Can Handhelds Improve Support? part 2 - Page 2

 By David Haskin
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Steve Wylie, Key3's director of network operations noted that his company didn't do a Return on Investment (ROI) study, but said the technology -- and the dramatic improvements in time-to-close times -- will pay big dividends.

"Vendors pay a lot of money to be at the trade show," he noted. "Every minute the network is down, thousands of people walk past their booths and can't see their products."

Similarly, in the enterprise, when technology is down, employees aren't productive, he notes.

When Is It Appropriate?
Collins, Wylie and Wylie's colleague, Erik Cummings, who managed the trade show network, have extensive in-house IT experience and agreed there are many organizations in which using wireless handhelds will be useful. Here are their general guidelines for deciding whether wireless handhelds are a good match for your support staff.

First, if your company's campus is small, handhelds might not be worth the investment. But the more dispatching that goes on and the wider the service area, the more handhelds can become make your support operation more efficient.

"It might not be advantageous for a business with a few technicians and one building, but if you have five buildings and a lot of technicians, it will absolutely help," says Cummings.

Cummings said that one benefit is that, if a technician is in a distant building on a service call, checking for more trouble tickets in the same vicinity is much faster with direct wireless access than calling in or finding an unused desktop computer or setting up a laptop to access the database. "We looked at the time our field engineers spent on the phone, calling dispatch and the inaccurate info going back and forth going back and forth and it was a no-brainer," Alpha Microsystems' Collins said.

This article was originally published on Jul 10, 2001
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