Technology is a fast moving field – as anyone who works in the IT field can tell you.  The next best thing is always there waiting right around the corner, and more often than not, if your budget will allow it, at least, you want to be using the latest and greatest technology.  Apple recently released their latest revision of the iPhone, the iPhone X – a beast of a phone that represents the pinnacle of what they have to offer.

So, let’s say that you have a medium sized company – 57 employees, and you want to get them all set up with the latest Apple phone.  A top of the line phone like that is almost certain to speed up operations day to day – but, at what kind of a cost?

Safe to say, it’s not exactly going to be a cheap endeavor – but, it will be well worth it, in the end.  Having the latest phone enables the employees to use the latest features easily and quickly, and you will never (for the next few years, at least) have to worry about any kind of app you run on it slowing down performance.  The price tag is a bit shocking at first glance – $999.99.  While you might get sticker shock thinking “I could buy a quality laptop for that” consider the fact that that is basically what the iPhone is – but pocket sized, with the added ability to make calls and send/receive texts.

That’s not to say you can’t do this a bit more cheaply.  Sure, MSRP is just a penny shy of a thousand dollars per phone – but with a little hunting around, you can make a huge divot in this cost.  Right now, Best Buy is offering a buy one get one free promo on phones – so that can be brought down to a much more easy to swallow $499.99 per phone, and at 57 units, that brings you down to a cost of $28,443 to buy all these phones.  Not the smallest number in the world, sure, but it’s a heck of a lot better than paying full price and paying double that to obtain all of the phones needed.

In a business environment, with a phone provided by the company, you will want to have some ability to control how the phone is used – after all, it is company property.  For this you will want to use MDM or mobile device management.  Through this you can control many aspects of the phone, such as when, where, and how it can be used, what apps are authorized, and even advanced features, such as disabling the camera while it is on company property.

You will want to configure your devices as needed for your company – and one of the first things you’ll need there is email accounts for all of your users.  The two most prominent solutions for this are Microsoft Exchange, and Gmail – both of which are quite great to be honest, but in this case, we are going to go with Microsoft Exchange because it overall offers the best value.  It costs $12.50 per user, per month, so for 57 employees it would cost you a total of $8550 per year – but this is honestly a pretty good value because it would provide the needed email accounts and MDM, but also it will include Office 365 and Skype for Business – two hugely important and useful apps to have in the world of business.

These are not the only apps you would want on the devices.  Office 365 takes care of some big ones – Word, Excel, Outlook, and Powerpoint – pillars of the business world, really.  Some other applications that you would want are Adobe Acrobat, for the ability to read, create, and modify PDF documents, a very commonly used format.  In addition, some of your employees might need access to more Adobe made software – such as things contained in the Creative Suite.  The Adobe Standard package would fit quite nicely here – and though it’s $269 per license, consider that you aren’t getting licenses for everyone.  For example, say it’s 10 employees who will need it – you’ll be looking at an annual cost there of $2960.  Important devices like this, bound to have sensitive company data on it will want to be kept safe and secure, and for this, you’ll want an antivirus/web security solution – McAffe offers this at the cost of $50 per user yearly – giving us a yearly cost of $2850 – a small price to pay for keeping your data and devices safe and secure.   You also will want something to for a comprehensive analytics solution – and Azure’s Crystal Reports is the best choice here, even if it’s not cheap at $495 per license… and times 57 employees, that brings you up to a cost of $28,215 per year – but this is important and highly useful software, so you don’t want to cheap out here.

Though we live in an increasingly paperless world, it still has its place in business, and it likely will for some time yet.  Because of this, it is an important consideration to how you can print from the phone, without having to go through a convoluted process of emailing it to yourself, and opening it up on a computer and finally printing it, or anything like this.  Thankfully, for no cost (well, other than your data, let’s be honest…) there is Google Cloud Print which will allow any device, phones included, to print.  There are newer printers that are totally standalone in this regard, but older ones can still be used as well – though it would require a computer hooked up to the printer to function as a print server, and it’s pretty much a given that your company would have a spare machine laying around that could be repurposed for this.

It will certainly take a little bit of work to get all this kind of stuff set up – but that’s where your IT technicians come in, and thankfully there is tools available to streamline the process.  Using mobile device management you can set up a base configuration for all of them, and quickly deploy them to all of the devices.  You might need to make some alterations here that might be done a bit more quickly by hand – say there’s two executives who need things configured a little differently – it would likely be quicker in this case to just make the necessary changes for these manually after the main configuration deployment.   This can be sped up a bit if there are different groups of employees – say some that do design work that need access to Adobe applications – for them you could create a group, let’s call it designers, in this case, and configure it as needed and deploy the configuration you have created.

Time is money, as they say, so you want to do this as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Using the above mentioned methods, and a team of 5 technicians, this is something that could be done in a day or two.  Let’s say that your technicians are getting paid the average wage of about $15/hour – with five of them, working two eight hour days each, you’re looking at about $1,200 in labor costs.

Going by these figures, you’re looking at an approximate cost of $72,218 over a year to deploy the latest version of the iPhone (iPhone X) to a company of 57 employees.  However, this number could be lower than that, depending on your choice of applications, and if you already have existing licenses for things you could carry over to the new devices.  It’s not the cheapest project out there, but like they say in business – you’ve got to spend money to make money!

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