More than just a phone bill: the true cost of mobility lies in its management

Mobility management is more than just a phone bill

Telecom bills make up only 33% of mobility total cost of ownership (TCO). Yes, just 33%! Forrester states that asset and services management costs nearly 50% of mobility TCO. While your telco bill shows you some summary costs when it comes to mobility, the true cost is in fact much harder to see. It’s not just carrier charges that are costing you, it’s all of the hidden costs related to managing mobility that really add-up to a surprising balance. 

If you think of a bill as your ‘report card’ for the month. It shows you a tally of usages, costs and services which have been billed to your company. What the bill doesn’t show you is all the costs which occur around managing mobile and telecom costs. 

For most businesses, managing the mobility lifecycle and telecom expenses is a manual and time-consuming process, which also becomes complex in larger mobile fleets. Within management, there are daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that need to be done to keep the fleet running optimally. 

At Bluewater, we group these tasks into three main categories, each of which contains a number of hidden costs you may not be aware of. 

1. The operational cost of mobility management

Unfortunately for many businesses, managing the operational side of mobility is usually repetitive, manual and fragmented with multiple systems that don’t ‘talk’ to each other or across multiple departments, wasting time and money. 

Beginning at the procurement of hardware and services, aside from it being a time-consuming and repetitive process, it’s common for errors to be made, like selecting the wrong service, setting up incomplete business rules, incorrect approval choice or incorrect cost centre allocation. These poor procurement practices add up to billing queries, cost corrections and protracted investigations over months and years, which costs your business serious money. 

You’ll never see the process of recording, tracking or allocating mobile assets on your bill, yet companies spend a considerable amount of time and money trying to keep tabs on assets as well as optimising their use. So while the cost of the hardware itself will appear on a bill, the time wasted using disparate and fragmented systems and processes to track assets is where a lot of hidden costs lie. 

Also included in the operational management is the day-to-day support of the mobile fleet. Moves, additions and changes to services are usually time-consuming, especially when combined with multiple or disordered supplier systems, broken workflows and unwieldy reporting systems. Add this all together, and you see how much operational inefficiency can impact your bottom line. 

2. The cost of fleet optimisation

The cost of fleet optimisation is really the cost of NOT optimising your fleet! The simple fact is: If you’re not analysing usage at a granular user level, your business is going to be incurring hidden costs.   

Some of the common things you won’t see in your high-level analysis of the bill (which is the standard for most companies) are:  

Redundant services

Whether these services are linked to unused devices, employees who have left the company or simply were long forgotten due to lack of visibility, redundant services are costing your business money.  

Excess charges

Excess charges are very common and generally occur when there isn’t sufficient plan inclusions in place. Most typical is excess data and roaming charges.  

Billing errors or inconsistencies

This includes incorrect rates, being billed for a disconnected service or even metering errors where you’re charged for more usage than you’ve actually used. 

Premium charges

If the ability to use premium services has not been switched off during the procurement process, charges like those associated with gambling, competition voting or third party subscriptions can slip under the radar.  

Unauthorised one-off charges

For example, cancellation fees charged but not in line with the contract are far too common. Figuring out where this cost is from, that is if it’s even picked up, is a time consuming process of reverse engineering. 

Given the most common analysis performed on bills is checking against the last month’s bill and making sure it’s within an ‘acceptable’ variance level, it’s not surprising costs are slipping by unnoticed.  

Let’s say your company is analysing a little deeper than most, with telecom bills running into the hundreds of pages it’s likely, without the right tool, this process is extremely labour intensive and costs the business dearly in both employee resources and money. 

3. The cost of governance

As with bill analysis, reporting and bill allocation to users and cost centres are, in most cases, completed manually – typically slow and prone to human error. Although usually inefficient, this process is crucial to ensure proper governance (visibility and accountability) of your business’s mobile assets, usage and spend.  

A company which does not report to this level might save time, but runs the high risk of bedding in further mobility management costs due to lack of accountability and ownership within the organisation. 

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