Maximizing ROI of Rugged Mobile Computers for Government

As the government heads toward a new fiscal year, saving taxpayer money is more important than ever. As such, it is important for decision makers to purchase technology that promotes the greatest return on investment (ROI) possible while also meeting their workers’ unique needs.

Recently, the market intelligence and advisory firm VDC Research looked into the ROI that tablets can offer toward government and enterprise workforce productivity. According to their recent white paper, adopting well-designed mobile computer solutions can help organizations achieve a “40 percent increase in workforce productivity and a 30 percent average improvement in customer satisfaction and loyalty.”

But what is a “well-designed mobile computer solution?” One that takes into account how and where the device will be used and whether it offers the usability features, security and reliability that workers can depend on in the field. According to VDC Research, there is no “one size fits all” tablet solution and technology purchase decisions should focus on identifying the solution that provides value while balancing upfront costs with ongoing cost of ownership and support.

Here are some tips on how your agency can get the best ROI on a mobile computing solution:

  • Examine durability and failure rates: Tablets and mobile computers come in many varieties of “rugged.” It is important to select a device that can withstand the conditions of your workers’ environments. Panasonic’s Toughbook computer product line has an average failure rate of 2.24 percent, while PC Magazine’s study of laptop failure rates – most recently released in February 2014 – showed that 13 percent of business laptops fail on average. Military personnel and mobile field workers need a reliable device that can sustain drops and falls, bad weather, vibration sustained by use in helicopters, boats and land vehicles, or other difficult conditions.
  • Consider usability features: Daylight-viewable screens, stylus pens and screens that work even when wet or while the user is wearing gloves are all features that should be taken into consideration. By understanding your users’ potential needs, you can arm your workforce with mobile devices that meet the needs of more people in more places.
  • Evaluate options to boost productivity: Devices with built-in barcode scanners, magnetic stripe readers and other peripheral connectivity options broaden the scope of their use.
  • Select a solution with robust security features: Data protection is increasingly important and mobile computing devices need to have strict security policies in place to protect sensitive information wherever workers need to access data. Devices equipped with smart card readers, for example, can provide an extra layer of security to ensure valuable data is protected.
  • Consider battery capability: Longer battery lives and bridge batteries allow for increased productivity among workers and less hassle on the job. Disruption of work to charge a device can lead to worker downtime which ultimately affects business. Battery life can critically affect job performance and prevent access to critical data. For example, emergency responders in the field need reliable communication with command centers and other public safety agencies, access to GPS, and life-saving medical information that cannot fail at vital moments.
  • Consider wireless requirements: Embedded wireless connectivity eliminates the need to purchase (and potentially support and repair) an external modem. The device must provide connectivity in any environment so workers can access the critical data they need, when they need it.

Whether your agency is looking for tablets or mobile computers, it is essential to understand your workers’ environments and job processes, and use that insight to purchase technology that will provide the greatest ROI. Selecting the right technology for your agency this year will provide a reliable solution for your workers for years to come.