With any major purchase decision, enterprises perform a cost benefit analysis. Unfortunately, many make the mistake of not looking beyond the purchase price of a mobile device. It’s essential to also consider costs over the expected life of the device.
Since budgets are key considerations in the decision-making process, price is a major concern. Higher priced hardware may present purchase barriers. However, price, in relation to cost, is a one-time expenditure whereas costs are ongoing and can affect the business over time.
It’s true that the initial cost of a rugged enterprise digital assistant (EDA) is often higher than a commercial non-rugged unit. This is due to more complex engineering, extended testing, higher sales costs and low production volumes. However, studies show that rugged devices have a dramatically lower total cost of ownership over a 5 year period. It’s like the old TV commercial about auto maintenance where the mechanic says “You can pay me now…or pay me later.”
This finding is backed up by Venture Development Corporation’s (VDC) findings in their Total Cost of Ownership models that surveyed a broad range of actual deployments. VDC reports total cost of ownership annual savings of up to 17% in Field Profession applications and up to 32% in Supply Chain applications for rugged hardware deployments. So even though the purchase price of a rugged device may be higher than a commercial device, it is usually money well spent in the long run.
Commercial devices are designed for use in a non-rugged office environment where rugged features are not important considerations for consumers. If commercial devices are deployed outside of their intended application, the lack of rugged features can seriously shorten their lifespan, adding to the total cost of ownership.