Identifying the culprits in mobile billing nightmares

Telecom expense management has become a scary pursuit for some following the proliferation of smartphones and tablets in the modern workplace. Constantly connected employees have already provided some rude awakenings for department heads tasked with opening the bill at the end of each month. To control corporate wireless spend before it gets out of control, companies need to recognize key pain points and respond with early intervention.

Corporate wireless reporting gets lost in the shuffle

For any mobile device management strategy to be effective, cohesion and communication will be key. Keeping responsibility and information siloed in one department or on one office can have a number of regrettable consequences. Unfortunately, some companies are still unclear how they should be keeping track of expenses in the era of mobility. In larger companies, the task can feel far too big to be addressed by just one executive, or even one team. But as the saying goes, if 10 people are in charge of a project, nobody is in charge of the project.

According to InfoWorld columnist Galen Gruman, this diffusion of responsibility is most often seen in exchanges between corporate financial officers and IT teams. While the CFO used to be in charge of keeping track of employees’ wireless usage habits, some have been offloading the entire process onto tech teams now that more MDM tools incorporate telecom expense management features.

Whatever the chosen strategy, all parties must be made explicitly aware of their responsibilities. What companies cannot afford is a rift between finance executives and IT decision-makers that allows for wireless reporting discrepancies and inconsistent governance that leaves workers without any proper guidance on best practices.

Well-traveled devices yield well-documented trouble

Even among companies that seem to have their MDM and TEM strategies in strict alignment, ready to handle any scenario, international roaming charges can create some jawdropping bills.

“The risk of roaming is becoming exponentially dangerous due to two variables: the proliferation of networks and the speed of these networks,” Tangoe’s Chris Mezzatesta explained in a recent advisory bulletin on behalf of the Telecom Expense Management Industry Association. “As 4G networks are rolled out across the globe, network download speeds are increasing to 42 megabits per second. When international roaming, the cost for data can be $50 and up per megabyte. A person can easily spend thousands of dollars downloading a single movie while on 4G international roaming network.”

Careless workers bring costly bills

Although it may seem comical to envision co-workers who wouldn’t think twice before downloading a movie for the iPad prior to their transatlantic flight, you’d be amazed at how many are doing exactly that each day. With that said, it falls to mobility managers to educate the rest of the workforce on the best practices they may be taking for granted.

Well-informed staff members are often the IT department most reliable – not to mention affordable – allies. However, robust technological solutions are still required to ensure adequate visibility and reliable policy enforcement.