Spirit Data Capture

Spirit News – May 2012

Welcome to the latest edition of Spirit Data Capture’s newsletter for customers who are interested in information and news relating to rugged mobile computing solutions.

In this issue, we take another look at the growing phenomenon of cloud computing; the benefits of leasing; trends in tablets; and more general mobile trends. We also compare the pros and cons of bespoke software, platform applications and off-the-shelf packages. Finally, we highlight an exciting new service that could save your company a lot of money: our Managed Helpdesk.

We hope you enjoy reading this newsletter. If you would like more information on any of the items below, please call us on 01928 718 800 or send an email to: Helen Jones.

Cloud computingDid you see that cloud move?

Cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server.

Over the past few years there has been an explosion in two areas, mobile technology and cloud computing.

A recent forecast from IDC suggests that the worldwide spending on cloud computing will triple by the end of this year. These two areas are now starting to converge, with the advent of the ‘mobile cloud’.

This new development enables products and services to be hosted on the cloud so that they are easily accessible by mobile enterprises. This reduces the cost of the infrastructure and support needed for the enterprise and leaves businesses free to focus on their core objectives - there is no need for complex systems and data centres.

Another advantage is that organisations can build, deploy and distribute mobile apps more easily and more rapidly - and because the apps are kept in the cloud, they will be more reliable and more accessible to users on a much wider scale throughout the organisation. They will also be more easily scalable, so they can grow as your business grows.

Read more about our Cloud Services.

A new lease of life...

In line with our commitment to excellence in customer service, we are seeking to offer more effective ways of providing financing for hardware and services:

  • Our leasing solutions are based on residual value and in many cases are interest-free over one, two or three years.
  • They offer you greater flexibility, off-the-balance-sheet accounting and enable you to spread the cost rather than having to make a large capital outlay.
  • The lease contract also includes helpdesk, managed services and a full technology upgrade.

Packages starting from £13 per week per user.

Have you taken your tablet?

We are seeing a big trend towards the use of tablet PCs as they become more affordable and continue to remain rugged. One of the key factors has been the introduction of the Android platform. This has reduced prices to their lowest ever levels.

Android tablets offer a better screen size (mainly 7”), with improved data collection and ease of use. We can see a large potential for these tablets in the utilities sector and field service generally, as the bigger screen offers a better use of the technology.

On the downside, the uptake of Android tablets is likely to be affected by the number of legacy systems that are still using Microsoft Windows. Organisations wanting to migrate to Android will need to change their strategy and adopt a different platform. Check out the Motorola ET1 Android Tablet.

Android Tablet PC

Mobile trends

Here are a few recent key trends in the mobile sector:

  • Experts predict that the global market for rugged mobile enterprises is likely to grow by over 10% over the next few years. Allied with this will be a continuing and rapid growth in the use of cloud computing (see our article on the mobile cloud).
  • There is also a rapid growth in near-field applications and ‘contactless’ technology on mobile devices. This is similar to the use of Oyster cards on the London Underground. Mobile phones are increasingly being used for applications that use this technology (such as paying at a terminal by swiping your mobile over the point of sale terminal, or using a boarding card on your mobile at an airport terminal).
  • Security is becoming more of a concern for mobile computer users. However, it is argued that mobility can also improve security through encryption, geolocation, biometrics, a one time password (OTP) and out of band (OOB) secure elements.

Selecting suitable software

A recent article in Business Computing World has highlighted the controversy that still rages over software. Which is best: bespoke software, off-the-shelf packages or platform applications? The financial crisis will inevitably have some effect on the choice made. For instance, although bespoke software might be much more suited to the specific needs of a company, it is more expensive to develop it. That is perhaps the key reason why platform applications are enjoying increasing popularity.

Software support

Here is a quick guide to the pros and cons of the three different approaches:

Bespoke software

  • Fully customisable functionality and visual appearance
  • Because it has been developed for you, it will fit your business needs more precisely, without any unnecessary extras
  • A good choice when an application requires complex tasks or has a large functionality set
  • Can be adapted to support specific security, safety, communications and storage requirements
  • Longer time-to-market but greater flexibility than other solutions
  • You are at the mercy of the developer in terms of the quality of the software and the support available afterwards
  • More expensive than the other two approaches

Platform apps

  • A quick turn-around from concept to deployment
  • The suite of features and functions is known upfront
  • More easily upgradeable than bespoke software
  • Reduced cost (or free) when adding new features or functions
  • Easier to support after deployment than bespoke software
  • Functionality has been tested and proven across a number of deployments
  • Less specific than bespoke software and more expensive than off-the-shelf packages

Off-the-shelf packages

  • Pre-defined features and functionality (so you know what you’re getting)
  • The software is usually very sophisticated as it has been through a long development process
  • However, this means it can also be very complex and a lot of features might never be used
  • Rapid time to market – the packages are usually available immediately
  • A lower cost than bespoke software or platforms, with discounts possible for high volumes
  • As the feature set is well defined, more structured support is usually available
  • You might have to adapt some business processes to fit in with the software requirements

Find our more about our comprehensive software offering.

Managed Helpdesk

Help Desk

Do you need a helpdesk provider? Here are some tips on what to look for:

  • Service Level Agreements that meet your company's needs.
  • The right level of support (first line, second line etc).
  • How much does the provider know about the products you're buying?
  • What system is your provider using to fulfil the service?
  • Gather references from other customers if possible.

However, you don't have to look, as Spirit can now provide all your needs with our new Managed Helpdesk. Our new helpdesk system is ITIL-compatible. ITIL is a comprehensive set of best practice guidelines - organisations can adapt these to meet their specific requirements.

With Spirit, you have a choice of first or second line support. With first line support, any of your employees or customers can call us directly for help and advice. This gives you massive savings compared with the cost of having to hire someone to provide this service internally. Even if you're a small company with just a few devices, this if by far the most cost-effective option. Other benefits include:

  • A dedicated phone number, dedicated email addresses and dedicated team leaders
  • A service that is tailored to your specific needs
  • Regular reports on any issues

With second line support, your employees or customers have to contact your IT department first. The department then contacts us with the more important or complex queries.

Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to your colleagues. If you would like more information on any of the items, please call us on 01928 718 800 or send an email to: Helen Jones.

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