This post was written by Neil Cohen, the Vice President of Marketing at Visage Mobile.
Research giant IDC predicts there will be 1.3 billion mobile workers — comprising 37 percent of the worldwide labor force — by 2015. Is your company ready for the deluge? Our research suggests it may not be.
The average worker carries three to four mobile devices to work and home again. Because any one of these devices is often used to do work on any given day, employees can incur all kinds of excess charges that they then expense to their company, including international roaming charges, subscription-based apps whose service can easily be had for free and monthly carrier fees. Visage Mobile research shows that an average company (of roughly 700 employees) wastes around $116,000 a year on mobility costs simply because it doesn't have the proper controls in place.
Basic Rules of the (Mobile Strategy) Road
It doesn't have to be that way. Creating a comprehensive mobile strategy isn't all that time-consuming or costly — and it provides a framework by which mobile workers can identify the right devices to use at work and the limits to which they can go with them without needlessly taxing IT resources. Here are five things to consider when creating an effective mobile strategy:
1. Take stock of users and devices.
Mobile is no longer a one-size-fits-all market, which means companies can no longer equip employees with the same phone and leave it at that. For all its promise, the rise of BYOD has made mobile management a lot trickier. The first step for any company is to determine exactly how many devices it is supporting and what are precise hardware needs of each department. Sales and marketing, for instance, probably needs more data roaming options since teams are often on the road. The finance team that sits at a desk day in and day out? Not so much. What's more, periodically do an inventory of all devices to identify which ones are "zombies": too often an employee leaves and either takes the device with her or she simply stashes it in a drawer, where it's forgotten.
2. Figure out exactly what you're paying for.
The average 700-employee company spends $805,000 annually on wireless service fees alone, according to our research. But simply adding up the "Total Amount Due" opens the door for a lot of wasteful spending. Say, for instance, the marketing department routinely exceeds its data limits, and incurs surcharges as a result. If the IT department is aware of this, it can recommend to the finance team that the marketing department have a bigger data plan. It's important for IT to understand what the usage is across departments, where excess charges are happening and to communicate that with the finance crew. In fact, it's important for each department to be aware of its mobile needs — and to communicate that appropriately. Buy-in across departments is critical.
3. Educate employees.
Putting a mobile policy in place is only the beginning. If employees aren't reminded of it, they'll simply ignore it. Be proactive about discussing the do's and don'ts of mobile use in the workplace by holding internal meetings or putting together online courses. The more educated employees are around mobile practices at the company, the more empowered they feel to implement the policies. Don’t be dictatorial with employees about what they can't do on their mobile devices. Manage them by engaging in an ongoing conversation.
4. Invest in analytics.
By gathering and analyzing data on, say, device usage across departments, companies can better spot wasteful spending, identify inefficiencies in their overall program, and ensure compliance with their mobile policies. BYOD companies, for instance, can use data to help identify personal use of device, and require the employee to shoulder that cost.
5. Keep an eye on the future.
Mobile needs to be a strategy, not a cost of doing business. As technology expands and the cloud becomes the storage space of choice for more work information, mobile will soon become the primary vehicle through which many companies do business. The mobile enterprise evolves constantly, so it's critical for companies to stay on top of the latest trends in must-have devices and software — and to adapt as needed.
Visage Mobile is a Concur App Center Partner. Visage Mobile specializes in helping businesses understand where and how money gets spent when it comes to mobile phones. With the Visage MXP plugin, automatically manage your employee's mobile expenses as easily as you manage their hotel, airfare, and other business expenses. Get their app in the Concur App Center.