You have mobilized your business and now you need to mobilize your workforce.
After all, when you free your employees from the confines of your office, you increase your chances of taking your business places, getting closer to clients, and improving your market presence and visibility. But mobilizing your workforce is more than just equipping them with smartphones. In fact, just another smartphone won’t do. You need to provide phones that will not only keep them connected, but also aid their productivity and keep your valuable business data safe.
Choosing the right smartphone for your workforce involves a careful and meticulous consideration of some of the factors mentioned below.
Undoubtedly this is the most important factor that will influence your buy in more ways than one. Depending on the usage pattern, you may need to hand out different makes of smartphones to different employees. And while considering their current requirements, you will also have to think about how their needs might evolve in the coming days.
For instance, an employee from the marketing division will have to make a lot of calls throughout the day and also shoot out emails by the dozens when on the move. So you will need to provide them with a smartphone that is equipped to handle these tasks efficiently. On the other hand, your Associate Vice President will probably be better off with a smartphone with robust email capabilities that will also let him work on office applications.
Knowledge about how an employee will use his smartphone will determine the physical features that need to be present in the phone. Your Associate Vice President might appreciate a smartphone with a sliding keyboard more than one with a touchscreen simply because he will be frequently expected to answer mails on the fly, or work on documents and when out of office. You can even provide him with something that supports a keyboard for more effortless productivity.
Your marketing man, howevr, will probably be out of office for longer hours and the nature of his work will take him to place where he might not have access to a charging station. So, a smartphone with long battery life might be ideal for him.
In this case, too, usage will determine the smartphone you choose for your team. The first technological consideration is obviously the processing power of the phone. Its power determines how quickly can you download and run apps, how fast you can surf the web, and how efficiently the phone compresses large mounds of data. Security is another key technological consideration to focus on when ordering smartphones . Since your managers will be most likely to handle sensitive company and client data, they may be fit for smartphones that come with additional layers of protection.
All major wireless service providers offer technical support, but if you have an employee who needs to use his smartphone during off-hours, maybe to call a contractor in Asia during its business hours, then you will need to consider a carrier that offers technical support 24/7. When sizing up smartphones for your mobile workforce, keep in mind that not all support is created equal. Some deliver it much better than others.
Dollars and Cents
Some of you may have expected this factor to feature first in the list of considerations. Nonetheless, it remains a primary consideration for business owners looking for the right smartphone for their workforce. Although wireless service providers tend to provide voice and data plans with almost similar cost benefits, it definitely pays to compare the rates by different carriers.
For instance, if your employees are expected to be heavy data users, then you are better off sticking to unlimited data plans rather than the tiered ones. On the other hand, cost considerations will also govern the choice of an operating system for the smartphone you choose for a particular employee. You will definitely want to cut down on the costs of IT management, so going in for a single operating system in all the smartphones you provide to your employees will make rolling out updates easy and more cost-effective.
The above-mentioned factors are the most important considerations that should influence your purchase of a smartphone for your workforce. Some business owners may want to consider factors like Bluetooth connectivity and availability of a camera, but as mentioned earlier, these considerations are purely based on the usage pattern and hence will differ across companies.
Francis Santos is a writer for Benchmark Events, a best practices event marketing company.