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Mobile Expense Management: How to Do It Right

By | August 15, 2013 in BYOD

Mobile Expense Management

Managing mobile costs is a challenge for organizations of all sizes. Trends such as BYOD might be leading to a reduction in work device expenses, but operational expenses, software and security costs will be growing. The situation becomes more complex when estimating a budget to cover these costs becomes a long process that requires the collection of data across all departments and management levels.

While it often seems easy to think that the benefits that come along with BYOD are justifiable, BYOD involves many different costs that in the long run, can hurt your business if they become excessive or disproportionate. Mobile expense management is certainly a hot topic. However, the question is, how do you manage these expenses correctly?

Analyze Current Usage

You must have a benchmark or estimate of what the current mobile usage of your company is before you can begin to manage it. In today’s global economy where it’s common for businesses to have offices in several different countries, tracking company-wide mobile use can be difficult. Certain carriers are distinct to specific countries which makes unification an issue. There are a few different options to help in this situation:

  • Find one carrier: Although it may be difficult, you can look for one carrier that services every area your company has offices in.
  • Using one framework for multiple carriers: Instead of restricting the company to one carrier, you can attempt to handle all of the different carriers while maintaining a unified framework.
  • Using multiple carriers: The final option would be to manage all of the different carriers and just keep them separate.

Consolidating all of the company usage can be difficult, but it’s a necessary step in order to manage all of the mobile expenses being incurred.

Budget Based on Departmental Needs/Use

Certain departments will have different mobile device needs and usage. For example, the sales team will mainly use their mobile phones to make calls, send emails, and in some cases text message. The IT department will probably use their phones for emails and to monitor support tickets. It would not make sense to allocate the same amount of talking minutes to the sales team as you would to the IT support department.

Knowing how different departments use mobile devices is also beneficial for keeping costs down. Enrolling every device in contracts that include full features could be a tremendous misuse of the company budget if the employees aren’t using them all.

Mobile device contracts do not scale down every month according to your usage. If your company signs up for unlimited text messaging and employees only send 100 texts a month, the company will still be billed at the unlimited rate. This can result in thousands of lost dollars.

Establish a Line Between Business and Personal Use

One of the reasons BYOD became popular is because companies recognized employees were often using company provided devices for personal use. The problem this created was that companies ended up footing the bill for employees to make unauthorized personal calls with company equipment.

While this still occurs today, BYOD has helped because employees use their personal devices for business. In order to better manage mobile expenses, companies have to make sure that they are only paying for mobile devices being used for business. Thankfully, this once difficult task has been made much easier with a Mobile Device Management Software.

MDM software allows companies to see how each employee is using their devices. If the monthly billing is unusually high one month, companies can look into how each device was used throughout the month and determine which employee is causing the issue.

Weigh costs vs. benefits

Overall mobile device usage has risen substantially year after year. However, this shouldn’t automatically be used as an excuse to increase the mobile device budget. Companies should analyze the costs being incurred by mobile devices and the benefits being gained as a result. This can be done by monitoring overall productivity, sales, and other measurable factors that might be affected by mobile device usage (positively or negatively).

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.

Eran Waldman

About Eran Waldman

Now serving as SysAid VP Finance & IT, Eran has years of high-tech experience as a CPA, business owner, and financial specialist. Responsible for the company’s internal IT and cloud services environments, Eran uses SysAid with its built-in ITIL processes to handle the company’s IT needs. He is also an avid fan of Barcelona soccer team and judging from his savvy finance skills, you'd be wise to put your money on the same team that he does!

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