Cutting telecom costs continues to sit as a top priority in most European and North American organizations. However, the proliferation of mobile devices poses numerous challenges when coping with telecom expense management (TEM). One such challenge I increasingly hear about during client inquiries is the difficulty in maintaining accurate, validated, and current inventories of company mobile devices.

It seems the bigger the organization, the more it struggles with accuracy. Many have numerous devices they can neither locate nor account for who has it in possession. In some cases, former employees are still using corporate devices, and there’ve even been situations where new phones are issued to expatriated, or worse, deceased employees. Such inaccuracies are both scandalous and costly for the organization. For example, a large Fortune 500 retailer, after implementing a TEM solution, found 3,500 monthly cell phone bills of former employees still being paid, costing the company in excess of a million dollars per year.

A recent briefing with Telesoft, a Nordic TEM provider, offered a rather simple means of getting a spot inventory of your organization’s mobile devices. Using a series of three mass text messages sent over a 3 week period, organizations can instruct users to respond with information that would identify themselves as an employee:

  • The first text message is sent requesting users respond with their employee number.
  • Those not responding to the first message are sent a second message requesting that the user respond with their email address.
  • If the user does not respond to the first or second message, a third and final message, including a warning that the device would be shut off if the user does not respond to the text message with their corporate email address.

But of course, corporate mobile device environments are not static and portfolio changes are common. Any moves, additions, changes and disconnections (MACD) of service or devices should immediately be recorded online to keep the inventory up-to-date. And in addition to keeping up with mobile device inventory, organizations should look to optimize rate plans and pool minutes as well as set usage policies to curb abuses to better manage mobile telecom spend.

Rather than attempting to manage this in-house, I often advise organizations reach out to TEM providers. See Forrester’s Market Overview: Telecom Expense Management and Q&A: The Value Of TEM Solutions In A Recssion for insight on additional market leaders and best practices in this space.