In the present economy, businesses are doing everything they can to lower expenses. One of the most effective ways to cut costs is by evaluating your wireless spending. With a little attention, you can reduce costs, save valuable time, and get a handle on your wireless assets.
Develop and maintain a list of all company-owned devices
The first step is to get your arms around the current wireless situation for your company. Using your wireless bills, compile a list of all wireless devices that are paid for by the company. Include first name, last name, department/hierarchy unit, wireless number, and carrier. If possible, you should also add the device model, wireless plan, and any information specific to your organization.
Then, look at the list. Consult department heads and end-users about questionable accounts. Are the users still working for the company? Does it make sense for all of the users on your list to have a company cell phone? Do they need a Blackberry or will a cell phone suffice? Can connection cards be shared among a group?
This may take some time. However, not only will it help you identify immediate savings, it is a necessary step to maintaining a healthy corporate wireless environment.
If you have too many lines to undertake this project, consider outsourcing this to a company that specializes in managed mobility services. A good provider will have the tools and experience to make this process easier.
All of your hard work building the list of company-owned devices will quickly unravel unless you control the procurement of new wireless devices. No one should be able to go out and get the most expensive phone with a high-priced plan on any carrier they wish. Controlling procurement will ensure consistent end-user experience, a secure environment, and reduced support and equipment costs. You need to control the types of devices and plans that a user can choose.
This can be accomplished in a number of different ways. Smaller companies often have a single point of contact who, along with their other duties, handles the procurement of wireless devices.
Mid-sized companies may have an individual or a department whose sole responsibility is wireless procurement and the utilization of a wireless policy. Or, they may engage a third party.
Enterprise companies normally outsource wireless procurement and management to a third-party managed mobility provider.
Terminate wireless devices with little or no use
Sometimes, when positions are terminated or employees leave the company, the phone is returned but the plan itself is not canceled. You may also find, after looking at your wireless bills, that a phone or connection card has not been used in months. Someone using only a handful of minutes may be able to do without that service. We never cease to be amazed at how many of our clients are paying for cell phones or connection cards for employees who left the company months or even years ago.
Adopt and enforce a corporate wireless policy
A wireless policy is a must-have for any organization with corporate-owned phones. It should be in writing and readily available.
A corporate wireless policy defines the rules and policies for company wireless devices. It should state restrictions for personal use including limits on the storage of music, photos, and other personal information.
It also should outline the policy for procuring new devices and what is an acceptable use of those devices including text and data usage. Finally, it should describe what should happen with the device and line of service when an employee leaves the company.
Own the phone and the phone number
Always remember that wireless devices AND phone numbers are assets. Employee-owned phones can be a huge liability for a company. Their phone number is out there with clients, prospects, and vendors. If they leave, they can take the data, contact lists, and most importantly, the phone number with them.
In addition, employee expensed phone usage can be difficult to track. Are they really using it for business? Are their high costs because of an out-of-control text messaging problem? Are they on an optimized plan based on their usage?
Another consideration is quantity discounts. If you are paying for the phone usage anyway, you might as well help your corporate volume discount.
When coverage is comparable, consolidating to one or a few carriers is best. Not only does this make billing considerably easier, but you will have higher volume discounts and it can help when negotiating contracts.
By pooling minutes rather than having each user on their own plan, you can significantly reduce your overall spend, upwards of 40%. You may have users that always go over their minutes and users that never use all of their minutes. With pooled plans, these balance out, reducing overage fees and waste. This may require consolidating multiple accounts with your carrier.
Negotiate wireless contracts
Competition is high among wireless carriers. Often, they are willing to work with you on your wireless costs to gain your business. There may be volume discounts, loyalty programs, or unpublished specials that you can take advantage of. You won’t know until you contact them.
For large accounts, you may want to outsource the contract negotiation to a managed mobility company that has the experience and insider information necessary to get you the best deal possible.
Implement a device pool for international phones
Rather than paying extra to add international roaming to every phone for every user that might someday travel overseas, consider a pool of international devices. Before a user travels, they simply check out a phone from the pool and forward their domestic cell phone calls to the new number.
Plus, there are special phones available that are specifically designed for international travel. These phones can significantly reduce your international roaming costs.
Consider outsourcing wireless management
Once they reach a certain number of lines, many companies choose to outsource their wireless management to a third party. A well-managed mobility company knows the wireless industry inside and out and can pay for its services and more by significantly lowering your wireless bills, reducing human resource costs, and enabling you to control your wireless environment.
Through rate plan optimization and contract negotiation, an experienced provider can drastically reduce your wireless spending. After the initial optimization, they can continue keeping costs down by identifying high-usage users, controlling procurement, and uncovering inactive devices.
In addition, a managed mobility provider can save hundreds of human resource hours by handling technical support as well as moves, adds, changes, and deactivations. They can also provide vision into everything that happens to an asset.
Third-party managed mobility companies are not appropriate for every business. Only you know how many lines you can effectively manage in-house.