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Optimizing Mobile Purchases with Wireless Expense Management

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July 17, 2008

Optimizing Mobile Purchases with Wireless Expense Management

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Senior Editor


These days, managing communications expenses for a company involves a variety of different types of services, including wireless. Telecom expense management, the discipline traditionally associated with tracking and minimizing communications costs, now includes the element of wireless expense management.

 
The first step in wireless expense management is the mobile purchasing process — selecting the desired wireless devices and services. This purchasing process can be broken down into steps for easier management, and to ensure that the best deal is obtained. A suggested checklist of mobile purchasing steps is outlined below.
 
First, it is important to identify which people in the company actually need particular wireless devices and software. It might be that there are more affordable ways to meet the needs of certain employees. Doing a needs analysis will clarify the matter.
 
Second, the mobility needs of a company’s executives and employees should be discussed with department manager. The goal here is to make a list of devices appropriate for different participants in the company.
 
Third, the wireless expense management process will be much more efficient if direct billing to individual departments is implemented. This provides clear ownership of various types of wireless expenses.
 
Fourth, the number of wireless carriers being dealt with by the IT department should be minimized. While having relationships with multiple carriers is valuable from a strategic standpoint — competition for the company’s business is healthy and usually results in better contract deals. However, dealing with too many different carries is inefficient from a billing standpoint.
 
Fifth, a consideration sometimes overlooked in wireless expense management is the manner in which maintenance items are handled. This includes the purchase of accessories, as well as repairs and spare parts, for every device supported by the company.
 
Sixth, it is always wise to budget in extra for additional costs that will be incurred when desktop applications are extended to mobile devices. An initial needs analysis will make estimating this part of the budget more accurate.
 
Finally, wherever it is feasible from a cost standpoint, carrier contracts should be set to the shortest term available. The reason for this is to provide flexibility for the company as its needs change in response to evolving technologies. Being locked into a long-term contract involving technologies that become outdated can become a big headache. There’s a trade-off, of course, between contract length/cost savings and flexibility, but with technology changing so fast it generally is better to pay a bit more for the ability to make changes as they’re needed. It most likely will pay off in the long run.
 
For more tips regarding successful mobile purchasing, please visit the Wireless Expense Management channel on TMCnet.com, brought to you by Rivermine (News - Alert).
 
Mae Kowalke is senior editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae’s articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.







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