Closer management of wireless services to save companies money

Through 2014, 80% of Fortune 1000 companies will have moved from individual plans and liability to corporate liability and pooling for voice and data, according to Gartner.

As companies increase their spending on wireless and adopt ever more sophisticated mobile devices, managing service costs, security and procurement has become critical. However, Gartner analysts said that many companies still do not have thorough wireless usage policies.

“Policies are a crucial way of managing complex services,” said Phil Redman, research vice president at Gartner. “Through 2015, closer management of wireless services can save companies 10% to 35% of their wireless costs.”

According to Redman, the problem exists because wireless telephony services were originally brought into many organisations through the back door — pushed by individual users or lines of business. He said that compared to so many other aspects of IT, many organisations simply don’t have adequate internal adoption, usage or management policies directed at cellular services.

Gartner advises organisations to look across IT for its wireless policy, rather than limiting it just to the networking or telecom group, because wireless encompasses many different areas in the company, from IT to finance (procurement), and goes across many lines of business and technologies. A wireless solution should impact the security group, servers and messaging, application development, asset management, hardware, networking, and possibly other areas of IT.

“A good method to ensure a strong policy is to incorporate a centralised team across IT that will be impacted by mobile and wireless decisions. This team can strategise for the strongest and widest policy,” Redman said. “However, wireless policies don’t have to be large documents. Often the best, most read and most widely adopted policies are brief and to the point.”

Another best practice to follow is making sure the policies are delivered from the top down. Senior management should approve and enforce the wireless policy. Policy should also be built into enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and it should become part of the onboarding/off-boarding process.