The Telecom Expense Management Party: BYO(Device) or Full-Service Open Bar?

I had a fascinating chat a couple weeks ago with Dave Snow, CMO at Xigo, about how "the smartphone market has doubled in less than 12 months." It's true: everyone on my morning commute reads the news, flicks birds at pigs, answers emails, stalks people on Facebook, or, like me, incessantly plays Words With Friends. What does this mean for the corporate world? Employees are checking their work email while waiting to get their teeth cleaned, during commercials, on the weekends, waiting for flights -- you get it. We're attached to our devices, and because of it, we're being more productive, all the time. After all, we're able to work the second the work arrives. CIOs and IT managers are quickly catching up: today's usage of the smartphone represents a completely different definition of the term "corporate network," and companies have a lot more to think about now.

With the almost complete interlacing of business and personal life on a smartphone, the question becomes: who pays for what, and to what extent? Do employees use their own smart device, and their company kicks in for part of the bill? Or should a company provide the phone and the usage for them? There are, of course, several factors to consider in both scenarios, according to Dave.

Remember a couple years ago when an Apple employee threw back a few too many and left his yet-unreleased iPhone 4 at a bar? Companies are concerned that their employees will leave their smartphones anywhere, leading to all kinds of potentially lost corporate data. More advanced procurement and IT organizations are breaking into the area of device management: analyzing which of their employees have the right devices at the right level of service and expense.

In this sense, Xigo offers a useful capability: they'll go through and analyze a company's spend on mobile -- but they'll then go in and relate the spend back to usage. This allows the company to monitor and track how their employees use their phones, and adjust their spend accordingly. After all, an employee who checks email on their phone 2-3 times per day doesn't need to be on the same Cadillac data plan as an employee who has to constantly call clients, check emails, send large files, and be available all the time.

All in all, companies can't deny that smartphones are now a necessity for most employees -- people are working faster, smarter, and longer, and smartphones are a critical enabler of this. But diving into the corporate spend and being smart about it is the next logical step. Xigo works on the consumer side too -- if you really want to look at something interesting, go plug your personal phone bill into Xigo Now (for free, registration required) and see what savings opportunities arise.

Sheena Moore

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