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Xigo's Telecom Expense Management Blog
Lately, there have been some articles stating that managing mobile devices and their expenses are activities that should fall under purchasing or finance, not IT. Well, mobile plans and mobile expenses are a complicated area—an area that no one part of a company is perfect for.
As anyone who’s worked for more than one business knows, every company is built differently—responsibilities differ from company to company and overall size and business goals play a major role in determining what an individual does on a day-to-day basis.
Those that work in purchasing are generally experts in finance and are driven to cut expenses and maximize profit. Those that work in IT, on the other hand, are technology experts that are driven by maintaining the company’s security, being on top of the latest technology advances and by solving business problems through technology.
Most businesses are far from a point where IT can recommend devices and hand it off to purchasing to complete. Or where purchasing can understand for sure why there is less of a need for texting minutes but a need for a plan with a large data allotment. In many companies, the responsibility most often falls on IT to make sure that employees have the right devices, the right plans and are using them most cost-effectively. And it falls to purchasing to make sure the carriers are billing what you expected and that they are not charging you for services you didn’t sign up for.
Clearly there has to be collaboration between both parties in order for mobile management to work properly. There are so many possibilities where problems could arise that would traditionally fall squarely between the two departments—overages by employees, cramming, abuse of the network, insufficient data plans, overseas roaming, being billed for destroyed devices. These problems, if not dealt with consistently, quickly and seamlessly, can combine to create a huge mobile bill.
Businesses should be set up so these issues are collaborated on by both groups (along with the executive team in some organizations). Companies that are best equipped to solve any of these problems have IT employees stretching into finance—and finance employees stretching into IT. Siloing the mobile expense management responsibilities helps no one succeed and can create confusion that results in bigger, more expensive bills.
With that in mind, it makes sense for IT managers and purchasing managers to do as much as they can to ensure that their mobile strategy or BYOD approach doesn’t crash and burn. Here are some steps to help control expenses from the start:
- Take Advantage of WiFi and Demand Employees Do the Same: A greater use of WiFi can be the single, easiest and most effective way to curb crazy wireless charges and ensure costs stay in line. Employees need to use WiFi in the office, at home and while traveling.
- Review Bills and Recognize Trends: Are your employees using all of the MB on your plan? Are you constantly under? Over? Being aware of your company's usage pattern and making needed adjustments sooner rather than later can save you money in the long run.
- Cramming and Unwanted Charges: Pay close attention to all providers' offerings, rules and policies, to avoid getting charged for unwanted services or overages. Make sure you aren’t still paying for abandoned or destroyed devices. Learn to recognize cramming charges—third parties that charge small fees for services you never signed up for. The carriers will not look for and eliminate these charges themselves; it is the responsibility of the user to do so.
- Be Ready to Change Plans and Re-Negotiate: With each new device you add, you also add new data/service plans to the mix and are forced to manage multiple contracts and invoices. This often means re-negotiating plans.
- Create a Non-Work Use Policy: In today’s BYOD world employers now need to make sure employees aren’t abusing devices by downloading music at work and aren’t overspending by using their device to watch streaming video on the weekend. By regularly reviewing bills you can also identify any abusers before its too late.