Enterprise Mobile Purchasing: What’s the Actual Cost?

By Jim Haviland
Topics: Device as a Service (DaaS) Telecom Expense Management (TEM)

I have bad news for you.  Everything you thought you knew about owning a fleet of mobile devices is probably wrong.  The history of enterprise mobile device purchasing has put you into a bad place.  Like a frog in boiling water, if I were to drop you into your current approach, you’d jump out – but you’ve been cooking for a long time.

For some, this will be painful, so I’ll lay it out in a few small steps:

  1. Nothing is free
  2. Optimization requires control
  3. Control does not require Ownership
  4. Device-as-a-Service is already Optimized

Nothing is Free.

Long ago when enterprise mobility represented cell phones that had 12 buttons, a volume control and an ON/OFF switch, the cost of the devices was significantly less than the cost of the connectivity.  That said, US carriers decided to offer “free phones” to get consumers to adopt them and then baked the tiny additional price of the device into the monthly fee. They also charged a hefty fee for leaving your contract early.  If you kept that phone longer than the length of your contract (i.e. 24 months) you were providing pure profit to the carrier.  Now, that might sound familiar if you are still in the mode of getting “free” or nearly free devices but the numbers have changed – as have your options.

Consider the Actual Enterprise Mobile Purchasing Rates

Neither Apple nor Samsung allow resellers to have more than a few percentage points of margin on their hardware, so the carriers are paying nearly full price for mobile devices. Carriers have also never gone to the trouble of optimizing their supply chain as an enterprise-grade reseller.  This reality was laid out in stark detail by Gartner in August 2016.[https://www.gartner.com/doc/3410717/enterprises-separate-wireless-device-service]  “U.S. cellular providers offer domestic service discounts of 20% or more for plans used with unsubsidized phones.”

Bottom line: Make your carriers provide a quote on unsubsidized mobile device rates and consider all the cost aspects before considering their free offers.

Enterprise Mobile Optimization Requires Control

Back when smartphones were merely a convenience for keeping up on email and occasionally accessing a document, BYOD made a lot of sense – under certain conditions. As more and more business processes are fully mobile-enabled or even mobile-first, it has become more important for IT departments to control the user experience and all the parts of the enterprise mobile environment. Recent studies by Oxford Economics [https://www.oxfordeconomics.com/recent-releases/Maximizing-Mobile-Value] have shown that there are significant cost benefits as well as value benefits to simply providing the right devices to mobile workers that need to use them to do their job.  The report shows that mobile devices are cheaper to purchase and maintain than traditional form factors with similar capabilities.  Additionally, modern versions of iOS and Android give IT departments extraordinary management capabilities and insights that help secure and optimize the environment for the most import thing: getting work done.

Bottom line: If you aren’t including considerations for the value of the work being done in your BYOD analysis, you are missing the most important part.  The best way to optimize work on a mobile device is to have full control.

Device control does not require ownership

You have had the option to lease servers, desktops and other IT infrastructure for a long time.  The ubiquity of these devices, as well as a predictable lifecycle and end-of-life value, made leasing the right approach for organizations that didn’t want to spend precious internal resources on such a minor function.  The markets for used mobile devices are very well understood – as are the systems and requirements that are required to preserve that value.  Your enterprise mobility program could probably move to some of the same procurement programs that support your other IT assets.  Along with making the cost more manageable, you can reduce the burden of having to keep track of upgrades, not to mention the Early Termination Fee waivers that the carrier program required.

Bottom line: Mobile devices could be purchased more like the rest of your IT assets while relieving management burden and saving money.

Device-as-a-Service is already Optimized

If you were to start a company today, almost any company, would you build a data center?  Probably not. You probably wouldn’t build a data center any more than you would generate your own electricity or do your own payroll.  While you have been slowly cooking in your old-fashioned enterprise mobility pot, all the pieces that make up a fully developed and optimized Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) offering. DaaS isn’t new.  A number of participants in the device lifecycle have been offering the full DaaS suite for years. Back in 2017, CIO magazine pronounced device ownership a thing of the past [ https://www.cio.com/article/3192783/device-as-a-service-makes-device-ownership-and-management-a-thing-of-the-past.html] But if you still believed that you negotiated a great deal with your carrier, you probably dismissed all their calls.  (You weren’t getting a great deal from your carrier – ever).

Taking the Vox Mobile DaaS offering https://daas.www.voxmobile.com/ as an example, this is what a truly complete device life-cycle-for-one-price-per-month offering should look like:

  • Device and accessory procurement
  • Device configuration
  • Device replacement insurance
  • Depot repair
  • Warranty management
  • Forward and reverse logistics
  • 24/7 End user support including live helpdesk, text, and knowledgebase
  • Unified Endpoint Management (UEM), Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), or MDM
  • 24/7 administration of the UEM/EMM/MDM

DaaS programs are configurable on all these points so you have a program that perfectly fits your needs – and Vox Mobile can help sort out what the best fit looks like. These enterprise mobility programs can also include a lease-buy-back of all your current devices so you don’t have to wait to get started. Automatic refreshes are also built into the price so you can pay one monthly price forever. Most recently, you can include data coverage from any of the major US carriers with cost optimization which means, not only do you not have to bother with your carrier, but the entire program is truly for one, monthly price.

Amongst the thousands of things this means you won’t have to do anymore:

  • Shop for devices.
  • Coordinate multiple support department and providers.
  • Handle the gaps in service between those providers that you didn’t think of before.
  • Coordinate a large roll-out.
  • Handle a lost device for a VP in a foreign country.
  • Accumulate a stack of broken devices that you aren’t sure what to do with.

Bottom line: If you haven’t already done so, you can free up time, energy, resources and management attention by immediately contacting Vox Mobile about a DaaS program – and jump out of that boiling pot once and for all.