In order for a Door-To-Door CRM to be a truly effective tool, mobile handheld devices must be incorporated. This is because DSR sDSMs and customers have a need for real-time promotional information, credit approvals as well as reports. Secondly, Handheld devices improve the image of DSRs by making them appear more professional and technology savvy. However, when buying handheld devices facilities management should not be lead astray by the lure of a cheap or less expensive brand. Durability, reliability, user-friendliness, and the technology platform are significant factors in determining the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

How TCO Influences Buying Handheld Devices

  • Durability. Durability covers the likelihood that an item will break (see video) as a result of motion, too many moving parts, temperature extreme and quality of design for the task at hand. Each time an item breaks there are costs associated to replace as well as downtime. Purchasing managers should look at external casings as well as design.
  • Reliability. Reliability issues include battery life, software stability, how often is technical support needed and at what costs. Examples include the amount of downtime due to battery recharging, bugs in the software and technical support issues.
  • Ease of Use/training. The key to increased adoption rates is the ease that DSRs and DSMs can learn functionality. Given the high turnover of DSRs it is important that the handheld devices remain consistent so training for new DSRs can be performed by DSMs.
  • Technology platform. The two major components to evaluating the technology platform are mobility and stability. Mobility means that the desired efficiencies are being achieved in particularly ease of transport/mobility. Stability refers to making sure the operating platform is in series and not going to be obsolete with replacement. Laptops undergo many model and operating system changes. This may result in cable operators having to manage equipment running multiple platforms with various degrees of functionality.

Cable CRM MC75 versus Laptop Computers

Some cable operators have been looking at laptop computers as a replacement for handheld devices based upon price. In this example, we have compared the Mintek recommended MC75 with laptop computers to get a better idea of how TCO should influence purchasing decisions.

Example – Cable CRM MC75 versus Laptop. Primary goal is to facilitate the sales process with accurate up to date client and sales information as well as speed up the sales cycle.

Price Range Durability Reliability Ease of Use Technology Platform – mobility Technology Platform – stability
MC75 $1500 – $3000 great great good – touch screens unlimited, can also be used as cell and scanner stable -windows 5
Laptop Computers $ 500 – $5000 very easily damaged low battery life fair substantially heavier, data transfer only weak – constantly changing

The TCO for some products can be 3-10 times the original price making it very important to ask the right questions during the planning stage. Therefore understanding how the devices will be used over the course of their useful lifecycle is crucial. Mobile DSRs need handheld devices that match their for functionality and mobility. Commercial products such as the Motorola line are designed to be very durable but also to work with specific application software. Laptops on the other hand, are designed for generic uses. Lastly, laptops are far more likely have to be replaced as either a result of failure or changing series. Mintek strongly recommends the MC75 for all cable CRM and sales force automation. Tell us your experiences with mobile handheld devices.

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