With Verizon Wireless introducing new tiered options for data plans and eliminating unlimited data plans for new subscribers; and the FCC putting a spotlight on "cramming," it's more important than ever for businesses to put the right steps in place to ensure they aren't hit with unexpected fees. Businesses must take steps to not only reduce unnecessary costs, but to prevent them.
We're seeing a changing relationship between finance and IT. IT departments are being pressed to approach mobile device management from a cost perspective, particularly as the growing mix of personal and corporate devices brings new cost challenges. As with most aspects of mobility, the impact of changing data plan options, hidden costs, and overage charges felt by businesses swells much larger than its impact upon individuals, especially considering they are increasingly faced with managing a mixed environment of mobile devices.
Following are some tips I think businesses should keep in mind before locking themselves into a new contract. We all must be aware of how to prevent unexpected costs, heighten security and efficiently manage a growing number of mobile devices in business environments. Here's what you need to know:
Understand your company profile: Many companies are emotionally tied to unlimited data plans and, like consumers, find the idea of a tiered plan extremely daunting. However, oftentimes total usage doesn't come close to meeting the limits of the more restricted options -- a couple of users may use a lot of data while the majorities use voice, for example. In certain cases, think about establishing a tiered plan to align better with employee activity.
Consider a rate review clause in your contract: When you have a tiered carrier plan, ensure there is a rate review clause written into your contract. It will be important to have this incorporated in case you have any technology changes mid-contract to allow for the opportunity to negotiate custom prices at the right time.
Find out how data pooling for family plans will impact your business: There is a lot of talk among carriers to take data pooling from the business setting to the consumer. Carriers like Verizon and AT&T are publicly stating that data pooling is likely to be introduced on family plans. For businesses expensing certain voice and data activity for their users with personal devices, this makes an already complex environment more complicated. Have a telecom expense management (TEM) system in place that monitors these contracts and expenses on a case by case basis. TEM also helps ensure tiered data plans are properly utilized across enterprise users.
Plan ahead for technology advancements: Despite the fact that the average contract period for a mobile device is 18 months, new versions of devices come out at a much faster pace -- and consumers are following suit. Ask your provider for a shorter upgrade eligibility period to avoid unnecessary fees.
Mobility is exploding, and it's imperative to remain ahead of the give to curb costs and continue realizing the immense productivity benefits.
- Michael Niziolek, Engagement Director for Tangoe