The dos and don'ts of rolling out a large smartphone estate.  

By Andrew Elliot Technical Consultant at Telefónica UK.  

So you’ve made the transformational decision to change the way your people work through the introduction of smartphones and tablets into your organisation. Difficult part done right? In fact you’ve only just begun.

The next step is managing the logistics of rolling out – on-mass – the shiny new devices to the right people in your organisation. These devices need to be pre-configured, charged and accompanied with the right equipment so that your employees’ first experience with the device is a positive one. Many times I’ve seen customers underestimate how complex this can be, failing to answer many of the key questions: How will you know who’s got what device and sim?  Can you charge hundreds of devices all in one go? Do you have the space to securely store the devices?

There’s a long list of do’s and don’t when it comes to rolling out a new device estate. First it’s best to start with what not to do – and the many common problems I come across in my line of work.

The don’ts

  • Don’t underestimate the amount of time or effort required to pre configure a significant volume of devices. Have you got free resource to do this?
  • Don’t forget the size of a single delivery. Have you got the space? Can you consider ‘End User’ delivery? One regular sized palette fits just 100 iPads. But have you ever tried moving a full pallet?
  • Be careful about sharing an ‘App Store’ account across multiple devices. This can breach terms and conditions and become a nightmare in terms of password lockouts.
  • Don’t forget, in order to create a unique Apple ID, you will need a unique Mailbox.
  • Don’t forget to consider some of the detail about configuration. It has to be exact. Consider trying it on a device.


The dos 

  • Asset Data Capture: Start as you mean to go on. Capture all the information about the device, the sim, the organisation code etc. up front. You should asset tag the device before it gets handed to the end user.
  • Laser Etching: Why not customise the device with your logo, or maybe add a ‘reward if lost or stolen’ instruction. All easily achievable using laser etching with the added benefit of adding extra security to the device.
  • Bespoke Packaging: Rather than receive hundreds of boxes for the device and accessories, would it be easier for them to come in one large box reducing waste? Maybe your users need bespoke literature for set up or application access, this is the time to plan the packaging and chuck out the excess.
  • Multiple Product Bundling: Reduce the number of smashed and damaged screens by adding a case and a screen protector to the device, or maybe a group of users need a keyboard for data entry with their tablets. Make the sure the end user has the right tools and device protection to do their job effectively
  • Device Configuration: Would it be easier to ensure the devices have Mobile Device Management (MDM) and the latest version of operating system already installed before the end user receives the device?


There really is a lot to think about when rolling out a large deployment and many businesses overlook the detail, we do this work daily for our customers so if you’d like to discuss the challenges you face or maybe share some of your successes we’d love to hear from you.