By Cliff Adams, Xplore Technologies
We just wrapped our annual sales conference at Xplore, and I was surprised to hear how frequently customers still object to the cost of rugged tablets. Or perceived cost, I should say. As Enterprise Mobility Exchange and VDC Research noted in a recent report: ‘All companies want to be “good” at enterprise mobility (or at least none want to be “bad” at it).’ But, if I’m being honest, price sensitivity seems to be hindering more companies than it’s helping today, especially when it comes to mobility investments. But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.
Yes, the necessity of real-time access to complete and accurate data sets has probably left your organization pining for best-in-class mobile technologies that extend “the office” anywhere and everywhere workers may go. And I recognize that the widespread digitization of workflows, along with the move to greater automation in global industrial sectors, has driven a greater urgency for mobile computing technologies that can capture, transmit, and disseminate relevant data between multiple systems and information workers simultaneously. That’s why more than 59% of enterprises are increasing their mobility budgets this year. It’s also why nearly every company is spending hours, days, or even entire years, comparison shopping in the hopes of finding a solution that gives them the best bang for their buck. Even the world’s largest and most financially healthy organizations are eager to maximize their tech spend. I get that.
But, from what I’m hearing, despite the diligence in their market research and the proven business case for rugged tablets, too many manufacturers, utilities, public safety agencies and other field-based organizations are making mobile PC decisions at the mercy of a misleading sticker price. They’re feeling pressured to “prioritize” items on their must-have list (not wish list, but must-have list) in an effort to save money in the short term. Or they’re forced to compromise on a “less expensive” PC platform to appease other cost-sensitive influencers who aren’t looking at the Total Cost of Ownership. But here’s the catch (and the reason for my surprise at the ongoing pricing objections our sales team shared):
Best-in-class mobile computers such as rugged tablets don't have to be budget-busters; nor do they require you to trade-off on performance to hit your target price like nearly every other mobile computer, rugged or not. That’s one myth that, as an industry, we need to bust once and for all.
- First off, the “cost” or “price” of mobility is no longer defined by a single hardware line item. Choosing a seemingly less expensive device is not beneficial to anyone; not even the most price sensitive companies. The reality is that spending money on off-the-shelf mobile computers, or even rugged laptops or handhelds, that have limited computing capabilities or prove unable to scale as your digital IT architecture expands will nearly always drive new complexities and unwelcome “additional” costs. In other words, you can no longer make a mobile computer purchase without considering the costs of corresponding software, accessories, network infrastructure, IT/support capabilities and EMM services creates a lot of unwanted complexities and unwelcome “additional” costs. You must always look at the cost of mobility holistically. Once you do, the cost of those high-performance rugged tablets you really need won’t seem so high in comparison to other options. In fact, you’ll probably find that your rugged tablet investment will end up increasing productivity, reducing operating costs, and improving your competitive advantage thanks to its unmatchable flexibility and long-term stability. Don’t believe me? Just ask any customer that has deployed Xplore’s rugged tablets during the last 20 years. They can provide ample proof that investing in the best-in-class mobility solutions resulted in a lower TCO than any other PC option they had tried previously. Think about it this way: If they didn’t achieve their target TCO and ROI, do you really think Fortune 500 companies in telecommunications would keep re-investing in Xplore solutions. Or that global leaders in the utilities, railway and even military sectors would go all-in on rugged tablets, generation after generation, for 10-15 years straight?
- Secondly, it is possible to get exactly what you want and need in a mobile computing platform, if you work with the right technology partner. I can understand why shopping off-the-shelf may be frustrating; the hard-configured feature sets can be very limiting. By working with a solutions architect and team of mobility experts that know your industry, you’ll not only get a more concise list of recommended PC platforms, but you will be able to secure custom-engineered specifications if needed at the same cost as a less-than-sufficient business-grade device. They’ll ensure you give proper consideration to your long-term performance, security and connectivity needs, as well as factor in worker preferences to drive fast adoption of your solution.
- Most importantly, the advantage of best-in-class rugged tablets is that you can find a performance-driven PC at every price point, and the cost of entry is dropping every day. In fact, we just expanded the price and performance options for the category-leading Xplore XSLATE R12 rugged tablet PC product family today. You can get the XSLATE R12 equipped with the super-fast 7 th generation “Kaby Lake” Intel® Celeron processor – and all the bells and whistles your workers need – starting at the low price of $2299. Or, if you need increased security and mobile device management tools, you can now purchase the highly-sought-after XSLATE R12 with a 7 th generation Intel Core™ i7 vPro™ processor starting at $3299. Of course, there are plenty of configuration options in between, giving you the freedom to “build” your PC to your exact standards and within your set budget – without compromise. All proving once again that you don’t have to break the bank to achieve best-in-class mobility and, ultimately, have everything you need to advance current and future business goals.
Just don’t be so quick to discount the value of rugged tablets, no matter your mobility strategy. The last thing any company needs is to spend thousands, or millions, of dollars on mobile computers that will never meet expectations. Take the time to explore your options and find a technology solutions provider that can meet your price and performance standards without compromise.