Buying with confidence

Mobile IT has been great news for those selling hardware, networking systems, software and security products that enable easy and...

Mobile IT has been great news for those selling hardware, networking systems, software and security products that enable easy and safe connection. It should also be great for you in terms of what deal you can get from such people.

For computer technology resellers, the growth in the number of wireless hot-spots and the determination by employees to take advantage of recent legislation to demand flexible working hours and working from home has provided a wonderful opportunity to profit from the mobile IT technology.

But before your go out and buy the essential technology that underpins these two issues, don’t forget that the underlying reason your company is deploying mobile technology is because of the potential to reduce costs.

Providing you with the opportunity to work remotely increases performance; a wireless network in a head office can be cheaper because of the reduced wiring infrastructure. Recognising your motivation to save money should be the key to any sale of mobile technology and services.

However, not many manufacturers and their resellers are recognising these aims in their sales approach and instead are typically selling technology on its functional benefits and not on what business gains it can deliver.

There is also some confusion by those who do not realise exactly what they are selling. For example, some resellers have experienced vendors promoting products that offer mobility but not necessarily the ability to offer an always on wireless connection.

Successful companies for resellers and end-users alike are those which have a greater understanding of mobile IT in its most wide context.

Les Francis, mobile and channels consultant at Toshiba, sums up his company’s approach. “You have to move away from technology and look at the business issues. You are not just saying here is another product.

"Everyone buys into not pushing the technology but how do you convince people to spend money on new projects and the answer is return on investment.”

In short you should find out exactly what [mobile] technology can do for you and what you can achieve and communicate this to the dealer.

Any doubts that customers are not interested in using mobile IT to achieve greater efficiencies can be challenged not just by analyst figures but by the personal experiences of those selling the products.

A number of resellers report a surge in demand across the board with products available to fit all budgets and requirements: smaller customers are reported to want to use laptops to take advantage of Wi-Fi hotspots and the larger corporations are typically using wireless networks because they are cheaper.

Don’t forget you have choices about who to choose as a supplier. The direct model, advocated by Dell, is one option and the other is to choose a supplier that delivers products and services via a reseller.

Whilst not all resellers will be up to the task of guiding you through the mobile maze from day one, you can quickly discover the benefits of buying from local trusted resellers which should be able to analyse your infrastructure and needs, design a mobile IT solution, install and then manage the products and network.

Once you find a reseller you trust you can then look at a total solution which could include a bundle with storage, peripherals and even a PC equipped with a GPRS always on connection from a phone operator. You could buy this technology on a set fee per month basis, making it easy for you to budget.

Other technologies to investigate are those that allow you to move from one wireless environment to another without the need to configure allowing an always on connection. As well as eliminating configuration costs from your dealer, the other bonus is that the technology chooses the least expensive connection option to link up to.

Another thing to remember are service level agreements (SLAs). These should be well thought out and as well as making sure that the SLA includes the type and  quantity of service desk support and on-site support that your business demands now, you should try to ensure that the SLA is flexible enough to take into consideration your future business plans.

This is especially important with wireless where you may want to take advantage of future advanced networks but may not be able to if you are locked into a rigid contract.

Ultimately those selling mobile IT products are in a strong position because the market is moving towards their products and services. Sooner or later you will contemplate consulting a reseller about how they can connect you to a mobile IT world. Take great care and attention in this process.

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