Opinions Vary Widely on Handheld TCO

The cost for a single employee to own a handheld can be $3000 a year, according to Gartner Dataquest. But according to the Gantry Group, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) each year for a Palm OS handheld is just $455 and $775 for one running Pocket PC.

TCO is more than just the cost of the hardware. It also includes software, training, tech support, and other factors.

According to the Gantry Group, many facets of deploying handhelds to employees are significantly less expensive with Palm OS devices. For example, it says the annual cost of training per employee for a Palm OS solution is roughly $25, while it is $95 for a Pocket PC one.

This lower TCO may explain why Palm OS handhelds are outselling Pocket PC handhelds in the enterprise market. Gartner Group itself recently calculated that in 2001, Palm OS licensees accounted for more than 50% of handhelds sold to large companies and government organizations worldwide, compared to 32% for Pocket PC licensees, 1% for Symbian, and 16% for other operating systems.

According to the Gartner Group, TCO isn't the only factor to take into consideration when giving handhelds to employees. Total benefit of ownership (TBO) is also important.

Some things enterprises should look for to determine the TBO of mobile technology are an increase in productivity, increased revenue resulting from an increase in productivity, increased accuracy because of constant communication and decreased costs based on improving efficiency, eliminating redundant processes or even basic costs, such as printing fees that can be saved by providing an electronic format.

Gartner didn't describe its process for how it came up with its TCO numbers. The Gantry Group studied 20 Palm OS mobile solutions and 20 Pocket PC mobile solutions.

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Palm VS Pocket PC

dethblud @ 6/11/2002 1:21:11 PM #
There seems to be rather a lot of Palm VS Pocket PC news lately. How about a new review or something?

RE: Palm VS Pocket PC
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 1:24:18 PM #
how about going somewhere if you dont like the news at palminfocenter.com???
RE: Palm VS Pocket PC
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 1:27:16 PM #
That was a perfectly legitimate observation and answer, troll.

As for the first line in the article - how can it possibly cost $3,000 a year for an employee to own a handheld? Seems a bit far-fetched to me...

RE: Palm VS Pocket PC
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 1:27:21 PM #
It's completely valid to compare Palm vs PocketPC because they are in the same market and the future of both hangs in the balance.
RE: Palm VS Pocket PC
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 1:33:09 PM #
"As for the first line in the article - how can it possibly cost $3,000 a year for an employee to own a handheld? Seems a bit far-fetched to me..."

I know it sound ridiculous, but depending on the type of IT support that a company gets, it can cost a lot. My company recently looked into supplying Blackberries to the sales people.

The cost of the hardware, software, training, etc. aside, our IT Provider told us it they would charge us over $2,000 per person to support it, per year!

I think it's ridiculous, but if I was one of the people surveyed, it would have driven the average cost up in a survey, right?

RE: Palm VS Pocket PC
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 1:38:57 PM #
"I know it sound ridiculous, but depending on the type of IT support that a company gets, it can cost a lot. My company recently looked into supplying Blackberries to the sales people.

The cost of the hardware, software, training, etc. aside, our IT Provider told us it they would charge us over $2,000 per person to support it, per year!"

The Gartner article doesn't seem to make any distinction for specific PDAs other than noting that wireless connectivity adds significantly more cost. It simply states that the TCO for a PDA per user "can approach $3,000." Obviously the Blackberry, with IT provided support, is very costly, but shouldn't the article make a distinction by PDA type?

I find it difficult to believe that issuing Palm m515's to your employees would cost $3,000 per person per year. Nobody would do it.

Blackberry TCO
bcombee @ 6/11/2002 2:03:51 PM #
The Blackberry number is a bit skewed, since that platform has major recurring and enterprise level costs. First, there's the $50/month fee for wireless access to the devices -- thats $600/year right there. Then, the device itself varies from $200 to $500, depending on what reseller you use. Finally, to integrate with enterprise e-mail solutions, you have to buy redirector software from RIM that adds significant per-user costs. A non-wireless device that's not integrated with enterprise applications would be much, much cheaper to supply and support.

--
CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at www.palmoswerks.com
RE: Palm VS Pocket PC
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 2:04:59 PM #
>>I find it difficult to believe that issuing Palm m515's to your employees would cost $3,000 per person per year. Nobody would do it.

Im surprised its that low. For instance, every time somebody calls customer support for their cellular service provider, it costs the service provider more then the profit that they make from that customer from 3-6 months worth of service. Why do you guys think customer support sucks so badly? The answer is that it costs companies alot. There have been articles written on this lately - a really good one on CNN about a month ago - they actually focused on a customer trying to get support for their m505! The article mentioned what we all have suspected - companies deliberatley make it difficult to reach actuall people because of the cost involved - so they do things like burying there tech support numbers in some obscure are of there web site.

RE: Palm VS Pocket PC
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 5:32:04 PM #
"The Blackberry number is a bit skewed, since that platform has major recurring and enterprise level costs. First, there's the $50/month fee for wireless access to the devices -- thats $600/year right there. Then, the device itself varies from $200 to $500, depending on what reseller you use. Finally, to integrate with enterprise e-mail solutions, you have to buy redirector software from RIM that adds significant per-user costs. A non-wireless device that's not integrated with enterprise applications would be much, much cheaper to supply and support."

That's why I said "The cost of the hardware, software, training, etc. aside."

That $2k plus per year was just to support it. It assumed that we supplied the hardware, software, and paid the RIM service charges.

I agree that this scenario is out of the ordinary, but you survey a company on enterprise rollouts, it's likely that you're not just going to get simple Palm m500 rollouts. There will probably be some sort of wireless and/or enterprise software, as well.

Impact of OS 5

sandbuck @ 6/11/2002 1:23:33 PM #
A higher cost per unit for high-end OS5/6 devices should only add marginally to these figures. Maintenence and training costs should remain the same.

Why Train?

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 1:25:26 PM #
I've used both Palm OS and now Pocket PC devices and required $0 worth of training on them.
Maybe I'm just a genius but aren't these things pretty easy to use?
RE: Why Train?
big_raji @ 6/11/2002 1:28:40 PM #
You have to understand that most of the people in the enterprise industry that get a handheld are barely even familiar with computers.

I work in a government office, and I used to pull out my hair in disbelief at how little these people know about computers. They're the type that couldn't program the time on a VCR if their life depended on it.

---
What's Wrong With This Picture?
http://raj.phangureh.com/picture.html

RE: Why Train?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 1:37:47 PM #
A person I work with told me that she was unable to get to her address book for the last couple of days. When I asked why, she told me that her Palm V had a Fatal Exception and wouldn't work anymore.

She had left it at home and then noticed the next day that it wouldn't even turn on anymore. Because of this, she was in the market for a new Palm unit!

I told her to charge it up, reset it (if necessary), and hotsync to get as much of the data back as possible.

Although she hasn't done a hotsync in months, she feels better that she might be able to get back some of her data.

Somehow, I think it is in the best interest of a company to make sure their people are properly trained.

RE: Why Train?
james_sorenson @ 6/11/2002 1:39:03 PM #
I'm a power-user now, but it took me some time when I first got my VisorPhone. An organizer is only useful if you pattern yourself to fit it. The way you organize meeting notes, how best to organize your calendar so that a quick search will give you the results you need, etc. Of course, Graffiti took time as well. I was a Psion user for a few years simply because I picked up a Palm and couldn't write my name by "winging it." When I first got the Palm, I was bringing a pad of paper because it seemed quicker at times. Now, I'll have to admit that the PalmOS seems to be absolutely fast & intuitive, but that's because I think I've adjusted myself to match it. Rather than wait for people to figure it out, the industry prefers to train their employees on these things so that they'll start fully utilizing it as soon as possible.

I guess it takes a lot more brain-twisting to become compatible partners with a PocketPC. ;-P


-------
James Sorenson

RE: Why Train?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 1:40:59 PM #
First, most people aren't nerds. They'd rather do other things than sit around playing with computers and gadgets all day. You can't toss them a manual.

The companies have to make sure that if they're going to invest in pdas, that everyone is going to know how to use them by the end of the week. Time=money so they don't want someone who probably doesn't know much about computers who hasn't spent the time reading the manual, going to pda forums, calling tech support to waste hours fumble around with a pda on paid company time, so that involves training.

Then there's the cost of software, making sure everyone knows how to properly use the software so that they don't have to pay for expensive techs to figure out how someone screwed up.

Then there's tech support. Not everyone is a computer wiz like you. Devices are going to break, people are going screw up the devices in every possible way imaginable, people aren't going to trust your advice, people are going to need a 5 minute explanation on a hard reset, etc.. This is also the main area why pocketpcs cost so much more in TCO as anyone will tell you.

RE: Why Train?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 1:44:32 PM #
I guess so but at those costs it may be cheaper to get new employees!
RE: Why Train?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 1:48:58 PM #
I was thinking that $25 a year for training doesn't even seem to cover an hour of the employee's time. Seems darn cheap to me.
RE: Why Train?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 2:18:29 PM #
I've got to agree with the need to train, even though it seems totally intuitive to me. However, when I start using my PDA in a meeting, I get a cluster of people who are of all levels, scratching their heads and making amazement noises like I whipped out a matter converter on Star Trek. Some people said they thought I was playing games during meetings (and I could be, but I don't).

Most of the people I work with are in no shape to even turn on a PDA, and think their PC brand is Samsung or Princeton. H*ll, I'd be happy if they'd try to add a meeting to their Outlook calendar, but most don't. Our company doesn't offer any PC software training or support, so while we're saving that money, we're wasting tons of it on lack of productivity & my time helping my peers learn how to work the PC. Duh.

I'm also leaning toward the poster who advises to get new employees!

RE: Why Train?
Romanov @ 6/11/2002 7:36:13 PM #
The realisation that you are a genius is just the first step in the path to enlightenment. Take the afternoon off and dewell in the fulfilment that you have now achieved.

Next question :P



Nic Hughes

RE: Why Train?
geekd @ 6/11/2002 8:56:38 PM #
If someone is so stupid they need "training" on thier PDA, they don't deserve one.

Really, if they are that dumb, are they going to get any benefit out of it? Would they really be capable of generating enough additional income for the company to justify the expense?

RE: Why Train?
nuopus @ 6/12/2002 3:45:10 AM #
Just because someone says they know how to use one, that is no reason not to train them. When managers deem it necessary to purchase PDAs for their employees, it is usually for a good reason. PDAs are bought for the employee to increase productivity. Keep in mind that EVERY productive minute is worth MONEY to business owners. If someone says to me that they know how to use it, I expect them to know how as well as any custom applications that that employee may need.

If the employee has to "figure it out" the custom software with the time alotted to productive use, they are using minutes of productive time. That means that I am losing money as a business owner.

It is far cheaper to pay "training" to even the experienced user and limit the couple of minutes it takes to figure something out, or the several minutes it takes for technical support. Either way, they are not using productivity time to their benefit.

If you look at if from a business owners standpoint, then it makes perfect sense to spend lots of money yearly on training and tech support (for company custom software probably).

And to the person who commented to say that people that are that "dumb" shouldnt own one .... I say ... someone that ignorant will never be successful managing anything substantial. Just my two cents.

RE: Why Train?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 7:56:13 AM #
If every productive minute is valuabe to a company, then why waste time AND money sending them to training? They would probably get about 10 minutes worth of good training out of a 3-day class. Alternately, they could spend 90 minutes playing with the new toy learning how to use it, and become productive with it in one day. That's two days of productivity you gain that way over the 3-day class, where they are completely unproductive during that time.

I hate attending training classes because I can learn things faster on my own by playing with them, and the classes are a waste of time. Lots of people think this as is evidenced by the thinking that training away from a company site is better because people won't go away and read email on breaks, not coming back to training. Why do they do that when trainin is in-house? Because they have better things to do than to fall asleep in a boring training class.

And when I train people on new things, I try to make it as meaningful and interesting as I can so that there is no wasted time, and it works out quite well. Even my in-house training gets people back in time to continue after a break.

It cost more to do stuff with our Palms

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 3:01:48 PM #
We needed to get my Palm on 802.11, with my Pocket PC it was just a matter of getting a symbol card. With a Palm, it was rough. In fact we still can't find anything that's a simple card solution. Any ideas? We're also not too happy about the how expensive Memory Sticks are for the Sony when we can get cheaper SD and CF cards for the Pocket PCs. I guess overall, we're happy with the cheap devices (Palm) but as soon as we need to do anything, we use Pocket PCs.
RE: It cost more to do stuff with our Palms
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 3:18:30 PM #
I guess you haven't heard of Handera!

Handera had these well before PocketPC.

RE: It cost more to do stuff with our Palms
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 3:23:08 PM #
Handera? Who are they?
RE: It cost more to do stuff with our Palms
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 4:47:15 PM #
Handera makes a Palm with both SD and CF along with voice recording, virtual grafitti and hi-res. But it's not in color yet
RE: It cost more to do stuff with our Palms
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 6:04:47 PM #
Oh, we would need color. Handera seems like a one off, hack type PDA.
RE: It cost more to do stuff with our Palms
Bartman007 @ 6/12/2002 2:17:37 AM #
>> Handera? Who are they?

Hehe, I'm not sure if you are sarcastic of not, but it's either way.

>> Oh, we would need color. Handera seems like a one off, hack type PDA.

There is a rumored HandEra color PDA to be released once they get 50,000 verified orders.

Conflict of Interest

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 3:30:57 PM #
If you go to the website for the Gantry group, you will find that Palm is listed as one of their clients. There is no mention of this in their report.

If this information was part of the release, I would be a little leary of the data since I never like commisioned reports. But with Palms relationship with gantry not even mentioned, I am very suspicious of the numbers.

I am not going to say that Palm is cheaper or more expensive than PPC for TCO, just that this study is not trustworthy.

RE: Conflict of Interest
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 4:07:03 PM #
Speaking of bias, Microsoft is a client of the Gartner Group. I wonder why Gartner didn't also break down TCO by platform. It seems like a really obvious part of this study. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Gartner did look at this and found that Microsoft's TCO is higher than Palm's and didn't include that information in their report as it would look bad for one of their top clients.
RE: Conflict of Interest
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 4:53:40 PM #
You are right. I missed that when I was checking the reports.

Basically, both reports support the product that paid for the report (big surprise).

For all intents and purposes, this thread just became completely useless.

Sony should buy Palm corp.

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 4:29:24 PM #
Sony just needs to buy the entire Palm company and get things moving a bit faster. Yea, yea, Palm has a KISS to their design, but PPC just seems to be a lot more impressive than even with the release of OS 5.0. The leadership at Palm don't seem to know how to run a company, palm just keeps realeasing their same palms every few months, with a few tweaks. Its seems to be Sony corp thats setting new reasons for people to stay with palm.

People are touting OS 5.0 as being equal to Pocket pc 2, but it seems that PPC still has all the features of Os5.0 and then some.

RE: Sony should buy Palm corp.
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 4:52:25 PM #
I agree. I became disgusted with Palm when they rolled out the m515, but didn't have an option to replace existing m505s (even for a fee!). Tech support at Palm isn't great, either, though it's improving.

I love my m505 and use it everyday, but the m515 thing just left a sour taste in my mouth. Plus, I found myself on a plane reading an e-book wishing I had an MP3 player... Hence I'm carefully looking over some of Sony's mid-range PDAs.

Total Cost of Ownership

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 5:52:07 PM #
Being an upgrade freak, my TCO in the last year is now at 1,700 :)

I've bought a N710C, T625, iPaq H3870 (boo!!) and an NR70/J. I'll probably buy the NR90 when it comes out.

Longest lasting PDA? N710C (6 Months), which I had upgraded.

Shortest? iPaq 3870 and T625C. Too Bulky on the H3870 with poor Bluetooth implementation (fixed now). T625 - NR70 Came out.

Time is money.

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 #
Just like a good sociologist, numbers can be made to represent anything.

You need to remember that 'time is money'. Even the time it takes for the company to distribute the handhelds could be counted.

that's interesting

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/12/2002 12:33:31 AM #
it costs my employees nothing....we got them the old fashioned way, a 5 finger discount.....
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