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Five Tips for Lowering Mobile Spend with Better Device Management


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August 22, 2011

Five Tips for Lowering Mobile Spend with Better Device Management

By Jamie Epstein, TMCnet Web Editor

Founded in 2003, GSG is one of the leading telecom expense management and telecom lifecycle management companies. Performing both large audit and optimization services for businesses, the company has built an audit practice in telecommunications which currently boasts over 150 telecom auditors who cater to Fortune 500s and small and mid-sized business.

TMCnet recently had the chance to speak with GSG CEO Andrew Goorno and Dan Hughes (News - Alert), president of GSG, about five tips that are crucial to lower spending associated with mobile device management and where the industry is headed in all to near future.

First, pool your minutes. Businesses should take advantage of pooling plans, which allow them to purchase large blocks of minutes and share those minutes across their user-base.  Hughes stated, “Just like family plans that individuals have access to, these large corporations can create these large pools of minutes they can all share amongst themselves. It is very important for companies to be able to understand their peak usage out of mobile to mobile, nights and weekends and be able to constantly manage their pool to minimize their cost per minute.”

Goorno added, “When we come into a company, we perform what is called a saving analysis, where we are looking at pooling plans, and then recommend different plans, whether it should be international and things like that. Many times people are on a pool but it is not aligned properly, so we do a lot of pool realignment. That whole process can usually reduce the company’s spend by five percent just through pooling of minutes

Second, decrease unlimited plans. Many businesses take the safe but rarely effective route of signing up for unlimited voice and data plans, and in the process purchase more services than necessary to avoid the pain of overage charges. 

“This is the largest savings area, as it can account for up to 22 percent of savings that we find. Generally, companies have tried to take it as safely as they can and they are on the largest data plans they feel comfortable with because they are concerned with overages. Our practice is to come in and look at three months of prior usage and to try and figure out how we can actually bring that user’s plan down. This is something we will do upfront, however it is an ongoing process where you need to continually look at three-month periods of usage and realign data and voice plans to the lowest possible plan, while saving the maximum amount of money while avoiding overage,” Goorno commented.

Third, watch for international roaming charges/fees.  Hughes noted that this is a huge problem and that GSG sees instances all the time where someone roams internationally with phone or data card raking up a $4,000 to $5,000 bill. Hughes said, “There are many things we can do to end this. One thing is just by making sure whoever is traveling is on the right plan before they leave. Things such as loaner programs, basically if someone is traveling to Italy, we will arrange to have a MiFi shipped to them where they have access to unlimited data. They then in effect are loaned the MiFi or SIM card to use abroad. These types of programs usually charge around $12 to $15 per day. That may seem like a lot per day but if you compare that to a $1,000 to $2,000 dollar bill it is a lot more economical to work with one of those programs.”

Fourth, remove zero use devices. This is a big area for cost reduction. GSG’s system has the ability to pull reports of zero usage for up to six months of smartphones, Aircards or MiFi’s that are not being used which can then be turned off or suspended. In fact, GSG recently worked with large customer who has over 16,000 devices. It was found that out of that large number of devices, over 1,000 were zero use devices. After working with them to shut those devices off, GSG saved that company over $750,000.

Goorno stated it is “one of those things where clients don’t realize they have this many devices or Aircards sitting around that have get no use but they keep getting billed for them. “

Fifth, develop and enforce mobile usage policies. Companies should add usage policies that each and every employee knows and understands. There are various policies that can be asked of users with some based on simple things such as traveling internationally. Users should be sure to let their IT managers know when they will be traveling, and when they will be coming back so somebody can be put on the right plan. Some companies have certain type of usage thresholds that they allow for and if users are found to be abusing these, they will hold be held liable for the excess bill. In effect, ensuring employees are aware of usage parameters will help to save money in the long run.

When asked where the mobile device management industry is headed in the future, in terms of service providers and what they can do, Goorno concluded, “I think that from our perspective, we have seen companies handling the entire lifecycle of mobility and that’s clearly where we see things going. Whether it be small or mid-sized businesses or enterprises, they want to outsource mobility within every aspect including managing inventory, expenses and optimization, and even procurement such as ordering devices and the help desk. I see the industry moving in that direction and the merger of wireless expense management with MDM so that the whole process is outsourced and companies have a simple portal that can allows them to view all aspects of things being managed for them.

In related news, the company has just inked a deal to integrate its flagship MobileManager service with Sybase (News - Alert) Managed Mobility powered by Afaria, in order to enhance its platform and offer companies the most complete hosted option for enterprise mobility management (EMM). The new Sybase Managed Mobility hosted platform will feature MobileManager’s procurement, asset management and expense management tools and services and will make it easy for users to centrally manage, secure and deploy mobile data, applications and devices – such as smartphones, tablets, and handsets – and eliminate overspending on service plans.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Jamie Epstein is a TMCnet Web Editor. Previously she interned at News 12 Long Island as a reporter's assistant. After working as an administrative assistant for a year, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web editor for TMCnet. Jamie grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and holds a bachelor's degree in mass communication with a concentration in broadcasting from Five Towns College. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

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