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★ The Politics of Mobility Management ★

Alison Logue Profile Picture


Director, Customer Success

People-pleasing. Job-protecting. Flying under the radar. These probably aren’t phrases you’d expect to use when describing mobility managers, yet these attributes are more prevalent than you’d think. It’s because difficult people and circumstances exist everywhere and even mobility management comes with its own share of office politics.

Today, we’re tackling creative ways to achieve savings amidst office politics, by addressing the difficult characters who may be blocking your progress. These are proven techniques used successfully by our customers.

★ The Spoiled Executive ★

Mobility managers tend to steer clear of execs, saying things like “They get whatever they want” or “I don’t want to get fired,” leaving unused devices and wasted spend on the books.

  • Let it be their idea. Summon up your courage and show the execs the cost of their unused devices. Do the math for them — multiply the monthly cost for the device times the “# of months zero total usage.” Don’t even tell them you’d like to cancel the device — just give them a friendly heads-up. Let it be their idea to disconnect service.
  • Give them better tools. Get rid of the monthly fees for a backup aircard and international plan, and replace it with a multi-purpose, pay-as-you-go device, like a Skyroam Global Mobile Hotspot. They can use a Skyroam device as a backup 4G hotspot domestically or as their primary data service internationally for $10 per day. You pay only when the device is used.

★ The “It’s Not My Job” Sayer ★

You see the savings potential, but it’s someone else’s responsibility to act on it — and you don’t want to step on their toes.

  • Communicate up. Perhaps you work in accounting. Your job is to make sure costs are allocated to the right bodies, and invoices get paid. Manipulating the services and driving down costs don’t impact your MBO. But deep down inside, you just know your company could be spending less. So, to you we say: make some noise with your upline! Tell your manager, or your manager’s manager. These folks should make sure the message gets to the right team in a politically correct fashion.
  • Foster a culture that values cost-savings and ingenuity. Managers, I’m talking to you. Offer incentives or recognition to employees who save the company money. Create a forum where employees can cross-pollinate other teams with fresh ideas. The “it’s not my job” excuse doesn’t last long in these environments.
  • Find out the real impact. In addition to “it’s not my job,” we often hear “I can’t disturb my end-users.” Not all cost-savings actions impact the end-user in a tangible way. If you act on Pooling Recommendations from MobilityCentral, for example, you’ll be swapping like-for-like plans and features. The module is specifically designed to leave mobile numbers with the same capabilities with which it started. Even if it’s “not your job, ” the user will never know a change took place, but you’ll know you just doubled down on some real savings. Like a ninja.

★ The Forgetful Traveler ★

Mobility managers often leave costly international packages on lines primarily out of fear and secondarily out of confusion: fear of surprise roaming overages, and confusion over how to best optimize elusive international roaming costs.

  • Conform to their process. Instead of trying to get users to conform to your process, try conforming to theirs. For example, a tool like International Travel Roaming Alerts notifies you any time one of your wireless users books an international trip. There’s no extra action required on the user’s part, and you know exactly who’s traveling, where, and when, with plenty of advance notice.
  • Use a safety net. The carrier world is slowly starting to offer reasonable pay-as-you-go solutions for international travel. Verizon launched TravelPass, a pay-as-you-go feature that allows users to extend their domestic plan allowances internationally, for an additional $2 per day in Canada or Mexico, or $10 per day in all other supported countries, only on days the device is actually used internationally. So, if you have unlimited voice on your domestic plan, you get unlimited voice internationally, for a small, predictable, per-day fee. And for the months when you don’t need it, you don’t pay. We hope other carriers will follow Verizon’s example!

★ The Disaster Recovery (DR) Expert ★

Disaster Recovery plans are akin to buying insurance. You don’t want to buy too much, or be stuck in a catastrophe with too little. It’s all too common for mobility managers to be told, “You can’t disconnect these lines because of Disaster Recovery.” And while this is valid, and all companies should have regularly-reviewed DR plans, the fact is needs change and DR inventory requires management.

  • Review the plan. Often, DR plans are communicated down like a game of telephone, on a need-to-know basis. By the time, they reach the mobility manager, the facts are a little fuzzy. Rather than go with the flow, seek out the actual DR plan (if one exists), and compare it to reality. Are you keeping too many devices active? Are you keeping old technology active, when newer (and possibly less expensive) technology could do the job? Are all backup assets present and accounted for?
  • Test, test, test. If DR devices are plaguing your Zero Total Use reports, it’s time to check with the owners of said devices to make sure they are being tested regularly. It’s important to note that not all methods of testing devices register usage with the carriers, so don’t necessarily expect to see them fall off zero use reports. But an inquiry about testing procedures is usually a good conversation starter towards re-evaluating what is truly necessary in the event of an emergency.

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