RFID Deployment Slowed by Technology Questions, Elusive ROI

CompTIA: Companies want RFID that can deliver ROI, benefits in the long run

CompTIA: Companies want RFID that can deliver ROI, benefits in the long run

Oakbrook Terrace, IL — October 13, 2004 — Choosing the right products for long-term success and identifying the sources of return on investment are the biggest challenges organizations face today in successfully deploying radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, according to the results of a new Web poll sponsored by CompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association.

More than one-fifth of poll respondents (22.5 percent) said their biggest challenge is choosing the right hardware and software vendors that can deliver RFID products that will be effective in the long-term.

Another 21.9 percent of respondents said they are most challenged by identifying the sources of return on investment (ROI) from expensive RFID deployments.

"Clearly the strategic and financial benefits of RFID need to be articulated," said David Sommer, vice president, electronic commerce, CompTIA. "Yet while there is some element of risk associated with early adoption, the greater risk will occur if a business fails to understand how RFID will impact their operations. The negative impact on a company's ability to compete could be long term."

Sommer said that successful deployment of RFID in the information technology (IT) industry supply chain has the potential to deliver a number of benefits. For example, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will have better knowledge and order tracking capabilities, resulting in a decline in incorrect spare parts ordering. They also will experience increased accuracy in serial number reads and other data necessary for warranty claims processing.

Service providers will spend less time determining correct part/revision number, warranty expiration dates, service history, and should benefit from improved and faster diagnostic capabilities. There also is a potential for revenue-generation. RFID tagging as a service could be a value-add or revenue generator for OEM or reseller.

According to the CompTIA Web poll, other significant challenges organizations are facing in their RFID deployments include:

* Working with suppliers and customers to test and implement complementary technology and data — 18.2 percent

* Understanding RFID technology — 13.1 percent

* Finding a suitable systems implementation/integration partner to implement the technology — 11.6 percent

More than 300 people responded to the poll, conducted between August 12 and September 14.

To address issues such as choosing the right products and identifying sources of ROI, CompTIA said it has enlisted a number of its members to participate in several RFID work groups.

In addition, CompTIA is sponsoring a series of four cybercasts on RFID beginning on Thursday, October 28. The first program — "Tagged for Change — The RFID Revolution" — will feature Greg Dixon, chief technology officer for ScanSource Inc., an international distributor of specialty technology products. Dixon is scheduled to discuss the impact of customer-mandated RFID on the market and delivery channels.