Get it Right. Now:
Xigo's Telecom Expense Management Blog
Would you rely on your banking provider to review your monthly statements to ensure that they had not charged you illegitimate overdraft of foreign transaction fees? Unlikely.
This same principle applies to telecom carriers offering expense management and related services.
Why would an enterprise enlist its mobile carrier’s services to manage mobility usage and spend, optimize rate plans and validate its invoices? Is it in a consumers’/enterprises’ best interest to work with its carrier on mobile management, as they’re the ones who have direct financial benefit from the charges on every monthly bill? The scenario presents a situation where the service provider “fox” is in the corporate IT “hen house.”
AT&T, Sprint and Verizon have each made a recent foray into the IT services market via expense management and related service offerings. In a recent piece on Channel Pro, “Mobile Carriers—Threat or Opportunity?,” Sandra Gittlen points out that “carriers will win on price because they can bundle services for existing customers or offer rock-bottom introductory offers to new customers.”
Cost is hardly the issue. Carriers will not be able to beat third-party expense management providers when it comes to objectivity and customer service surrounding mobility plans and spend. Experts quoted throughout the ChannelPro story are not convinced that national carriers have the bandwidth and expertise, as well as an understanding of its clients’ unique requirements, needed to make sound, customized recommendations.
The growing BYOD trend further confuses this move by carriers as a single enterprise would also have contracts across multiple carriers, which would make it more of an obstacle to try to work directly with carriers for value added services of this type. Even if it was effective, it would only shed light onto the mobile usage and cost of a segment of the workforce thus creating a complicated, fragmented expense management environment. There is value in looking at expense and usage across your entire network.
According to a McKinsey report [Winning in the SMB Cloud: Charting a Path to Success] published in the summer of 2011, “as companies [like the carriers] grow larger and more complex it becomes more difficult and more expensive to provide customized offerings through different segments of customers.”
While it is difficult to foresee the success of carriers’ expense management and related services, enterprises should assume the responsibility to monitor its mobile billing or to enlist a neutral third-party to help manage the process and safeguard against billing errors and employee abuse. This is the prudent way to keep the enterprise data “hen house” protected.