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Wireless Management: Own the Lines
Monday, May 19, 2008
Sorry for the loose reference to the 1979 Toto hit "Hold The Line". I'm thoroughly embarrassed and need a cleansing shower (but Simon Phillips is a pretty damn good drummer, and Steve Lukathor aint no slouch on the guitar. Sorry, it's the musician in me coming out).

What I'm getting at is if you (the corporate entity) want to have a successful wireless savings implementation, assuming you have implemented the recommendations in the previous posts, you need to have some kind of a corporate wireless policy. So many companies have no policy whatsoever and it hampers any effort to reign in the costs.

A lot of companies have a mix of devices they pay for on a monthly basis and devices they expense. Doing the expense report thing is a waste of money. When you go that route, there is usually a cap on the amount of money allowed to cover the cell bill. Oftentimes, that amount is taken for granted. I've seen allowances as high as $175. I know that sounds absurd, which it is, but it's the truth. With an allowance like that or even remotely near it, the user probably has a family share plan where their spouse and kids are getting covered with the corporate dollar. Plus, when you go with an allowance limit, most people signing off on it won't dig in to the bill to see what they are paying for as long as it doesn't eclipse the cap.

The way around this is to have corporate ownership of all lines. Have a corporate wireless policy that clearly states that all reimbursed usage that is paid for by the company is owned by the company. That means whenever a new user is added to the company wireless profile, that line is owned by the company. If any user leaves the company, the device stays there as well as any contacts achieved under the payroll.

Implementing this is tricky. Various providers have different methods of legally transferring ownership of phones and it can get cumbersome. One thing that helps blunt this problem is many people, when faced with losing ownership of their own line, will opt to have the company buy them a phone that they use for business and can keep their personal phone so their friends and family won't have to learn a new number to reach you at. Be sure the wireless policy clearly states this option is available to them. This may lead to a large upfront cost when implementing the policy, but it will more than make up for itself in savings. Plus, if you have a large enough number of phones to buy and get a new contract signed, you may be able to get all the phones for free anyhow.

Once you have ownership of all lines, you have control over the plans and can dictate who gets what in terms of Blackberries, air cards, features, etc. There is a big savings potential with those costs. Also, you get consolidated billing. Rather than having to write 100 expense checks for wireless usage, you'll get one invoice per provider.

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posted by Jazzy Sourcer @ 2:52 PM  
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