A selection of TEM (Telecom Expense Management) articles covering issues such: corporate versus individual liable, security, compliance, TCO of wireless and managed services versus SAaS and so much more.
By Erin Harrison, Senior Editor TMCNet
In almost one-third of companies, mobile phones are used by more than half of all employees, and Forrester (News - Alert) anticipates that this number will grow exponentially as more employees use their own mobile devices to get work done. In a 2009 review of the wireless management space, Gartner (News - Alert) reports that 300 companies now service the wireless management space, further evidence of the growing need for wireless expense management in the enterprise.
Enterprises now look at mobility as a strategic advantage for their business and are looking at applications and tools for their mobile workforce to enhance their productivity, control costs and overall, improve business operations, according to a recent industry report. Along with the rapid increase of wireless use by employees come the issues of managing costs and mobile productivity including:
According to Joe Basili, managing director of the Telecom Expense Management Industry Association, as rising mobility costs drive the need for TEM plans, most organizations have a decentralized environment in terms of enterprise mobility.
"There are opportunities to gain more control over how services and devices are procured, optimization of charges, expense validation, usage accountability, business intelligence and reporting. It can also help with better security of mobile data and compliance to IRS tax rules. Many enterprises report that they expect to see spending for mobile services to rise," Basili said. "This is likely as they start to rehire workers or extend mobile services to more employees. The key is that the average expense per user for mobile services with companies that have a TEM program is consistently lower compared to organizations that have no TEM program."
Danvers, Mass.-based Wireless Analytics offer their clients an "immediate" cost savings of 18 to 43 percent with its wireless expense management options. And depending on an enterprise's current carrier and usage patterns, company officials say they may reduce mobile communications cost by even more.
Using detailed billing data from the major wireless carriers, optimization algorithms and a comprehensive database of carrier rate plans and shared minute programs, the company's CLEAN Platform™ evaluates every call to determine whether users are on the right plan and whether organizations are on the optimal program with the appropriate carrier.
According to Forrester, in addition to bill verification and payment, TEM vendors also offer services to find the best tariffs and packages including roaming charges; identify personal calls and calls to prohibited numbers; and allocate or chargeback mobile costs from central bills to departments and subsidiaries.
By Erin Harrison, Senior Editor TMCNet
When it comes to managing wireless expenses, companies don't always take into consideration "ghost" charges such as text messaging and directory assistance fees, which can ring up unforeseen costs. As the cell phone has transformed into a smartphone, it brings with it new sets of available services that were not before on previous bills.
According to Wireless Analytics, 411 directory assistance fees range from $1.49-$3.49 for each call - with estimates placing the revenue to carriers at $8 billion.
"Text messaging is not free and typically users are unaware of the cost to their organization," explained Erik Eames, managing director of Danvers, Mass.-based Wireless Analytics. The issue, he said, is overages with most carriers charging $0.20 to $0.50 over their specific plans.
"Calls made to third-party toll free numbers in this case is not free for anyone. The wireless user is charged for making the call and the toll free subscriber pays to receive the call. This is especially important to consider when employees call back to the office using their corporate toll-free number," he said.
Just because you are able to make a call to another country on your mobile device, Eames added, does not mean it's free or at the same rate as your corporate landline. Most wireless carriers do have discount calling plans but they need to be activated otherwise fees can be very high.
"For example, on AT&T (News - Alert), the fee per minute on a mobile user dialing from the states to a Greek landline is $.09 cents but to another mobile is $2.52 and with a plan it's $0.32 so it's quite a delta with regard to fees and most users are not aware of it," Eames said.
There are also fees associated when the caller waits to hear the auto-attendant (which can take up to 40 seconds) to allow you leave a message or pickup a message. According to Wireless Analytics, there are short cuts, such as dialing [*1#]. As soon as you hear the auto-attendant, Eames said, you can press [*1#], which in most cases allows the caller to bypass the message.
"The key is that each carrier has its own prompt, for example Verizon (News - Alert) is [*], but if you do not know the user's carrier when making the call by simply pressing the three buttons it should automatically cover the major four carriers. In the case of ringtones and third-party downloads, users are usually led to believe they are downloading something for free (maybe for the first month) but the reality is that so many of these application fees tend to stay on the invoice indefinitely," Eames warned.
For enterprise customers concerned about their mobile billing, steadily rising data costs could force them to consider cost-saving solutions and a wireless expense management plan.
"Even when a user cancels or discontinues a service they often magically reappear a few months later, which is why we call them "ghost" charges. They seem to appear out of no aware...now that really is scary," said Eames.