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  1. #1 How Mobile Communications Costs Can Cripple Your Company 
    How Mobile Communications Costs Can Cripple Your Company

    Al Subbloie, 01.13.11, 02:29 PM EST
    And three steps to take to prevent it.

    When you look in your briefcase or at your desk, does an iPhone stare back at you? A Droid? Apple, Google and Microsoft aren't just bringing new devices to market; they're also setting new standards for how businesses communicate. That smart device staring up at you, multiply it by hundreds of thousands; it's taking a significant financial and security toll on most large enterprises. The rules of the game have changed, and businesses will need to play offense, not defense, to stay ahead.

    Most enterprise organizations today are playing defense when it comes to managing mobility costs. As a result, they are doing only a fair to poor job of tracking, managing and securing smartphone devices--and that is costing them millions. Much of that money disappears in a slow trickle that is hard to see in a glance at the books.

    Here's an example. My firm recently did an audit of a networking infrastructure technology company and found that four phones in Saudi Arabia were racking up charges of more than $12,000 a month. Just four phones. As is common, there was little transparency about who was using what device and where in the corporate network. Not only is that a major security issue, but such a lack of knowledge about the mobile workforce would leave any business vulnerable to runaway costs without ever knowing their source.

    How bad is it? Based on what I've seen and heard from fellow CEOs and business leaders, if organizations with more than 1,000 smartphones or smart devices in use do not enforce mobility audit and cost management strategies and solutions, they can be sure their mobile communications costs will rise sharply, and so will the risks associated with device and data losses.

    Why are enterprises in such trouble? Over the last two years we've seen corporate mobility shift from a primarily BlackBerry-centric market to one that encompasses a whole range of devices, operating systems and application platforms. The average worker now has more mobile choice and flexibility than ever before. But these devices are generating corporate costs at an exponential rate. First is the cost of the assets themselves. Device churn is very high; employees are acquiring a new device approximately every 18 months. This rapid turnover creates rapid replacement costs and raises questions about how to decommission and dispose of old hardware, which can also cost money. Being green takes green.

    The most serious issues, though, arise on the billing side. Each device may be tied to a rate plan, but also each device can rack up serious service charges, depending on how and where it is used. Significant billing overages, runaway application costs, and exorbitant international roaming fees are no longer a corporate rarity. Yet at many companies new devices are brought into the organization by individual users. This leaves enterprises forced to answer new questions such as how much of the costs of such devices they should cover, what limits should be set on their costs and what policies should be set to mitigate their costs.
    Interesting. We have a lot.

    Forbes
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Madisonian's Avatar
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    I know at Ford Motor, employees get a bare bones Verizon phone with a text plan but with no camera, no internet, email, video or anything else that add to the basic plan cost.
    International plans require VP level approval based on a verified business need.

    When I worked for a company years ago, all the service techs had wide open plans and some were racking up thousands per month in international personal calls.

    This is a serious concern for a lot of companies.
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  3. #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by Madisonian View Post
    I know at Ford Motor, employees get a bare bones Verizon phone with a text plan but with no camera, no internet, email, video or anything else that add to the basic plan cost.
    International plans require VP level approval based on a verified business need.

    When I worked for a company years ago, all the service techs had wide open plans and some were racking up thousands per month in international personal calls.

    This is a serious concern for a lot of companies.
    We have state-of-the-art phones because field people need to exchange data sets, photograph problems, and conference. I don't have one (dedicated), I just use one of the floaters when I need one.

    We track usage very carefully but you can't come down on everything. Some of these people are out for 2 weeks at a time.
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    Senior Member Madisonian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    We have state-of-the-art phones because field people need to exchange data sets, photograph problems, and conference. I don't have one (dedicated), I just use one of the floaters when I need one.

    We track usage very carefully but you can't come down on everything. Some of these people are out for 2 weeks at a time.
    Ford is using WebX and Netmeeting for most conferencing and data exchange for computer users and of course call in numbers to most conferences.
    Cameras and photographs present huge security concerns because of new product developments and assembly and machining techniques. Company laptops don't have CD or DVD burners (readers only) or built in web cams.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    We have state-of-the-art phones because field people need to exchange data sets, photograph problems, and conference. I don't have one (dedicated), I just use one of the floaters when I need one.

    We track usage very carefully but you can't come down on everything. Some of these people are out for 2 weeks at a time.
    Without knowing how much a similar corporation paid in hotel telephone charges and other replacement technologies, then it's really hard to quantify waste.

    I would also point out that many employees who have high end phones and plans are employees who don't punch the clock in the morning and the afternoon, and three times for breaks. Corporations have a habit of taking advantage of exempt employees, giving them perks to make them feel less abused, and then reigning in those perks as "waste" down the road.

    I've had employers who would call you at home and talk to you for an hour at night, and then act like an asshole about other time because it's between 9 and 5. Make up your mind, do you want an hourly employee or an exempt employee. You can't treat the same person as both.
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    Meanwhile, virtually no corporation in the US is making capacity use of telecommuting because petty little managers are afraid that if they can't walk around like school a school marm that it will become obvious that there is an unnecessary layer or two of management.

    Seriously, Megacorp has way too few indians per chief. I get a kick out of people who think private industry must be efficient because it's making oodles of money. Megacorp is making oodles of money because they are crooks with government connections. There is no reason why half or more of Megacorp's Tampa, Atlanta, and Dallas work force couldn't telecommute.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novaheart View Post
    Meanwhile, virtually no corporation in the US is making capacity use of telecommuting because petty little managers are afraid that if they can't walk around like school a school marm that it will become obvious that there is an unnecessary layer or two of management. .
    There is great value into having your team work in the same office. Even if the guy telecommunicating isn't a time thief, it is a hell of a lot less efficient.
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    I work in an IT company that has numerous on-call employees, and "smartphones" are a must so that we can have corporate email, corporate communicator chat, all sorts of stuff. Plus it's almost impossible to sort "private use" from legitimate corporate use when you have a few hundred employees who are issued wireless phones. You'd have to add many employees to sift through the bills and account for airtime, and the cost of those employees would likely outweigh the savings.

    Our wireless bills used to be a problem, but my company handled it smartly. We can buy any phone we want, go with any carrier we want, we get a $100 a month allowance for cell phones. Anyone in my company can find a plan that satisfies work needs for $100 a month, if you want extra you pay for it. I go with T-Mobile and have unlimited text and data, but a cap on peak time voice minutes, so the company pays for my work and personal cell phone use, plus the company has a fixed cost to work with.
    Last edited by malloc; 01-20-2011 at 06:01 AM.
    "In England a king hath little more to do than to make war and give away places; which in plain terms, is to impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears. A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hundred thousand sterling a year for, and worshipped into the bargain! Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived."
    —Thomas Paine, Common Sense
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    Quote Originally Posted by m00 View Post
    There is great value into having your team work in the same office. Even if the guy telecommunicating isn't a time thief, it is a hell of a lot less efficient.
    I disagree. I think it's less efficient:

    To pay people from the second they walk through the door to the second they leave, with telecommuting you can pay them for the time connected and track time for those who are paid salary. In the work place, the obsession with "lost time" , or to use Walmart terminology "time theft" is a waste unto itself. Yes, at Walmart where employees can and do punch in and then disappear for four hours, time theft is an issue. In an office, where employees must be paid simply for being there, time waste is an issue (and don't even talk about managers pissing away time with email and phone chats) . But in telecommuting, you can only pay for the time signed on.

    It's not right for every job, but it's right for more jobs than currently enjoy it. I would add that it seems to be happening from the top down. So the bosses and creative people obviously think that telecommuting makes sense for them, it's just the wage slaves who should continue to bear the rising cost of commuting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novaheart View Post

    To pay people from the second they walk through the door to the second they leave, with telecommuting you can pay them for the time connected and track time for those who are paid salary. In the work place, the obsession with "lost time" , or to use Walmart terminology "time theft" is a waste unto itself. Yes, at Walmart where employees can and do punch in and then disappear for four hours, time theft is an issue. In an office, where employees must be paid simply for being there, time waste is an issue (and don't even talk about managers pissing away time with email and phone chats) . But in telecommuting, you can only pay for the time signed on.
    I don't work at places that pay people for "being there." I work at places that pay people a salary to get the job done. Personally, I think when you are on a team there is no substitute for everyone being on location.
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