Given that the average life span of mobile devices, such as Android or iOS based solutions, is approximately 12 months before a new hardware platform is introduced that is faster and more robust, a variety of innovation and financial challenges impact today’s retailers’ mobile device strategy. A great way to keep current with rapidly evolving IT innovations and control costs is to employ a Software As A Service (SaaS) model that incorporates the cost of hardware into the subscription price (sometimes referred to as Hardware As a Service or HaaS). This allows retailers to pay for mobile devices (hardware, security, applications, etc.) as a flat-fee subscription service, thereby eliminating the large up-front costs associated with mobile device deployments.
As the SaaS market continues to evolve, more vendors are bundling the software and mobile device into one simple subscriber fee to provide a variety of significant benefits, including these four:
1. Reduce Technology Risk & Obsolesce – With the short life cycle of mobile devices, customers shouldn't have to take the technology risk to buy hardware equipment that is likely to be obsolete before it fully depreciates. As equipment becomes obsolete due to faster processing power and new form factors, retailers end up managing mobile devices that are no longer the “latest and greatest” and, over time, result in slower app performance and shorter battery life. A SaaS model that incorporates the mobile device eliminates obsolesce and ensures the retail employees have a solution that optimally performs.
2. Accelerate Implementation & Flexibility - By eliminating upfront capital requirements, retailers have the ability to implement mobile device strategies and initiatives when they need the solution, instead of when funding becomes available. Also, bundling the mobile device as part of a software subscription provides retailers greater flexibility to scale to meet the ebb and flow of a seasonal business.
3. Reduce Big Upfront Capital Expense - As with all SaaS models, the financial benefit is trading a large initial investment for small, monthly payments, keeping costs constant from month to month and making it easier to manage the financials.
4. Simplify Management & Maintenance - A good SaaS solution that includes the mobile device has the benefit of not only removing/minimizing the retailer’s responsibility if the devices are lost, broken, or damaged by the retailer’s employees, but also includes timely upgrades to new devices and software maintenance and feature enhancements.
Another cost saving aspect is many of the job functions of expensive IT staff can be performed as part of the SaaS service through remote device management. This reduces the responsibility of a retailer’s IT person to set up and support the mobile device, as well as the costs of down-time when devices stop working and the costs of returning broken equipment to the manufacturer.
As retailers continue to outfit their associates with technology to improve customer service and overall productivity, a SaaS model that incorporates the mobile device not only provides a variety of financial benefits but can also provide peace of mind that the solution will keep pace with today’s ever-faster innovation curve.