Managing Wireless Costs in 2013

Spend Matters welcomes another guest post from NPI, a spend management consultancy, focused on delivering savings in the areas of IT, telecom and transportation.

Wireless cost management in today's enterprise IT environment has become painfully "decentralized" – and that's putting it euphemistically. A more honest and accurate descriptor would be "chaotic" and, in most cases, "ineffective."

According to NPI's research, the average enterprise overpays 30 to 40 percent for wireless services. That's an unsettling figure, given that most companies have already upended their IT strategies to accommodate BYOD in the hopes of lower telecom costs.

Here are the biggest cost management challenges IT leaders will need to overcome in order to eliminate wireless overspending in 2013:

  • BYOD side effects. BYOD delivers many benefits, but not without cost. Many companies are losing valuable wireless carrier discounts as corporate device users move to individual-owned devices and plans. Companies should provide users incentives to sign up under corporate rate plans so that the enterprise can continue to receive discounts and credits. Furthermore, companies must fully understand the impact that early termination fees have on the migration of corporate users to individual plans.
  • Navigating shared data plans. In 2012, the industry's largest wireless carriers eliminated unlimited data plans. This year, many companies will be contracted under complex shared data plans for the first time. Companies must gain insight into how this move will impact spending and how to mitigate those impacts. Otherwise, company data costs will be significantly higher in the coming year.
  • Securing fair market value rates and discounts. The complexity and lack of transparency surrounding carrier pricing and discounts have led many enterprise customers down a path of unjustified overspending. Most companies don't have the thorough understanding of wireless carrier plans, internal resources or street pricing insight necessary to know whether or not they are paying carriers a fair price. The solution? Benchmark wireless spending now. It's the first step in eliminating overspending.
  • Aligning usage with carrier options. The proliferation of mobile devices in the enterprise has reduced companies' visibility into wireless usage and asset inventory. This issue is compounded by the fact that few enterprises can keep up with the ever-growing number of carrier plans available to them. As a result, companies continue to pay for plans and devices that are underutilized and misaligned with their actual wireless usage patterns. Usage/plan alignment must become a priority in telecom and IT cost management if companies want to control costs.

How are you planning to reduce enterprise wireless costs in 2013? What new steps will you take?

- Jeff Muscarella, EVP of IT, NPI

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