Tag Archives: mobile device management



Negotiate! Wireless carrier plans are more flexible than you think.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

We’ve been discussing 10 rules to help reduce your mobile costs.  Rule number six requires some serious negotiation skills.

negotiate your wireless carrier plans for the best rates

 

Rule #6 – Negotiate the Best Deal

Consolidating the wireless spends puts companies in the driver’s seat at contract time. If you are new to buying corporate plans, welcome to the world where everything is negotiable. Unlike single user plans where pre-made plans are the law, the world of pooled plans is a competitive market where telcos expect to negotiate. Wireless carrier plans are more flexible than you may think!

To get the best possible rates, assemble all your user profiles and numbers, and give your carriers a mini “RFP”. This doesn’t have to be a formal, drawn out document. What’s important is having a rough idea of the number and type of devices, the various categories of airtime and data costs, and potential roaming charges.

The fine print can be as important as the price, and companies should be firm about their needs. Some companies need the flexibility to drop users from the plan without penalty. Others might need a price guarantee for an extended period of time.

Present your RFP to several vendors, and let them know they have compe­tition. You will be surprised at the difference between that and your “old” system – carriers will often discount below their pooled plan rates to get your business.

 

If you would like help reducing your wireless costs, or would like advice on how to better negotiate your wireless contracts, please contact Avema for a free consultation.


Think Before You Buy: Procure Wireless Devices Rationally

Thursday, November 27, 2014

We’ve been discussing 10 rules to help reduce your mobile costs.  Rule number five may seem pretty obvious, but then again, every employee wouldn’t mind a shiny new device.

 

 

wireless devices

 

Rule #5 – Procure Wireless Devices Rationally

Procuring wireless devices can certainly be interesting.  Weighing the pros and cons of different devices and plans is not a task to be taken lightly.  When a company procures office equipment, such as printers, computers, or office furniture, a rational cost/benefit process is undertaken.

However, when it comes to wireless devices, all caution seems to go out the window. Bells and whistles mysteriously become “must haves”. Suddenly, Joe from accounting who never travels has a critical need for an iPhone with an unlimited data plan.  Since a wireless phone is such a personal piece of equipment, and used often not just for work, employees are eager to have the latest and greatest edition.

The best approach to take in procuring wireless devices for your employees is to establish several “standard issue” devices that are ordered by the purchasing department and assigned based on usage profile. The key is to make sure these are economical yet provide the full functionality required – falling short will lead to frustration and rogue spending.

As with many other products, the device that’s best suited for a particular employee need may not be the “coolest” or the most widely advertised. If some employees are particularly distressed with their choices, you can explore upgrade options with a possible cost attached.  Exercising restraint may disappoint some, but the company’s bottom line will be grateful.

 

If you would like help reducing your wireless costs, or would like advice on how to better negotiate your wireless contracts, please contact Avema for a free consultation.


Make the move to corporate-liable devices

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

 

Have you completed rule number one of the 10 essential rules for reducing wireless expenses?

 

 

Then it’s time to address rule number two.

 

reduce wireless expenses by moving to corporate-liable devices

Rule #2 – Move to Corporate-Liable Devices 

To centralize the wireless spend, all wireless devices used in the business should be company-owned. This step not only enables the cost benefits of pooled plans, but improves oversight and control in several areas:

    • Corporate-owned devices can be standardized and electronically monitored. This gives managers the ability to enforce user policies, and as well, implement appropriate security. An unmonitored device is equivalent to a stray key to the corporate network, and could be carrying sensitive information as well.
    • Employees feel that when they own the device, it is their right to use it as they please. It is hard to govern the use of something that your company does not own.
    • Centralizing the purchase of devices allows companies to gather data on costs and features, and determine what best serves the business.
    • From a commercial standpoint, it’s important for the company to own all phone numbers that are being used to contact the company. Otherwise, when an employee leaves the company, so might the phone number that was a customer’s only point of contact.

 

If you would like help reducing your wireless costs, or would like advice on how to better negotiate your wireless contracts, please contact Avema for a free consultation.


How moving to pooled plans can reduce mobile expenses

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

So what are the 10 essential rules for reducing wireless expenses?  Let’s start with rule number one.

Moving to pooled plans can significantly reduce mobile expenses

Rule #1 – Move to Pooled Plans

Industry studies have shown that savings from this single step can reduce mobile expenses by 40% or more, and this has been the case with many of Avema’s customers. With a pooled plan, employees draw from a common airtime allotment. Usage is reported on a single invoice which is broken down by device.

Pooled plans cost less, and open the door to other additional savings. For example, with a central plan, it is much easier to monitor usage, allowing managers to set limits, not to mention keep track of spending for budgeting purposes.

Receiving a single invoice from your mobile carrier can significantly lower administrative costs, and reduce the time spent on invoice processing.  Without needing to wade through multiple invoices, accounting can focus their time on other issues.

By consolidating mobile expenses with one carrier, companies are in a stronger position to negotiate lower rates, and choose plans that best suit the business.  This is one key way to reduce mobile expenses.

There is one provision – to get to pooled plans, you have to follow Rule #2.  Follow our blog to find out more.

 

If you would like help reducing your wireless costs, or would like advice on how to better negotiate your wireless contracts, please contact Avema for a free consultation.


Tips for Pooling Enterprise Mobile Service Plans

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
 Pooling enterprise mobile services can help reduce your spending

Enterprise mobile services eat up a lot of an organization’s telecom budget.  For large companies, pooling your voice, text and data is the best way to manage your account, and drive down your expenses.

How Mobile Pooling Works

Pooling works in one of two ways.  Either you’re paying a certain amount for a block of minutes, gigabytes or text messages, from which each user on the account can draw from, or each user has an individual plan which gets combined to create a pool. Local voice and local data are the most commonly pooled usage types, but you can find others depending on your carrier, such as: US data pools, long distance pools, and international text messaging pools, just to name a few.

Splitting a Pool Between Users

If you’re paying for a block of usage, one of the potential pitfalls is that the full charge will sometimes be applied to one phone on the invoice. Obviously one user should not be expected to pay for an entire pool, so you will need to have some process in place to split that charge evenly across the entire account. Your wireless carrier may not do this, so it will likely need to be done manually.

This is where a wireless expense management (WEM) platform can really help your organization. By being able to track usage by volume and type, and by user, costs can be properly allocated between departments within an organization.  It will also eliminate the manual labour of calculating percentages between users, as a good WEM platform can be set up to manage this for you.  This means that the person who goes over the pool does not shoulder the excess charges singly, but it is rather split proportionately between users.

If you would like to discuss how you can better track your enterprise mobile services, contact Avema for a free consultation.

10 Tips to Help Business Combat Wireless Costs

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cell phone usage within the corporation has increased significantly over the last ten years, yet few companies have implemented wireless spend policies and are struggling with how to manage this growing workload.  Wireless costs can be difficult to control partly because service providers have a confusing range of usage plans, with many bills arriving in paper form to various corporate destinations and this can make it difficult for a company just to grasp how much they spend.

Combat wireless costs with these ten tips.

 
In May 2002, Gartner Research estimated that the average enterprise overpays telecom bills by 5-10%.  Another issue in many companies is that no particular department has ownership of wireless, with oversight shared by Information Technology, Purchasing, and Telecommunications departments.  Also, companies are providing cell phones to employees who may not have a business need for them, and are failing to set and enforce policies on how they are used. Often, people use them for personal calls, and the result has been ballooning expenses in this area.  
 
Below, we have outline some tips on how to combat mobile costs in your business: 

  1. If you have multiple vendors, consolidate them to as few as possible.  Having more volume with one vendor will get you better pricing.
  2. Because there are many different price plans available for large organizations, investigate the various options available.  This may include pooled plans where multiple users share a number of minutes, or individual price plans based on how much each user spends.
  3. Arrange with your carriers to consolidate bills for wireless devices.  In larger companies, it is helpful to get this billing electronically so that you can better analyze the data.
  4. When an employee leaves a company, immediately cancel or transfer their company-provided cell phone package to avoid ongoing monthly charges.
  5. Develop and adhere to firm policies.  Allocate budgets according to the job functions of your employees, and expected usage.
  6. Monitor these policies, and have a way to enforce them.  Be particularly aware of excessive personal use.
  7. Consider having employees reimburse the company for personal calls.
  8. Standardize ordering hardware and features so that you’re only paying for business functionality, not bells and whistles.
  9. Watch out for frivolous new pay services like ring tones and games that can be downloaded by employees.
  10. Make sure that employees and their supervisors see their wireless bills each month, so that they are aware of the costs.

With the growing use of other wireless devices, including Personal Digital Assistants and mobile computing with full Internet access, companies risk losing control of these costs as well, unless spending and usage policies are put in place.  Larger companies can benefit from telecom cost reviews done by an independent third party and implementing software to manage these expenses.

 

If you would like help reducing your wireless costs, or would like advice on how to better negotiate your wireless contracts, please contact Avema for a free consultation.


What to Consider When Choosing Wireless Plans

Monday, September 8, 2014

While it is important to keep your telecom pricing as simple as possible, this can be even more important when dealing with pricing for wireless services.  With volume wireless plans, there are currently several pricing schemes available including individual price plans for each user, pooled pricing, and flat rate pricing.   

As we already discussed in our previous posts, consolidating vendorselectronic billing, and negotiating vendor contracts can drive down costs.   Once you’ve addressed simplifying your wired and data contracts, you can turn your sights to your wireless pricing. By keeping the pricing as simple as possible, it will be easier to manage costs and handle invoice processing.  

mobile expense management software can help you more effectively manage wireless plans

Types of Wireless Plans

Individual wireless plans mean that in order to maximize your savings, you will need to choose the lowest cost plan for each of your users, depending on their habitual usage. If you opt to go with individual price plans, it will mean that you have to keep an eye on changing usage patterns and continuously adjusting these plans, which can be a lot of administration.  For our clients who have opted for this route, they have found that they can best manage the process by implementing mobile expense management software. Otherwise, this approach requires a lot of hands-on, administrative work, ultimately impacting productivity.  

Pooled wireless plans mean that you can have several users all sharing a “pool” of minutes. This is beneficial because there is no pressing need to worry about constantly monitoring and changing users’ plans. However, even with this scenario, it is still important to monitor your overall usage and adjust the pool as necessary, especially if you have users who are monopolizing the pool.  Mobile expense management software can help you properly allocate costs between departments based on a user’s amount of pool usage. 

Flat rate wireless plans are more common outside of the USA, where a monthly fee is charged for each user, and then a flat rate per minute is charged for usage. This makes monitoring wireless usage much simpler, and decreases the need to constantly review and/or change plans. 

There is not necessarily a “best solution” out of these options for everyone. The optimum pricing structure really depends on your organization’s usage patterns. For example, trying to optimize price plans for each individual user may be a losing proposition if your users’ spending patterns fluctuate dramatically from month to month because you will always be a step behind. On the other hand, if some users in your organization regularly use large volumes of off-peak minutes, setting them up with individual plans that include unlimited off-peak minutes may save you enormous amounts.

Roaming and long distance are also items to consider when you analyze which pricing structure works best for you. Pooled and flat rate pricing tend to be priced a bit higher, but it may be worth paying if it saves you administrative costs required to manage plans. It also may cost less in the long run, depending on your usage patterns.

We’ve found that some of our clients have been successful with using one pricing structure for some of their users, and another pricing structure, or even another vendor altogether, for another group of users that have different calling patterns. For example, you may have the majority of your users in a pool to reduce costs.  But for some heavy-duty users, or for people who travel extensively and incur roaming costs, you might want to optimize those users’ plans individually. 

Ultimately, you will still need to do your homework to determine which pricing structure works best for your organization by analyzing usage patterns and volumes.  Your goal should be to keep it as simple as possible in order to make managing costs easier.  

 

If you would like help analyzing your usage patterns in order to determine which pricing structure is best for you, please contact Avema for a free consultation.  

 


How Electronic Billing Can Help You Reduce Costs

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Electronic Billing

Another useful method of gathering data to analyze spending and usage patterns is to get your billing electronically whenever possible. Having consolidated your vendors will also help here, as each one has their own unique billing format. Some vendors have multiple electronic billing formats, particularly those that have been amalgamated from numerous smaller companies over the years.

reduce vendor charges with electronic billing

We mentioned in our previous post how important it is to consolidate vendors.  Once you have completed that step, electronic billing can significantly impact how you manage your telecom charges.

Typically, vendors provide their own proprietary software to analyze the billing data, so more vendors means more electronic billing portals to work with.  Another good reason for vendor consolidation is to minimize the number of electronic billing formats that you need to work with.  If you still need to work with more than one vendor (and therefore more than one billing portal), then a telecom expense management platform may be your best solution.  This will enable you to view all your invoices, from multiple vendors, all in one place.

Some carriers are charging customers for electronic billing, which may seem counter-intuitive, especially since carriers reduce their costs by providing electronic billing instead of paper. Use this to your advantage to negotiate. If you spend more than even a few hundred dollars per month with any carrier, you should be able to get them to waive the fee for electronic bills.

Unfortunately, some smaller regional vendors may not be able to supply billing in electronic formats, so you may still be stuck with some paper.  A sophisticated telecom expense management platform may come in handy here too, as they will likely have encountered this situation previously and designed a way to electronically import paper invoices.

 

If you would like help on how to best take advantage of electronic billing, or to evaluate an effective telecom expense management platform, please contact Avema for a free consultation.

 


Do Your Homework to Help Reduce Vendor Charges

Monday, August 25, 2014

We recently discussed what can go wrong if telecom costs aren’t managed, highlighting a very public case that happened in the mid-00s.  We’d like to provide you with some tips on how to reduce your vendor charges.  Even if you may have already reduced costs significantly, there may still be room for improvement.   

 do your homework to help in reducing vendor charges

Gather Information And Do Your Homework

Consolidate Vendors and Invoices

The fewer vendors that you have, the easier it is to manage them, not to mention also managing your billing.  If you can commit to more volume with fewer vendors, you can almost always get better pricing. The first thing to do when your organization grows, or mergers or acquires another, is to reduce the number of vendors as much as possible. 

Reducing the number of billing accounts will help in processing and auditing your invoices. It also makes it easier to calculate total volumes to give you more leverage in negotiations, ultimately reducing vendor charges.

If your organization has multiple divisions or sites, make sure that all the telecommunications invoices come to the same place, and that contracts are all handled centrally. It may still be important that various parts of the company receive data on their telecom usage, but having all the information come in to one place can have a large effect on cost management. You can still get the telecom usage information out to your various departments afterwards.

 

If you would like help on how to best consolidate your vendors, or advice on negotiation strategies, please contact Avema for a free consultation.


5 MDM Selection and Implementation Mistakes

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

mdm selection and implementation

We’ve helped over 100 companies with MDM selection and implementation, and here are the most common challenges that we’ve seen.

Policies that don’t balance all stakeholder needs 

Security is important to the company, but so is user experience. Is it possible to be too secure? The answer is yes, if you don’t take into consideration end users and their desire for ease of use with their devices. You could implement policies that make using a mobile device so onerous that people actually become less productive. On the flip side, you could give up too much control to your end users. Balance is the key.

Viewing MDM software as commodity

Because there are limitations on MDM functionality that are imposed by operating systems, it’s common to think that most MDM software have the same basic set of tools. But there are vast differences in how these tools are used amongst the software vendors. For example, most MDM software can allow an administrator to enable or disable WiFi or a VPN application. But one may use data from Active Directory to automatically change these settings when an employee moves from one group to another.

Believing the hype

Mobile management software is a relatively new category, with many competitors vying for attention and dollars. Unless you’re new to IT, you’ve probably experienced vendors who embellish on what they can deliver. It’s important to itemize the most important features that you need, and do a pilot where you can evaluate them. A partner that works with several major MDM providers can provide unbiased advice, saving you time in evaluations. Here’s where I insert a shameless plug – Avema has helped over 100 companies to evaluate and install MDM software. Ask us any questions you may have.

Buying mismatched software for your IT environment

Similar to ensuring that the MDM features that you need actually work the way you expect, it’s also important to make sure that the hardware that you’re planning for works with the software that you’re buying. Some MDM features may work “for Android,” but only on certain versions.

For example, if you’re planning to use remote support functionality, different MDM providers do this in different ways, and it won’t be consistent between different versions of Android. Some devices allow remote viewing of the screen but not remote input. Others allow for both. Salespeople may either not know the specifics, or may embellish, knowing that more functionality is being added in future releases.

MDM in the cloud?

Cloud is a popular topic today, and it’s an important decision point for MDM software. MDM usually works with other types of software, such as email or directory services, so it will work better if it matches best to your environment. For example, if all of your other services are on your own servers, MDM is probably not your best choice for your first cloud service. Also, cloud-based MDM often lacks some features compared to the traditional licensing model.

If you would like help selecting the right MDM tool for your enterprise, Avema can help.  Contact us here.