By Russell Horton, COO, Elitetele.com
Increased agility and great customer satisfaction are key parts of a successful business today. With this comes the need to give employees better access to company data on the go via both corporate owned devices and through BYOD schemes. However in the rush to mobilise workforces, many organisations are overlooking the need to manage the process cost effectively.
By 2017 Gartner predicts one in two firms will no longer provide employees with corporate owned devices, and instead rely on staff to provide their own mobile devices for work. If this is indeed the case, businesses will find it increasingly difficult to manage costs and processes if they are not doing so now.
Mobile consultancy Network Sourcing Advisors looked at the cost of introducing a BYOD programme which saw 600 workers opt in at a technology company. They were $300,000 over budget in the first year and saw expenses soar. Through their analysis of this firm’s implementation of the scheme, they found extensive abuse of the scheme by staff which resulted in the high costs.
For corporate environments there are a variety of elements involved in managing a mobile workforce which include establishing data limits and voice policies, working out who pays for what, and agreeing which applications can be accessed on devices. Adoption of an expense management solution is key to ensure costs for all of this stay at an optimal level.
With this in mind, businesses should consider doing the following:
Expense manage your corporate fleet
Businesses should review bills and ensure the appropriate bolts ons and tariffs are in place. This can help highlight which employees are using too much of the allotted allowance and help businesses ascertain which members of staff need a corporate funded device and which can supply their own as part of a BYOD scheme.
Deploy policies on approved business apps and messages centrally
The best way for organisations to do this is to create a black list and white list for content to ensure mobile data allowance is used for work purposes only. This will enable businesses to prevent employees downloading costly, unsecure apps for personal use. Given that different members of staff will have different work related priorities, this solution allows base restriction on user groups allowing senior members to have different permissions, only allowing secure controlled access to corporate apps as necessary.
Restrict by call type or even individual numbers
This is something every business should do. A message to remind users that calling certain numbers can cost more from a mobile and to use a landline instead is a great way to remind them to be cautious of costs. Adopting an expense management solution can help change employee behaviour by introducing a cost saving work ethic. This will help employees realise that the business will only cover work related usage and can help stop any misuse.
Reduce unnecessary expenditure
Setting data usage limits in line with a user’s plan allowance, where a warning message can be sent when the limit is close to being reached, prevents data bill shocks at the end of the month and expensive picture messaging can also be blocked. Giving access to corporate apps plus have access to a landline extension over Wi-Fi to call via the device also helps keep costs at a minimum.
Ensure devices are secure and easy to manage
Although mobile solutions require strict security, it is vital to stay on top of costs to avoid the solution becoming a problem. Logging into company portals via an expense management platform gives management the opportunity to monitor each individual device in line with the data limit set. Businesses can monitor usage by scheduling reports to be sent directly to any set inbox, or, run ad hoc reports to keep track of the usage of company data. Monitoring tools can be narrowed down further, if required, to monitor the data usage per application to ensure employees are using company data in the correct way. This helps businesses enforce clear policies on what can be claimed, this is particularly useful for the expense management of non-corporate owned devices.
Deploy secure Wi-Fi credentials
For devices that connect to Wi-Fi when in a corporate building, set credentials help staff avoid using mobile data allowance unnecessarily. The additional security this offers also enables devices to be locked or wiped remotely in the event of loss or theft.
With companies increasingly offering mobile solutions for staff, expense management is essential to prevent inappropriate and unnecessary use. As the examples I’ve highlighted above show, leaving a BYOD scheme or corporate funded device without monitoring can be highly ineffective and costly. By monitoring costs businesses can use the money saved on the corporate fleet to fund BYOD, mobilising securely a much greater proportion of the workforce. According to a study conducted by Cisco, businesses can gain 4 more hours a week from staff by allowing them the freedom and flexibility to work as and when they choose via BYOD. By taking control and closely managing costs from day one, businesses can reap the full benefits of mobile solutions.