Majority of companies overspend on wireless service costs

Research firm, Gartner, has stated that the majority of companies will overspend on their wireless service costs through to 2014.

Gartner said that in all, 80% of firms will overspend by an average of 15% to 2014. Gartner analysts said that as mobility has grown among organisations, costs have also grown, and companies need to become better at managing their mobile voice and data costs.

“Our research shows that the majority of companies are not adequately managing their mobile users or services,” said Phil Redman, research vice president at Gartner. “They need to look more closely at their key user segments and requirements in order to match those needs with the right services and optimise their spending.”

Redman said that during the next year, companies should look to four main areas to manage their wireless costs: contracts, international roaming, mobility management and desktop replacement.

On contracts, how companies buy services has changed in the past few years; more than 60% of mid size and large companies have moved away from buying individual plans, which are the least efficient in reducing costs.

However, newer services, such as pooling plans, flat rate plans, and zero minute phones all need to be carefully evaluated to ensure that they are offering maximum value across the organisation. Gartner also advises companies to move from individual liability plans (where the user is responsible for the payment and contract) to corporate liability plans that allow for better control of costs through the optimisation of wireless services and corporate discounting.

International roaming costs become increasingly difficult to manage as companies extend international travel. Throughout 2010, 10% of users that travel internationally will make up 35% of the total service costs for companies that support travel.

Although there are no magic solutions for reducing costs beyond reducing the number of users who travel, reducing the minutes used and making users aware of the costs, companies can negotiate with the carrier for roaming cost reductions and look to adopt mobile roaming plans.

International data roaming can be even more costly with some bills reaching thousands of dollars in a short period. Gartner recommends that companies disallow all ad hoc use of international wireless data and instead promote the use of smartphones for email or ask carriers for bundles for remote workers.

Active management practices are important to organise services and control mobility expenses. According to Gartner, the two main areas to focus on in management are policy, used to eliminate undesirable practices and promote a set or desirable practices and compliance across the organisation, and the use of outsourced services, called telecom expense management (TEM), which provides extensive mobility management services to businesses.

Some companies are already beginning to integrate their cellular phones into their corporate system, which can support cost routing for reduced service calls or the elimination of desk phones. Both are part of fixed mobile convergence (FMC) plans, FMC being the intersection of where fixed and mobile unified communications (UC) meet and share services and functionality. In this scenario, instead of literally being chained to their desk, users will have the freedom of conducting business in a mobile environment but maintain enterprise functionality in the wireless device.

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