Organisations are slow on refreshing their OS: Zebra Technologies
By Goh Thean Eu May 29, 2017
- The shifting OS landscape has led many businesses to delay their upgrade decisions
- Every 1 percentage point increase in enterprise device failure rate translates into a 5% increase in total cost of ownership
Despite the impending cessation of support for Windows CE and Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5, many organisations are taking their time to make a decision on refreshing or changing their operating systems (OS) and such delays are hurting the organisation operation efficiencies, said Zebra Technologies.
"They have been somewhat slow to make a decision on their OSes, with reasons ranging from the perceived complexity of app migration to a general lack of understanding around the cost of maintaining aged devices," said Zebra Technologies APAC senior technical director Wayne Harper (pic above) in an email interview with Digital News Asia recently.
"The shifting OS landscape has also led many businesses to delay their upgrade decisions."
One of the biggest advantages businesses enjoy from the use of enterprise-class rugged handheld devices is in their durability and strong lifecycle support, resulting in an average upgrade cycle of three to five years.
However, a VDC report has shown that in 2010, devices that had been in service four years or more approximated 36% of the installed base of rugged handheld device, but the figure had risen to 42% in 2014.
What is critical to note is that the same paper found that the average annual return rates for rugged handheld devices rise from 1% in their first year of operation to 8% in their fourth year, due to increased failure rates.
Device failures translate into higher costs in terms of support, as well as disruptions to operations and customer service, which is amplified by the business-critical nature of most enterprise devices. One instance of device failure can also lead to a loss in productivity of up to 65 percent. All in all, every 1 percentage point increase in enterprise device failure rate translates into a 5% increase in total cost of ownership (TCO).
"The effect that the continued use of outdated devices has on employee morale and productivity should not be underestimated as well. Apart from the dated look and feel of the devices, legacy solutions may not be equipped to handle the latest technological features and trends that other organizations are taking advantage of, to reinvigorate their processes and even entire businesses.
"Another factor to consider is that the migration to the next OS platform would take a significant amount of lead time to minimize disruptions to operations, as Microsoft has indicated that it will not offer backwards compatibility for its earlier mobile OSes, Windows CE and WEH 6.5. In view of the impending deadline set by the cessation of support for Windows CE and WEH 6.5, businesses should start the process of understanding and evaluating the options available today, which will reduce operational risks and a smooth transition of business critical apps," said Harper.
The mass adoption of enterprise-grade mobile devices and wearables for the workplace began over a decade ago, and the devices were deployed around that time are fast reaching their end-of-life.
At the same time, the OS of choice over the last decade for enterprise mobile devices has usually been Microsoft’s Windows CE and Windows Embedded Handheld (WEH) 6.5, which boast a market share of over 90 percent.
However, Microsoft will end mainstream support for these OS by 2020.
"The convergence of these factors mean that many organizations will need to make a decision on their new choice of OS when refreshing their fleet of mobile devices. To reduce complexity, ensure app compatibility and minimize the strain on IT support systems – it is ideal that businesses choose a single OS to roll out, whether it be across a fresh fleet of devices or to refresh old ones," said Harper.