There may be no expense line item more poised to initiate Sarbanes Oxley material weakness and deficiency headaches than the Information Technology mobility expense line item. As companies struggle to cope with evolving technologies, escalating mobile device costs, perpetual employment fluctuations and a constant need to reduce operational expenses, they are justified in wondering if there is any hope in finding adequate ways to control mobility administration and cost. There are means of bringing order to the chaotic world of mobile cost management with the right systematic approach, managerial priorities and applied automated capabilities. Having spent 15 years developing and deploying state-of-the-art mobile expense management solutions, MobilSense has found success in delivering Best-in-Class results to our clients including industry-leading cost-per-device metrics. A best practice discipline should include the following four components:
The most effective path to prevent overpayment for mobile carrier services starts with a carefully negotiated contract. Attempting to negotiate without current knowledge of a range of contract offerings and terms is a sure way to end up with terms favoring the carrier.
Secondly, it is certain that if discipline is not applied monthly around carrier performance obligations, including monthly optimization and invoice validation, companies will pay more to their carriers than required. Significant knowledge of carrier rate plans and the latest plan offerings, along with technology to consistently execute optimization algorithms is necessary to maintain a monthly invoice level that doesn’t make undeserved contributions to your mobile vendors’ profits.
Setting, monitoring and enforcing a corporate mobile policy is the cornerstone of a successful mobility program. Without a policy, companies are sending a message to employees it is up to them to determine how they use their mobile devices. Further, employees will quickly discern a policy has no teeth or enforcement mechanisms if there aren’t checks and balances in place to spot out-of-policy usage. Unfortunately, identifying fraud, abuse, waste and mismanagement is often not the focus of current expense management solutions because they assume employee usage as a given when attempting invoice optimization.
Companies that use informal and non-structured workflow procedures for ordering devices, accessories and plan features are not just suffering from costly operational processes but they are opening unintended doors to abuse and even fraud. The best practice in the provisioning space is to have a workflow engine that ensures employees are only ordering sanctioned devices and features with the appropriate management approvals. A provisioning solution must be able to identify upgrade eligibility, enable the reuse of zero use service lines, as well as provide end users the ability to set on and off date parameters for international features needed when traveling.
Accurate cost allocation of mobile costs requires up-to-date knowledge of which individual or organization owns each billing mobile device, including correct cost center coding. Due to the transitory nature of a today’s mobile devices, keeping track of an organization’s mobile inventory can present tremendous challenges when tracking employee mobile ownership and evaluating the need for termination of zero use devices. Because organizations are experiencing constant employee movement including adding and terminating employees as well as employee job reassignments, the lack of adequate automation and integration of systems makes effective tracking of mobile assets assigned by employee and cost center a constant challenge. This task can only be accomplished with an effective process for integrating HR information with monthly invoices along with accurate records regarding each employee’s current asset.
Without taking a holistic approach to mobile cost management companies are at high risk of over investing on mobility solutions. It isn’t just about securing a mobile cost management vendor, but finding one that employs automation along with methods and processes to insure proper implementation of all possible Best-in-Class methodologies and contracts. Unfortunately, many mobile cost management vendors are stretched too thin to focus on more than the essentials of invoice payment, AP cost allocation and occasional rate optimization.