Transparency: The Cure for Bad Mobile Spend

Most executives feel the pain of paying too much for corporate wireless, but few know exactly how to stop the financial bleeding associated with it. To reduce mobility spend, companies and employees must have a good grasp on their current mobile environment. That work alone can be so daunting that companies generally pay bills without digging deeper, simply because they don’t have the time or the resources.


Why is managing mobile spend is such an arduous task? Let’s imagine a company has 1,000 employees spread across three regions and 30 cost centers. Each region has a different mix of carriers, and each cost center has a different budget and a different device stack.First you have to understand how many devices employees are carrying. Visage data shows the average employee carries 1.54 devices with them, up from 1.2 devices 18 months ago. Next, you have to understand if the company is paying for these devices up front or if employees are expensing them. And then you have to determine how much each device is costing you. Pretty complicated, right?



To further convolute things, no two carriers speak the same language. Not only do their messaging costs differ, but carriers call that messaging cost by totally different names, and prices can vary drastically based on things like negotiated rate or effective cost.



Back to our hypothetical enterprise. This company also has an overseas branch, which means it must also manage a handful of international rate plans. And let’s assume that about 25 percent of the employees are bringing their own devices and submitting their individual wireless bills for reimbursement.



We know better than anyone that achieving transparency — let alone long term cost savings and strategy — can be a difficult task when you’re dealing with this many intricacies. Companies that are committed to managing this cost, including many Visage customers, are able to save significant amounts of money from their recurring monthly bills — often upwards of $1 million annually, depending on the company size.



“Bad Spend” Culprits

There are a few huge, costly categories that are easy to solve once mobility managers understand they’re there, however. At Visage we have a term called “bad spend” that refers to controllable wireless costs that hide in a bill. These can be anything from 411 calls and app downloads (fun fact: about 10 percent of all corporate phone downloads are completely unrelated to work and 1 percent are adult in nature), to zero-use lines and tremendous overages. These are problems that can usually be solved with awareness. If employees know that they’re being checked for insouciant mobile usage, they’re going to stop. As I always say, “employees aren’t devious, they’re oblivious.”



Unnecessary international roaming charges constitute one particularly costly area of bad spend. Visage data shows that a typical user who travels internationally is four-times more expensive than an employee who doesn't. The average monthly phone bill for non-roamers is $76.30, but for those who have roaming features enabled, that figure jumps to $327.41. It’s not that international coverage is necessarily expensive, though. The extra costs pile up when international features for calling, messaging and data plans are left on when a user returns. At Visage, we offer International Travel Roaming Alerts, which let business travelers and their managers know when they need to adjust plans to accommodate work trips.



Another category of wireless spend that managers can better control are pools. Our data shows that the simple act of pooling all your minutes and data will lower your total spend dramatically. Even when companies are using only 43 percent of their pooled data (meaning 57 percent of it expires at the end of the month), their bill is 32 percent lower on average than if employees had individual plans.



At Visage, we're incredibly nerdy when it comes to making all this disparate data make sense. Now that Visage’s data can be surfaced in Concur, visibility into all that wireless spend becomes seamless to automate and manage. Our technology aggregates and normalizes all of your billing information and presents your wireless commitment with incredibly insightful charts and analytics. In fact, we’re so good at it; we do it for free with our service VisagePulse. With VisagePulse, IT or finance managers simply input their carrier credentials into our system and voila! Out come trending charts, comparative analytics and even intelligent recommendations based on your company’s historical usage.



It’s easy to start monitoring your company’s mobile heartbeat. Sign-up for VisagePulse for free @ and check out VisageMobility and International Travel apps via the Concur App Center.



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