time, energy, money and resources available to adapt accordingly?
Tools that create the fewest changes around your existing workflow can be the perfect starting point. Implementing technologies that allow your staff to seamlessly transition from legacy devices (or no devices) to modern devices with familiar, easy-to-use interfaces will save your team time and a lot of money. aggravation.
2. User experience
If devices aren’t helping employees, your mobility solutions will only cause more frustration in the long run. Your employees want to feel well supported by the devices without worrying about interference with their daily tasks. How will this technology impact the employee’s work experience when using it? Is it convenient for the user? Is it portable? Could this interfere with an employee’s comfort if they have, for example, small hands? Is it economical for you, personally, and your business? Is the system intuitive or will it take some time to train staff and onboard new employees? These are the key questions that should influence decisions about your device. Comfort and durable convenience aren’t always at the top of tech shopping lists, but they’re just as important as having a quality scanner that gets the job done.
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3. The flexibility and security of different operating systems (OS)
Look for an operating system designed for a business user. You’ll need flexibility in how you can manage your mobile and print solutions, and you’ll likely need help monitoring and pushing security and maintenance updates.
As a small business, you may not see the need for mobile devices that run enterprise-grade Android operating system versions or enterprise printers with specialized operating system platforms. . However, you have the same security and data privacy requirements as every other business, and your customers rely on you to deliver on time, just like your biggest competitors. So you need to level the playing field and even give yourself an edge when it comes to device management and security. If you opt for enterprise-grade devices, you’ll be able to easily provision your devices on your own schedule, add or scale new apps, and even provide remote support to employees who may be making deliveries when needed. they report device problems. They incorporate many self-service device management tools, tools that also make it easy to push patches and security updates and protect both devices and data. Plus, they’re designed to last for years and grow with your business.
You don’t want to have to buy new devices every year or two because new apps are needed or an OS update is required. Even though you have to spend a little more money upfront to get a professional-grade device, you’ll save a lot of money over five years, mainly because your devices will last just as long, no matter how many times you have to. upgrade the operating system. or workflow software.
4. Connectivity and visibility
Consider how your back-end systems sync or connect with edge devices used inside and outside your four walls. Are employees in stores, warehouses, or in the field able to make reliable, real-time connections to the people and data they need to complete tasks or help customers? Communication should always be at the forefront of operations. If the signals cross and the insight gets lost, you won’t be happy with your new technology. You need to make sure that the devices you give your team give them full visibility into the business and keep them in sync with each other, partners and customers. Look for technologies with the following connectivity capabilities to ensure effective communications:
Inside: You will need a secure Wi-Fi network. Just make sure that each device’s Wi-Fi performance has been optimized for voice over IP (VoIP) and has a VoIP client to enable push-to-talk (PTT) and voice calls via Wireless.
Outside: You will need devices with 4G/5G cellular connectivity that can support an outdoor PTT voice client. Also check that the device has best-in-class audio features such as noise cancellation algorithms, multiple microphones, and a powerful front speaker.
Are you moving items around a store or warehouse? Several valuable track and trace technologies can accurately and automatically reflect these changes in back-end systems so that staff, partners and customers have visibility into current inventory or order status. For example, portable RFID sleds can be attached to laptop computers to help associates quickly locate or count items.
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5. Long-term value
You won’t be able to get much out of your new devices if they break the first time they’re dropped, can’t be used in the rain, or won’t be compatible with future wireless networks. . Find solutions designed around your business purpose. Are the devices you are interested in well suited to the environment in which they will be used? Will they be able to run the kinds of applications you need down the line? Synchronize with networks and information systems?
There are different devices designed for specific operational needs. If your workplace is going to put a lot of physical impact on portable devices, printers, or scanners, you’ll need rugged technology that can survive the daily hazards they’ll face over the years. You will also need to be able to add features or unlock certain features as workflows evolve. A quality investment is meant to last and perform to your company’s standards.
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By asking the right questions before upgrading your technology, you, your employees, and your customers will all be happy because of your thought leadership. As much as I love seeing companies jump into their first big tech upgrade with two feet, it’s never fun to see all the challenges that come with going too fast. It’s important to pause to consider the real purpose behind every technology decision. Discover the role your investment in mobility is meant to play and know that by paying attention to detail, the time and money you spend today will pay off in a lasting and impactful way.