Mobile rate plan optimization is focused on the same objective as traditional telecom expense management (TEM) rate plan optimization, namely, to optimize the choice of telecommunications carriers and the array of services and plans utilized for the enterprise. In this case, the scope is limited to the effective management of mobile communications expenses, as opposed to all telecommunications expenses.
Mobile rate plan optimization service support may be a part of a more comprehensive managed mobility services (MMS) program, which is generally offered by third-party providers like Tellennium.
Or it may be conducted as part of what is referred to as mobile expense management (MEM), which may or may not entail third-party mobility support but is still focused on effectively managing mobility operations and, very importantly, these related expenses.
Rate plan optimization can often be one of the biggest drivers of savings for enterprise expense management teams and therefore worth considering devoting attention to, especially if you are unsure of how your organization is fairing in this regard.
We believe that most enterprise expense management teams would benefit from the technological and industry subject-matter expertise that third-party TEM/MMS providers can provide for mobile rate plan optimization.
The above said, your organization may not yet be able to partner with outside TEM/MMS support for any number of reasons, so please keep the following in mind if you are solely employing your internal expense management team for the task of mobile rate plan optimization.
Here are key reasons why it’s important for any enterprise expense management organization wanting to keep tight control of its mobile communications expenses.
3 Reasons Why Mobile Rate Plan Optimization Is Important
1. Proactively evaluating mobility carriers impacts the bottom line
Like most purchases in life, you are going to have many options when it comes to carriers and their many offerings. There are many mobile carriers that will be offering a wide variety of devices and service plans.
And, not surprisingly, most will position themselves as the best option among many. Now, this may or may not be true, and therefore incumbent upon your expense management team to do the work and research to determine what makes the most sense for your organization.
For example, it may be critically important for your organization to have a certain type of phone under a certain type of service plan given your employee’s needs. It may cost a little more than others offered but it may be worth it given overall stipulations within the plan, such as volume discounting offered or other available desired features.
You will only truly know if this makes sense by fully knowing your employee’s needs as per role requirements. Moreover, you will also need to be highly attuned to your organizational financial constraints.
Being in full command of your organizational communications needs and financial constraints then positions your expense management team to properly evaluate the merits of one carrier over another, amongst the myriad of device and plan options they may offer.
And please remember that it’s likely best to avoid getting married to any specific carrier or a few carriers that your organization may be comfortable with. There’s nothing wrong with a long history of a carrier(s) that you believe you have served your organization well over time.
Just ensure that it is because they have served you well over time and that you are not simply making these selections out of default or some misplaced sense of loyalty. (We’ve seen it more times than you may imagine, and it almost always ends badly for enterprise customers.)
We have seen many incumbent mobile carriers take enterprise customers for granted and be less willing than they ought to offer competitively priced plans to their customers because they realize the pain of changing carriers and plans.
2. Proactively evaluating mobility services and plan options is important to your savings bottom line
This area is naturally closely related to our first bullet above. As noted, it’s critical that your expense management team be dialed into your employee’s communications needs, overall mobility program requirements, and financial constraints.
Once clear on these important items, your team is now able to go about the dirty work of evaluating all possible carriers, their mobile services, and corresponding plan options. Once the research is completed in this regard, you will be able to decide which carrier(s)and service offerings are needed to best serve your organization.
Now, it’s often tempting to believe that the lowest-priced carrier(s) are best, but we recommend taking a more deliberate and thoughtful approach. Of course, price matters but it means nothing if you receive poor service and support from these cheaper mobile carriers.
And this is why it’s so important to really do your homework. Selecting a carrier(s) that offers superior service and support at a little more cost is a tradeoff you want to make, especially if you’ve had poor experiences with certain carriers in the past.
Again, the expense portion of mobile rate plan optimization is important, but it should not be overly weighted to jeopardize the importance of sound operational and customer service support from your telecommunications carriers.
Over the long term, your organization saves money by getting both areas right. And in the expense management game, it’s not just about the present, it’s about the long game of ongoing and proactive mobile expense management.
3. The continual monitoring of employee usage is necessary to ensure proper mobile service alignment and maximize savings opportunities
As alluded to above, mobile rate plan optimization is an organic and ongoing game. It’s best to view this as a living entity.
It’s never “one and done,” as the saying goes. The enterprise expense management team must constantly monitor the usage of the entire user base. And this is for various reasons. At the highest level, it’s to ensure that original decisions that made sense still make sense.
There are many things that will continually change:
Employee usage: As a company and/or employee needs change, usage patterns will change and therefore it’s easy to become misaligned from the contract(s) under which services were originally placed (e.g., volume discounting provisions may no longer work or make sense).
In this case, your organization will want to decide on how best to adjust to keep mobility services as optimized as possible. For example, do we need to renegotiate with the relevant carrier(s) to rectify a situation that was not anticipated?
Or is the contract so near the end date, in which case we will be well prepared to negotiate more amenable terms or leave for a different carrier(s) and new service agreement?
It’s important to constantly monitor usage as relates to your existing carrier agreements because misalignment can happen quickly and become very costly over several months or years if not addressed. (This could be thousands if not millions of dollars over many months or years, especially for larger enterprises.)
Carrier changes: Mobile carriers will often change standard default practices (e.g., web portal access to reports or data), service guide pricing, or policies relating to how they conduct their business, which may or may not adversely affect your business relationship with them. Either way, your team needs to stay abreast of any changes in case they do impact your business relationship with them.
For example, your existing agreement with them may have provided a certain discount from their base or service guide offer. If they increase their base price for X service, then your cost has increased even though they are still technically honoring your agreement and applying the correct discount. (Telecom carriers – both fixed and mobile – are known for their “smoke and mirrors” or “shell games” and this is one of the primary reasons that TEM firms arose in the first place.)
Industry changes: The telecommunications industry is one that is highly regulated, with various governmental entities such as the FCC having great influence.
For example, the FCC will often make changes around taxes. Oftentimes, carriers may be slow to enforce new rules, in which case you will need your team to catch any errors, especially those which could be costly.
Closing Thoughts on Mobile Rate Plan Optimization
At the end of the day, mobile rate plan optimization is very important and easier said than done. But the good news is that it can be done with a little know-how and effort. It’s really all about the right mix of mobile carriers, services, and plans that properly aligns with the needs of your employees/company.
The main takeaway here is that when this is done well, the practice is organic, living, and proactive. You must beware of your current mobility situation but also have an eye towards tomorrow.
A well-run mobile rate plan optimization practice is one of the best drivers of operational excellence and savings for managed mobility services.
If you’d like to consider Tellennium in your TEM vendor comparisons, contact us to schedule a brief demo of our solution.
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