Nothing is more frustrating, challenging, yet ultimately rewarding than a company deciding to do a wholesale upgrade to their technology. Whether it’s simply upgrading computers, or something more complicated like switching one of the core programs employees use every day, making a big change like that requires technical time, training and a learning curve that can make doing actual work a huge pain.

Supply chain management software maker Intermec and rugged device maker Janam, collaborated on an interesting overview on how to cope with one of the most painful switches: Ripping out an existing on-premise system and moving one that’s to a cloud-based. They liken the switch to a full-on culture change.

Chris Hazelton, research director, mobile and wireless for The 451 Group, says that switching from an on-premise solution that employs a full-time IT staff to manage your mobile deployment to a cloud-based service that outsources mobile management can be akin to a culture change – particularly for IT.

“I think that movement from on-premise to the cloud impacts IT at all levels, not just mobility,” he says. “But mobile could be some of the first infrastructure to be pushed to the cloud, particularly if IT has not formally managed mobile devices. A company may leapfrog on-premise technology and go straight to cloud-based mobility to avoid hiring a full-time IT person or team to manage mobile deployments.”

The report is a guide to easing several different pain points, and should be interesting for anyone who makes software or hardware decisions. Balancing the benefits of switching with the pain of actually switching is tough, but they recommend the following points.

  • Enterprises that change just one element of their mobile technology platform often face unexpected challenges down the road. Businesses should look for hardware that accommodates elements of the legacy solution and allows them to migrate to a new solution in stages.
  • Managing support costs during a technology transition can be challenging. Be prepared for a spike in support expenses during mass device rollouts.
  • A pilot phase conducted in parallel with the existing platform provides real-world insight into the benefits and challenges of a new technology.
  • Extensive testing helps to smooth out any wrinkles during the transition. Have users work hands-on with new devices and provide feedback about pros and cons.
  • Technology consultants can provide invaluable assistance for enterprises in industries with specific regulatory requirements.
  • Having clear policies and communication with end users is a critical aspect of a successful vendor transition.
  • Get a variety of users involved—from the line worker to management staff. Their diverse feedback will be crucial.

Download the entire report at Mobile Enterprise.

ABOUT Corey Lewis

Corey Lewis is an experienced writer, editor, PR pro and marketer with a deep background in technology, social media, and internet tools and culture.