Telecom Expense Management Ropes in International Data Charges
August 16, 2013
By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor
Mobile data enables workers to stay productive on the road, but it also can be a big challenge when employees handle work overseas.
Increasingly, global business is normal business. While companies are adapting to differences in cultures and the new rules of the game, sometimes mobile workers in foreign countries can still cause trouble. It is not uncommon for a worker to come back from a business trip overseas with a hefty telecom bill.
Most telecom administrators have experienced the shock of reviewing an invoice and seeing hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of roaming data charges from an employee who was traveling internationally. Sometimes the bill can even reach in the tens of thousands.
This experience is becoming even more common as smartphone users are consuming more data and getting used to consuming more data. While this may be acceptable or even good business while they are in the United States, it can be a big issue while they travel internationally.
The natural solution for most telecom administrators when they see such bills is to contact the carrier and request a credit.
Most carriers usually will honor such credits, but the process of requesting the credit, following up on the request and making sure the credit is finally applied to the account takes time. Hours of time in most cases, at least when all the administrative time is factored in.
A better solution is handling the problem at the point of issue. There are several tactics that can be employed.
First, it starts with provisioning properly. With many carriers, there are plans that can accommodate international data use. It also might make sense to purchase a temporary plan with a carrier in the country where the employee is visiting. This can save a ton of money.
Second, it is important to educate employees on the cost of such international data roaming. Most people are familiar with the cost of roaming, but it is easy to throw the burden on their company and treat mobile data like a company-sponsored meal in the airport. Employees need to know that they cannot use international data with impunity—they need to keep tabs on use.
A third and powerful tactic is employing telecom expense management software to help deal with the problem. A quality solution such as IBM’s Emptoris Rivermine Telecom Expense Management solution can help companies reduce telecommunications expenses by holistically managing the mobile and wireline communications lifecycle.
Emptoris Rivermine (News - Alert) can not only streamline and automates key telecom processes, including inventory management, procurement and order management and invoice processing. It also can deliver real-time visibility into telecom spend and help telecom managers ensure that employees are practicing responsible data use practices while traveling abroad.
The shock of a five-figure telecom bill is not uncommon. But it should be—and it can be uncommon if proper practices such as employee training and telecom expense management are employed.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey