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Recently, I was involved in device selection process for one of the utility major in Europe. The common question that was asked being – What is the best device for mobilising SAP? The usual response for this query would be – ‘It depends!’. Similarly, there can be a possibility of many other related questions like –  What are all the criteria for this? What are the key selection factors? What will be the ROI on each options? and so on.

In my research based on my previous experiences I have come up with some ideas which I would like to share across.

The first part is to split the device requirements into three and each of these sections has different device requirements:

  1. Business Operations – Normal office employees with daily business operations.
  2. Specialist Operations – Mobile devices used in harsh environments, devices which needs to be rugged, needs different RFID,Barcode and other means of communication.
  3. Customer Facing – These are employees who face customers on sales cycles and it is important to carry a polished device as it says a bit about the company.

Now before defining the criteria, it is important to meet and discuss the key decision makers. Below are the key ones I normally use :

  • Experienced users for each area – Drivers, field technicians, Metering operation partner.
  • Business Lead – The person who is responsible for the program from the Business site.
  • Solution Architect – The person whose duty will be to make sure the device is supported by SAP, solution requirements can be achieved by the form factor and other accessories.
  • MDM Team – Lot of app lifecycle is managed by MDM. The MDM team should understand and make sure the MDM solution can support this device for rollout and provisioning etc. and also that the key device policies are supported by the device.
  • Vendor Selection Manager – The key person who holds all the communication to different vendors.
  • Health and Safety Officer – This person’s presence is not required for all meetings but the device has to be approved to cater the Corporate’s Health and Safety standards.

Now coming to criteria which needs to be formulated for each operations , a formal document was prepared with all requirements and sent out to different vendors.After a detailed response from vendors a session was run with detailed specification of each device with software installed.

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It is very important to understand the life of each devices and its operating system life.  Careful consideration has to be taken care for employees with disabilities. It is always recommended to run a pilot with some selected superusers. From all these select two best devices.

Also I have seen in my previous experiences sometimes it is better to have two devices instead of one as this gives loads of productivity, mainly in heavy vehicles one OBU (onboard unit ) and one handheld are the best options.

Once its down to last two vendors, the ROI is key consideration and costing. After this the app can be deployed to the devices and pilot programme can be started

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  1. Grant Byron

    Nice article. Device selection has become a very hot topic with the end of life of windows mobile 6.5 and people need to choose if they should go Android (where the rugged device manufactures are showing the most investment) Windows (which can be a bit overblown depending on your requirement) or even iOS in some cases. Making your application flexible enough to run cross platform is very important while the vendor and business plan their device roadmap. Syclo / Kapsel really aid in achieving this flexibility. Building native applications for any device could cause headaches down the track.

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