Most businesses overspending on mobile, says Gartner

Following on neatly from our recent mobile cost control post, analyst firm Gartner said that 80% of enterprises will overspend on wireless service costs by an average of 15% in the period to 2014, noting "companies need to become better at managing their mobile voice and data costs".

The fact that four-out-of-five businesses will overspend comes as something of a concern, especially in an economic climate where cost control is a core focus. This research claims that businesses are effectively throwing away money by not managing mobile spend effectively. And mobile in business is not a new thing, meaning that corporates should already have policies in place to manage what is both a crucial business enabler and significant cost generator.

Many of the issues highlighted by Gartner are familiar rather than surprising, meaning that there are products and services available to help businesses address them. But the fact that these still need to be highlighted perhaps indicates that businesses still have not fully embraced mobility as part of their core ICT strategy - meaning that productivity benefits may also be missed.

While the majority of companies have moved away from buying individual plans, which were deemed "least efficient in reducing costs", Gartner noted that newer services such as pooling plans, flat-rate plans, and zero-minute phones all need to be carefully evaluated to ensure that they offer maximum value across the organisation. The analyst also said that corporate plans allow for better control of costs through the optimisation of wireless services and corporate discounts.

Despite efforts by bodies such as the EU designed to reduce mobile roaming costs, this still represents a significant issue for corporates. Unfortunately, there is no "magic" solution to this issue beyond reducing the number of users who travel, reducing the minutes used and making users aware of the costs - not all of which are viable for businesses. Data roaming is also a significant (and growing) issue, with Gartner recommending that ad-hoc use is barred, and that enterprises negotiate with operators for bundled allowances.

Active management of devices has also been deemed important to organise services and control expenses. The two main areas Gartner has identified are policy control, to eliminate undesirable practices and promote compliance across the organisation, and the use of outsourced telecom expense management (TEM) services.

Finally, some companies have turned to fixed-mobile convergence to integrate mobile phones, which Gartner said can deliver least-cost routing and enable enterprise communications to be extended to users on the move. This has been discussed recently in Enterprise Briefing.
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