wireless expense managementThe complexity of managing all the wireless accounts a large business possesses and the workload it creates is tremendous.  Managing all the bills and charges, the devices, all the possible minute and data plans and different permissions would require a number of full time employees.  An executive attempting to make a name for him or herself, who didn’t know any better, might suggest that the company turn to a more manageable wireless strategy, one where each employee was provided with a monthly allowance to offset the cost of subscribing to a wireless phone plan.

At first thought the monthly stipend method seems like the perfect way to reduce costs and headaches, require fewer people to manage and everyone walks away happy.  However, this corporate wireless expense management solution is typically not successful for the following reasons:

  • Employees still require support: Despite the arrangement of a company providing each employee with a cell stipend and being left out of further cell phone issues, this ends up not being the case, especially with executive level employees.  Typically when an organization goes to this model, they reduce support staff but employees still require support.  Executives refuse to spend time working through their own cell issues and lean on a depleted support staff.
  • When companies don’t own the phones they don’t own the phone numbers: This is especially an issue when you are dealing with a company’s sales force.  If employees are purchasing their own cell phones and giving those numbers to customers, what happens if the employee leaves the company or is terminated?  Will the organization lose the employees’ customers as well?
  • Trouble supporting many different phone models: When employees purchase their own phones, the selection is almost limitless.  It would be very difficult for a company’s wireless support staff to possess the expertise to manage all the different phones that employees might purchase.
  • Large companies possess purchasing power: Companies that purchase cell phones for their employees can negotiate better rates, from providers like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, and pool their employees’ minutes.  On net calls are typically free.  Many times it’s less expensive to supply wireless phones than to furnish employees with a stipend.
  • More security: If a company owns the phones they can wipe them if an employee leaves or a phone is replaced.  Wiping a wireless phone helps prevent sensitive company information from being lost or ending up in the wrong hands.
  • More control: If a company provides wireless phones to their employees they can dictate terms of use.  Companies can set policies that restrict use of wireless phones in vehicles; they can monitor text messages and emails and restrict access to certain websites and phone apps.

When you look at all the factors, it seems obvious that the company owned approach, when it comes to cell phone use, is the way to go.  Companies can improve security, dictate use, control the phone numbers, negotiate with the wireless providers to control costs and since they’re still going to have to support employee owned phones, they can simplify the process.  Any company considering the stipend model should consider all these factors before implementing such a plan.

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