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Mobile Computing Solution Benefits

The benefits from any automation project, including mobile computing, can be classified into two categories - tangible benefits and intangible benefits. Tangible benefits can be quantified more easily than the latter variety. We shall discuss both types briefly.

Tangible Benefits
The saving that results from staff reductions is probably the most obvious economic benefit associated with a mobile computing solution. Mobile computing can lead to increased individual productivity, increased sales per sales person, more service calls per repair person and less time spent by professionals on administrative work, all of which can ultimately translate into a reduction in total staff required.

However, there are several other tangible benefits associated with mobile computing solutions. A higher order-fill ratio as a result of accessing real-time inventory information at the time an order is submitted can translate into reduced inventory costs. On-the-spot invoice production in service vehicles can lead to shorter payment cycles and better cash flow. The electronic citation/ticketing applications with credit card payment of traffic violations that public safety agencies are experimenting with can lead to a higher ratio of paid fines.

The following table shows a range of potential benefits that can all be used to justify mobile computing applications.

Nature of Benefits From Mobile/Wireless Computing Solutions 


TYPE OF BENEFITS (Tangible & Intangible)

Formula For Quantification $ Savings = Number of Users * $ Bundled Wages * % Productivity Improvement + $ Sales Increase * Profit Margin ( because of improved customer service) + Decrease in inventory costs * interest rate multiplier
Sales Automation
  • Shorter sales cycle; increased sales per sales person — reduced head count
  • Elimination of order entry staff; more accurate data in database
  • Better customer service — reduced merchandise return
  • Lower inventory costs
  • Increased market share
Electronic Mail
  • Less time spent calling the office for mail messages

Go here for a consultant study sponsored by RIM.

Computer Aided Dispatch For Service Representatives
  • Increased number of service calls per day
  • On-the-spot invoicing — faster payment cycle
  • Electronic dispatch of parts — reduced administrative and inventory costs
  • Improved customer service
Health Care Industry
  • Less administration for doctors
  • Better patient care
  • Tele-diagnostics — faster diagnosis
Public Safety Applications
  • More efficient deployment of law enforcement staff;
  • Reduced time to reach scene of crime, hospital or fire — safer communities
  • Lower voice-network costs
  • Fewer dispatch or communications control center personnel
  • More efficient records management through officer entry of incidence reports
Accident/Collision Data Systems
  • Real-time entry of accident data avoids subsequent duplication of effort
  • Information available to police and insurance simultaneously;
Taxi Dispatch
  • Less cruise time
  • Credit card authorization leads to improved service and more customers
  • Reduced dispatch personnel costs
Financial Industry (Insurance)
  • Reduced selling cycle
  • Superior customer follow-up
  • Higher dollar sales per sales presentation
Financial Industry - (Stock Trading)
  • Faster trades — more trades per hour
  • More accurate trading
Retail Industry
  • Faster sales stations during seasonal sales
  • Reduced electrical and wiring costs
  • Improved customer service
  • Automated vending machines with credit authorization lead to higher sales
Airline Industry
  • Better customer service leads to higher sales
  • Fewer missing baggage complaints — reduced tracing costs
  • More accurate maintenance data leads to safer plane flights
  • Electronic dispatch of parts results in less time in grounding of planes under service
  • Lower wiring costs as a result of wireless LANs
  • Accurate inventory control
  • More accurate production tracking
General Office Applications (Public Sector)
  • Better document control
  • Reduced administrative staff requirements
  • Timely access to bills under debate in the legislature
News Communications (Sports, conferences)
  • Lower wiring costs as a result of wireless LANs
  • Real-time scores fed to media - score competitive advantage
Wireless LANs
  • Cabling cost reduced 
  • Time to implement reduced
  • Faster network speed as compared to wireless WAN

Go here for more info. on justifying wireless LANs

Intangible Benefits
Many of the applications of mobile computing involve automating sales, improving customer service or gaining a competitive advantage — all benefits that tend to be difficult to quantify. The project team should outline these benefits with as much detail and as specifically as possible. The group should then translate these benefits into percent increases in sales, market shares and productivity improvements. If the benefit can not be quantified with a high degree of reliability (we suggest above 70 percent), it should be handled with weights and scores as described in Chapter 4 of the Mobile Computing - A Systems Integrator's Handbook.

ROI  & Justification - Benefits - Some Customer Quotes from an IBM-Cisco Presentation

Benefits of Enterprise Mobility 

Improved Business Productivity

  • Enhanced worker efficiency through increased access to online resources

  • Unlocks value in offline devices (brings PDA-like resources online)

  • Faster execution of strategy (new procedures, pricing)

  • Increased knowledge-sharing amongst workers, customers and partners

  • Improved quality of decision making by informing employees

  • Workers that can tune their level of interaction are apt to work during off hours

Improved Customer Loyalty/Service

  • Better customer service (employees: are better informed, have shorter response times, have an improved ability to sense and respond)

  • Higher quality interaction with customer

Business Resilience

  • - Able to quickly react to adversity through multiple channels

  • - Rapid deployment in reaction to an "event"

Cultural Enhancement

  • - Attracting and retaining employees, by allowing them to work where and when they choose, and by providing them the personalized tools for appropriate, customized information

Lower Cost of Ownership

  • Reduced cabling costs

  • Teleworker credits

  • Reduced cell phone usage

Real Estate Financial Benefits - Company Snapshots

  • IBM - $100M savings per 10,000 mobile employees, now 80,000 mobile employees

  • Merrill Lynch - $5-6K savings per person in real estate costs

  • Nortel - one-time real estate saving of $61M

  • AT&T - reduced office space 50%, saving $500M since 1995

  • PacBell - saved $20M over 5 years

  • Georgia Power - saving $100K per year, reducing space by two-thirds

Increased Productivity

  • Accenture (Illinois) - reported 25% increase

  • Siemens - 15%, plus time lost to bad weather was virtually eliminated

  • BellSouth - reported 13-30% worker productivity increase

  • American Express - teleworkers handled 26% more calls and produced 43% more business than their office-based counterparts


  • AT&T - 36% of employees would find another job if telework were eliminated

  • BellSouth - 92% of remote workers report they are less likely to leave

  • Merrill Lynch - reported 30% increase in employee morale

  • Siemens - reported over 90% acceptance rating from employees

Related Resources:



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