Smartphones and the mobile plans that come with them are a necessary part of every business, allowing employees to communicate from anywhere at any time. But according to a recent white paper by Intratem, businesses in all sectors overspend on wireless services by as much as 20 percent. The main reason? The majority of companies' CIOs don't know how to effectively manage and monitor their mobile plans.
It's a problem Mani Zarrehparvar, president of Visage Mobile, helps companies deal with every day. We caught up with Zarrehparvar to find out how businesses can limit mobility costs without limiting employee mobility.
Pro Tip #1: Create Visibility
The best thing you can do is create visibility, says Zarrehparvar. According to data collected by Visage Mobile, companies that use communication tools to help employees see their spending habits — such as Concur, Replicon or Xpenditure — lower their cost per line by 19 percent. "This makes a big difference for large enterprises with hundred of mobile lines, saving just $10 per month per line adds up quickly to millions in savings for large enterprises," says Zarrehparvar.
"Employees aren't devious; they are just oblivious, particularly when the bill gets paid centrally by IT, " says Zarrehparvar. For example, "without visibility most employees don't know how much it costs to sit and watch YouTube in the airport in another country." By informing your employees of their mobility costs, you enable them to make better decisions when it comes to their phone usage.
Pro Tip #2: Integrate Travel and Mobile
Integrating travel and mobile is a great way to lower costs and take out outlier bills, says Zarrehparvar. "The $3,000 bills go away because you put that same user on a $100 mobile plan that covers their international travel, and that $3,000 bill becomes $100 for the same amount of usage".
Integrating your company's mobile plan with a travel itinerary booking system allows you to match up mobile devices and users, and allows IT to see which plans each employee needs to use, says Zarrehparvar.
Pro Tip #3: Measure Spending and Consumption
Focus on tools that measure spending and consumption to avoid overspending on plans and features, says Zarrehparvar. Don't pay for expensive data plans if your employees don't need them.
"It's similar to buying in bulk. I can buy 40 avocados from Costco and get a good price, but by the time I'm done making my guacamole, 30 of them have gone bad," says Zarrehparvar. "I might as well have gone to Whole Foods and bought 10 organic the day I was going to use them. I would have paid a lot more per avocado, but I would have paid less per avocado actually consumed."
According to Zarrehparvar, the most "wasteful spend" happens when companies buy services and don't consume them fully. But simple analytics around consumption can have a big impact.
"We say managing your environment is the place to save money," says Zarrehparvar. "The thing that's worth noting for mobility is when an enterprise is just managing what they buy based on what they consume, they're going to see their total spend on mobility come down."
Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional freelance writer and blogger. Her career has spanned more than 20 years, including stints as a journalist, academic writer, university lecturer and ghost writer. Connect with Sharon on her website and Twitter.