Telecom Cost Management

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January 13, 2011

Tips to Maintain Your Telecom Cost Management

By Janice McDuffee, TMC Copy Editor

Keeping employees connected is a top priority for any business, and the proliferation of smartphone technology has left companies with the capability of disseminating a flood of information from virtually any location—but with that growth, the difficulties of maintaining telecom cost management, particularly for larger firms, has also become increasingly more complex.

There are several measures that companies can take to maintain, or even cut telecom costs when it comes to mobile usage—whether producing immediate effects or taking preventative measures to protect the company from a major future expense.

For instance, every employee with a smartphone is a walking around with a portal to company files with privileged information that can easily be lost or stolen in locations around the world. If companies are proactive, taking the proper security measures like password protection and the ability to wipe the phone remotely can prevent a costly breach.

Further, mobile inventory should be monitored with other HR records, particularly in large firms, to protect the company from liability issues and unnecessary costs. Large companies may not notice when former employees keep their mobile devices—this oversight can cause firms to continue paying for fees and usage outside of company needs.

Companies can also legally protect themselves by establishing rules for employees and mobile device usage, like only using the device for business purposes, and refraining from activities like texting while driving.

By opening communication with employees, companies can potentially see immediate results in cutting telecom costs. Employees often don’t understand the expenses they incur when it comes to using the company’s resources. Sending individual, monthly reports of mobile usage can allow the employees to see how much their decisions cost the company, and will also subtly point out that someone else is also watching their individual contributions to the company’s overall expenses.

That’s not to say that companies should go as far as setting limits for each employee to be held liable after exceeding. Roger K. Yang, CEO of Avema (News - Alert) wrote in Mobile Enterprise that individual liability can often increase telecom expense, passing it on to the employee, their managers and the accounting department.

“Overall, is it simpler to have one well managed invoice every month, or 500 managed on an ad hoc basis?“ asked Yang.

When establishing a contract with a carrier, a company should closely evaluate the overall usage of its employees, remembering to take into consideration the elements beyond voice calling in the realm of text messaging, data usage and roaming charges—particularly if the company frequently travels overseas. After an evaluation of usage, companies can be sure not to waste money on excessive unused minutes and messages. If there is a better deal out there, companies can often renegotiate.

Companies should also refrain from the “do-it-yourself” model of employees individually seeking out technical support—unsure of where to go, employees generally end up in a chosen provider’s call center or retail store causing both frustration and inefficiency. Yang suggests central procurement, where a company can offer a selection of standardized mobile devices and operating systems that are in tune with a company’s current security settings, and with that, a trained help desk familiar with a company’s functionality and preference.

Janice McDuffee has worked in marketing, editing and freelance writing for companies including SheKnows and HBM Inc. after receiving her master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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