Navigating the Wireless Expense Quagmire

The cost and complexity of managing expenses for employee-issued wireless devices can be overwhelming, but successful companies can save thousands of dollars in time and effort annually, according to a report by Aberdeen Group.

The report, Controlling Wireless Expenses: Has Logic Gone Out the Window?” looks at the wireless expense management strategies of 98 companies, with specific emphasis on in-house vs. third-party solutions, international roaming and individual-liable devices. The top 20 percent, classified as Best in Class” companies are proactive in keeping on top of wireless expenses through central management and wind up paying far less with a lower total cost of ownership than companies that manage each wireless account individually.

According to the study, companies surveyed that were considered Best in Class had a central management system for 96 percent of their corporate devices, and realized an 18 percent reduction in last year in TCO. These companies spend an average of $41.10 per user for voice services and $31.06 per user for data and text services.

By comparison, surveyed companies that were considered Laggards spent an average of $50.10 per user for voice services and $50.29 per user for data and text services. Laggard companies had a central management system for only 42 percent of their devices and actually saw a 1 percent increase in their TCO last year.

To achieve cost savings and get a better handle of their wireless inventory, companies can take a page from the Best in Class companies playbooks. Fifty-five percent of Best in Class companies optimize and consolidate their carrier contracts, while 35 percent have increased the visibility of wireless expenses for managers. Another 30 percent have increased that visibility for employees as well.

By enabling these stakeholders to understand these costs, these organizations created multiple levels of accountability for controlling wireless expenses, purchasing behaviors and support requests for new and unsupported technologies,” the report noted.

But theres room for improvement even in Best in Class companies, according to the report. Embracing other technologies such as business intelligence dashboards and intelligence can help companies gain even further insight into their wireless usage. Also, companies must understand how wireless expense management fits into their overall strategic and operational goals, and then plan for a future that most definitely includes enterprise mobility. With the emergence of mobile applications, companies must start controlling this purchase process and learn to optimize these costs as they become the next major pillar of wireless expenses,” the report noted.

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