Tech Trends: Taking Charge Of Data Collection Devices
By Brian Albright, Business Solutions magazine.
Security, device management play bigger role in data collection deployments.
Deploying mobile bar-scanning devices within the enterprise has become a more complex endeavor for VARs, integrators, and customers thanks to the advent of more robust mobile computing platforms and wireless communications. Deployment, support, security, and ongoing maintenance and management issues mean that VARs have to deliver more complete solutions and provide guidance to their customers on these issues. Otherwise, the sales could be jeopardized.
These solutions require more IT department bandwidth than ever before to implement and manage the equipment, and that includes the initial configuration and development of custom images that might overlay the operating system on the device.
For large deployments, customers will need help with staging and preparing these devices; manually doing so can lead to errors and additional deployment costs. Customers also need an effective way to track devices and peripherals, robust training, and both reactive and proactive remote support. This provides an opportunity for VARs to pitch their own support services and to offer assistance in deploying a mobile device management solution to support the data collection system.
While both vendor-provided and third-party master data management (MDM) solutions can help, the goal in either case is to prevent any user downtime. "Once deployed, data collection often becomes an integral part of an end user's job," says Larry Klimczyk, vice president of Intermec Global Solutions. "If the device doesn't work or is configured incorrectly, or if the end user doesn't know how to use it, the end user's productivity may be significantly impacted."
Data collection solutions may be deployed within the four walls of the enterprise (in a warehouse management application, for example) or in remote field locations. These outdoor/remote applications present the more daunting deployment and support challenges.
Device management is a critical component for any mobile data collection deployment, and VARs ignore it at their peril. Providing a robust, reliable MDM framework (whether from the device manufacturer or an ISV) will ensure a successful deployment and ongoing goodwill from the client.