There are several ways that enterprises can improve wireless application ROI. Wireless ROI improvement can be seen in terms of reduced payback period, dollars saved, or increased revenues.
Steps to improve wireless ROI
- Measure ROI: Effective measurement is the first step toward improving ROI for wireless applications. Measuring returns is an efficient way to remove shortcomings and improve wireless applications' effectiveness. When measuring wireless ROI, try to measure in the short term (12 months or less) and establish metrics that are truly relevant to your business. Use approximate forecasts that take into account the difficulty in quantifying factors like customer satisfaction and competitive advantage.
- Make it easy for customers: Acquiring and retaining customers is one of the most fundamental returns desired from any wireless investment. Making it easy for customers to use wireless service is the key. Where possible, look for solutions that can be accessed with existing cell phones or solutions that can be deployed with simple upgrades like wireless modems.
- Focus on productivity enhancement: Productivity enhancement is a direct return that can be easily translated into ROI. By making sure applications are accessible via a variety of devices and by providing user training, productivity improvements can be substantially enhanced and the payback period reduced.
- Move beyond PIM applications: Once a basic wireless infrastructure is in place, it's relatively simple to extend basic personal information management (PIM) applications to more sophisticated applications such as sales force automation, customer relationship management, supply chain management, and work force automation, etc. Having a wireless migration strategy in place before looking for wireless solutions makes it easier to select the right technology and solutions vendor, which is cost effective in the long term.
- Select the right vendor: For some companies, deploying wireless service is a more extensive undertaking than deploying other IT services. Since large enterprises often have users spread across different locations, for them wireless deployment involves multiple carriers and the need to work with multiple vendors. Selecting the right set of vendors or system integrators affects a solutions' overall setup and maintenance costs.
- Roll out systematically: Evaluating your mobility needs across business functions and rolling out wireless services in steps can enable you to avoid huge initial investments (and costly mistakes) and also provide valuable experience for expanding the service to other functions in your organization. Opting for a few months trial service is another effective way to make sure you select the right solution.
- Watch your competitors: Wireless can be put into a host of innovative applications, which can significantly improve returns. The wireless market is an evolving one, both in terms of technology and applications. Keep an eye on your competitors' use of wireless technology and learn from their successes and mistakes.
- Go for open standards: Open standard-based wireless products are desirable because they reduce maintenance and implementation costs. Implementations based on open standards can accelerate ROI by making it easy for IT departments to maintain and extend applications as the company's IT infrastructure expands.
Don't forget hidden returns
Finally, there's one more important but normally overlooked return on wireless applications investments: that is, corporate branding. Investment returns that are a result of brand image improvement, though not tangible, can be very significant indeed. So where possible, use your mobile wireless initiative to improve your brand image.