Great news for wireless

Wireless has been great news for those selling the mobile hardware, networking systems, software and security products that...

Wireless has been great news for those selling the mobile hardware, networking systems, software and security products that enable easy and safe connection.

For 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 an opportunity to promote the technology.

But the underlying reason any enterprise such as yours would want to deploy wireless is because of the potential to reduce costs. Providing you with the opportunity to work remotely increases performance and 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 wireless technology and services.

Few manufacturers and their reseller channels are taking that sales approach as the majority continue to sell technology not benefits. Added to that there are the usual followers that emerge trailing a popular market and some desperate suppliers have promoted products that are far from wireless causing confusion for both customers and resellers.

For example, some resellers have experienced some 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 who have a greater understanding of wireless in a wider 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," he adds "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 wireless 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 wireless 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 solutions 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 wireless resellers will be up to the task of guiding you through the wireless maze from day one, you can quickly discover the benefits of buying from local trusted resellers who should be able to analyse your infrastructure and needs, design a wireless 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 wireless 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 wireless world. Take great care and attention in this process.

This article was part of Computer Weekly's enterprise mobile business channel, sponsored by Nokia

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