Calculating Total Cost of Ownership: Mobile Devices

Think you got your smartphone on sale for $200? Think again. Consumer smartphones increase Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by up to 50 percent compared to enterprise-grade devices, so, it’s important to calculate an accurate TCO when selecting a mobile device.

According to research consultants VDC, TCO impacts hard costs of deployment, such as hardware, accessories, software implementation and training, in addition to soft operational costs, such as productivity loss, opportunity loss and IT support costs. Organizations need to take both hard and soft costs into account, in addition to the actual cost of the mobile device before selecting one.

While soft costs can be tricky to calculate, they are crucial to understanding your TCO. VDC estimates that hard costs only account for 10% or less of TCO over five years, making soft costs, like IT support and productivity loss, 90% of your TCO!

This is why choosing the right mobile device can make a difference. Consumer mobile devices may look like a more cost-effective option compared with enterprise-grade devices because of their low initial cost. However, they are much less durable, which can lead to worker downtime, quick replacement cycles and additional support, making their TCO much higher.

In addition, consumer-grade devices also need additional software or services in order to meet business and security requirements. Consumer devices also become obsolete quickly, causing a high device churn rate.
Enterprise-grade mobile devices are made for harsh environments can easily be tailored to specific organizational needs. Their durability, security and applications are much more geared towards businesses, making their soft operational costs much lower. Although their initial cost may be a bit higher, their TCO is actually lower since there is less downtime, repairs and software customization.

Learn more about calculating your TCO by downloading this free white paper from Zebra, “The High Costs of Consumer Grade Devices.”