Does success cause high TCO?

In my recently launched Mobile Strategy Snapshot Report, I tackle the issue of total cost of ownership (TCO). Consider this a prescription for keeping a $200 smartphone from costing you $4,000 per user. The report offers 10 recommendations to keep TCO manageable:

  1. Ask potential users what their pain is
  2. Find out how end users work
  3. Be clear on training versus learning
  4. Make sure management understands its role
  5. Ask the right questions during the pilot
  6. Understand how the little things impact TCO
  7. Unless you’re on a farm, avoid silos
  8. Go for broke: Initiate an organization-wide mobile strategy
  9. Is there change you can budget for?
  10. Remember the main TCO budget items

(Click here for the full report)

But what about the TCO of implementing successful mobile ? Success changes organizations. If an app for mobile workers that replaces paper forms with handheld devices increases data flow to the office staff by 300%, you’re in trouble if the staff isn’t properly prepared.

Peter Jackson, Project Manager, Business Operations at John Sands, LTD in Australia told me “we wanted to start a new process to pay workers by having them process forms using their mobile devices. We find this is a much simpler bunch of data to collect, but it’s proving very difficult to train people because this is not a process that currently exists for them.”

Chief Strategy Officer for vendor Visage Mobile, Dean Alms observes “the short-term immediate cost for having a successful application in the field is the development time creating a system at headquarters to collect this data.” Oliver Tsai, Director of IT Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, adds, “once you experience success, other areas find out and want the same applications. This is always a financial as well as implementation challenge because you get overwhelmed with ideas, especially when the mobile application can affect every service.”

This doesn’t mean that the increased costs associated with unplanned success have to be a bad thing. The bottom line is this. Proper previous planning is one of the keys to keeping TCO low. This applies to the successes you expect to get from a mobile application.

Take the claims of the most exuberant sales person, put on your deepest rose colored glasses and double the promised impact. Then go analyze your organization’s operations to identify where these projected results will have the greatest impact in terms increased time, money and other resources. Plan accordingly.


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