by Lorraine Cosgrove Ware

Reduce Support Costs: Standardize Wireless Devices

Oct 01, 20022 mins
MobileSmall and Medium Business

Reduce Support Costs: Standardize Wireless Devices

Companies that have already invested in wireless technologies are seeing the payoff of standardizing their users’ wireless access devices. CIO’s recent survey of wireless technology adoption (“2002 Wireless Update,” available at found that the majority (79 percent) of the 266 survey respondents has standardized on wireless devices and is experiencing 24 percent lower support costs for wireless devices than companies that have not implemented wireless standards.

“IT departments want to deal with problems that are predictable, and they run into trouble and higher support costs when they have to support devices they’re unfamiliar with,” says Kevin Burden, IDC’s program manager for handheld services (IDC is a sister company to CIO’s publisher). “Standards help minimize the unpredictable problems.” Companies are standardizing?meaning that the IT organization supports company-specified devices or applications only?laptops with wireless modems, PDAs and pagers most frequently.

Best Practices

Have a standardization strategy. Companies need to standardize on a device or OS that best supports the applications. Determine what information needs to be accessed, by whom and from where, and avoid one-off applications designed to address a specific need. Make sure your wireless solution is scalable.

Predict problems. “Resolving a wireless user problem should become cheaper over time,” says IDC’s Kevin Burden. “Standardizing on devices really minimizes the unpredictability and increases the efficiency of the help desk.”

Understand the limitations of wireless. While WANs offer broad coverage, their performance can be slow. Wireless LANs are more convenient than wired LANs and more reliable for LANs, but they transmit data only for short distances (for example within a building). Determine how large an area you need to cover and the speed and bandwidth your applications require, for today and down the road.

Source: CIO’s Wireless Update Survey of 266 I.T. professionals, May 2002. (Respondents could select more than one answer.)