Employees are more mobile than ever – they can work from just about anywhere they choose, and need less and less equipment in order to be productive.  In addition to mobility, the convenience of using fewer devices to manage personal and professional tasks is fast becoming the norm for many employees, preferring one mobile device suited for all needs.  Organizations are more challenged than ever to control, track and manage the amalgamation of mobile devices, service plans, and the ever expanding ocean of apps. Because of this, wireless expense management has become far more complicated than in decades past, when there were far fewer devices and plans to manage and where it was fairly common for the enterprise to adopt a top-down approach to wireless expense management.

BYOD, or ‘bring your own device’ is a program whereby employees utilize their own mobile devices to perform their day to day duties, while granting them access to necessary corporate information.  Email, calendars, and required apps are made available to employees via their mobile devices, eliminating the need to be tied to their office or requiring them to use company-issued equipment.

Because of the recent consumerization of IT, the need for an effective BYOD policy is more evident than ever, as many employees use their own devices and laptops for work regardless of whether or not they receive support from their IT departments.  An effective and strictly enforced BYOD policy will help mitigate the security risks this type of usage evokes.  While BYOD programs have certainly enhanced mobility’s value to an organization, it has without question complicated the issue of productivity.

The arguments behind the BYOD trend suggest that employees are more productive by using their own device, cost is reduced because companies do not pay for the devices, and corporate IT departments do not have to devote resources toward the management of these devices[1].

However, when faced with the fact that more than 60% of companies do not even track the personal usage for their employees’ devices, productivity becomes objectionable[2]. Thus, employees could be claiming any number of calls or minutes as reimbursable expenses and management wouldn’t be the wiser.  If left unchecked, this lack of verification could have a cumulative, detrimental economic affect to the corporation.

In addition to the expense management issues, BYOD policies can expose a plethora of security liabilities often overlooked by management.  In the unlikely event of a lawsuit where phone records need to be subpoenaed, the possibility of acquiring them is slim if an employee is using his or her own device.  Since most companies reimburse employees for their business-related mobile usage, the likelihood of possible record falsification exists.  In addition, the process of reimbursing an employee is a soft cost that needs to be added onto the actual cost of the reimbursable expense.  According to a recent Aberdeen Group study, cellular telephone monthly reimbursement averages $70 per month, which is only $10 less than what average companies pay for wireless expenses[3].  In addition, most reimbursements occur monthly through expense report processing, which costs an organization on average $29 to process, causing the expenditure to climb over the industry average.

To ensure productivity amongst employees who adhere to BYOD, corporations require strict and specific policies.  A well thought out BYOD policy must address the issue of security.  Whether they like it or not, employees should be required to create screen-lock passwords on any personal device that will be used to access corporate data.  With just a swipe of the screen, an employee could unknowingly be exposing sensitive, confidential corporate information.

The issue of IT support for employee-owned devices can be complicated.   This is where productivity can be stalled completely if an employee has an issue that he or she cannot resolve on his or her own.  If it is a network or connectivity issue, will there be corporate IT support?  What happens in the case of damaged hardware or broken equipment issues, or if the device is lost or stolen?  Will IT support those types of problems, or is the employee required to resolve it on his own?  Can the employee count on management to provide a ‘loaner’ device while their own is being repaired, or is the employee essentially out of commission until the original device is fixed?  While these questions are debated, productivity will universally suffer.  Not only is the employee affected, the IT department and management will need to devote time to fixing the issue so the employee can get back to work as quickly as possible.

To what degree will the corporation support the device in a BYOD environment?  Since the combination of personal and professional programs and apps will exist on the device, what happens if a personal app creates a problem that interferes with the ability to access email and other company information?  An effective BYOD policy should outline what apps will be allowed and which will be banned due to any potential security or legal risks whatsoever.  What if a poorly written instant messaging client steals your organization’s address book? These are serious questions to address in a BYOD policy[5].  Who owns the apps, programs, information and the device?  Ownership becomes cumbersome in a situation where the device is lost or stolen and corporate IT needs to wipe the device clean of all information – including the employee’s personally stored information.  Additionally, if an employee leaves or is terminated, who owns the data?  If a BYOD policy is adopted, it must be clearly defined that the employee agrees to the consequences if data security is jeopardized in any way.

The question of whether or not productivity is enhanced with a BYOD policy is not easily answered.  In an environment that has a strict policy surrounding the usage of personal devices is much better poised for increased productivity than those corporations with loosely enforced guidelines.  An effective BYOD policy will address security, clearly define allowable apps, and outline support processes to keep an employee as productive as possible.

To get started on crafting an effective BYOD policy, contact us!


[1] Aberdeen Group, Expense Management for a New Decade, March 2011
[2] Park, Hyoun, Wireless Expense Management:  Control International Roaming and the BYOD Revolution, Aberdeen Group, October 2011
[3]Aberdeen Group, Expense Management for a New Decade, March 2011
[4] Park, Hyoun, Wireless Expense Management:  Control International Roaming and the BYOD Revolution, Aberdeen Group, October 2011
[5] Hassell, Jonathan, BYOD policy and the employee ‘exit wipe’, CIO New Zeland (Online), May 2012

Improving financial management of telecom services within your organization is never easy, but managing the financial component of telecom can be a nightmare. Multiple carriers, multiple contracts, different locations; these factors can all lead to poor financial management and cost creep. Add mobility into the picture and you get a hodge-podge mess (I use hodge-podge because a customer used that very term the other day!).

It is easy to avoid looking at the financial costs of managing telecom (much like your personal finances… I can relate), but what are the risks of doing nothing? There are plenty of reports from some of the top research names in the industry, and here are some of the key findings:

  • Telecom costs rank in the top 5 expenses for most companies (Gartner)
  • 80% of carrier bills contain errors (Gartner)
  • Telecom analysts spend on average 20% of their time identifying errors (Gartner)
  • Enterprises forfeit 12%-17% of telecom expenses without a proactive approach to telecom cost management (Aberdeen Group)

The Benefits to Financial Management of Telecom

  • Peace of mind with a complete and accurate inventory (and knowing you can go to your board of directors or executive team with an optimized environment!)
  • Profitability & lower cost of ownership through tighter financial controls
  • Time: frees up your time and allows you to focus on your core business
  • Future proofing your environment and technology to align with your business both for today and in the future

What are the components of Financial Management in Telecom?

The first step in  determining the areas of focus would be to conduct an Inventory Audit and Assessment. The following items should be sections of analysis.

Wireline

  • Service validation
  • Optimization
  • Identify and dispute all billing inaccuracies and unauthorized third party billing

Wireless

  • Assess pooling minutes, voice and data plans and discounts
  • Identify compliance vs. approved policy
  • Identify text and data overages
  • Identify subscriptions and downloads

Financial / Invoice Management

  • Invoices & Optimization
  • Maintain accurate and current inventory
  • Monitor pricing, discounts, contracts, and invoices

Service optimization

  • A/P
  • GL coding
  • Cost allocation
  • Track credits and adjustments are applied and posted

Telecom Asset Repository

Metrics and ROI Measurement

  • Month over month spending
  • YTD spending vs previous year
  • Percent of cost savings
  • Percent of total telecom spending vs overall company spending
  • Budget allocation for next fiscal year

Mobility Program Management

Corporate Help Desk 

  • Establish a process to work with internal IT staff
  • Maintain and enforce approved policy for devices, plans, etc.
  • Streamline ordering process
  • Vendor management and Level 1 troubleshooting
  • Single POC for all inquiries and issues
  • Order new / replacement devices
  • Refresh, wipe, or upgrade of devices
  • Warranty replacement or repair of devices
  • Accessories acquisition if approved

Mobility Expense Management

  • Comprehensive inventory off all devices and associated plans
  • Ongoing optimization of plans to avoid unnecessary overages
  • Management reports
  • Device asset allocation and GL coding

The bottom line is, once you do a current state review and analysis of every aspect of your telecom environment, it becomes easier to determine where you can cut costs and lower the cost of managing these services, however, not doing anything leads to a continued state of chaos.

Contact us to learn more about our Telecom Assessment.