Wireless Services Follow-Up: Beyond Rate Plan Optimization More on what you should know to reduce your IT spend and staff burden
By Jack Mulligan, Partner, Provision Networks
In our previous blog posts, Wireless Services Optimization and Telehealth and Mobile Service Optimization, we discussed the substantial cost savings available with wireless service optimization. Many of you responded to those blogs with questions about other potential issues that should be considered as part of your overall wireless mobility strategy. In this blog, we’ll address a number of those questions along with a few that we typically ask when meeting with a new customer prospect. Our goal is to offer some general guidance about what to consider and factor into your wireless mobility strategy to achieve the best outcomes for your organization today and in the future.
Q – What is your company’s medium-to-long-term wireless strategy?
A – In addition to the aforementioned optimization service (assuming you have enough corporate liable devices), your key considerations here should include 5G, IoT applications and AR/VR.
As of this writing, 5G is not widely available for commercial use. However, you should be contemplating how it might benefit your organization down the road. A common use-case scenario for 5G is back-up and redundancy, for example. Begin thinking through these potential applications so you’re prepared to act once availability becomes more widespread.
Q – How does your organization use mobile devices and who owns them?
A – Keep in mind that each ownership model comes with pros and cons. BYOD environments, for example, can significantly reduce certain costs, but they also can also create additional challenges—particularly when it comes to security. BYOD devices do represent network endpoints, so companies that adopt or currently use this model need to be sure they have the right security measures in place to fully protect against potential risks, whether caused by device vulnerabilities or user behaviors.
Organizations that provide corporate-owned devices face a different set of challenges, which often requires a robust mobile device management (MDM) solution. Be sure to take a close look at Intune, a mobile device management (MDM) solution offered by Microsoft as a part of Office 365. If your organization is already an Office 365 user, Intune will likely be a great choice.
Corporate liability can be another big concern for organizations that provide company-owned devices and may even prompt some to consider switching to a BYOD model. Before doing so, however, companies should carefully consider whether moving device ownership to employees will increase or decrease corporate liability.
The answer isn’t as clear-cut as you may think. Be sure to factor in the following considerations around BYOD liability when determining the right answer for your organization:
- Defining the elements of baseline protection for enterprise data on BYOD devices
- Assessing liability for personal Web and app usage
- Assessing liability for usage onsite vs. offsite, and within work hours vs. outside work hour,
- Evaluating if reimbursement policy (partial vs full payment of service costs) impacts liability
- Quantifying the monitoring, enforcing and auditing costs of BYOD policy compliance
- Assessing the risk of accessing and damaging personal data; for example, if IT wipes a user’s personal data instead of just the corporate data
Q – What challenges do your Finance and IT groups face in managing remote workforces and mobile device security?
A – In addition to security, common challenges we see in corporate-owned device environments are departmental cost allocation, device procurement process(es), employee/user support and mobile device policy.
Mobile device policy should be fairly straightforward, but it’s critical to have a clear policy in place. Our team can assist your organization in crafting a policy if you don’t currently have one.
Cost allocation, procurement (as well as repair, replacement and end-of-life device management), and user support are all discussed under Device Logistics Management in our previous blogs, Wireless Services Optimization and Telehealth and Mobile Service Optimization.
Q – What applications are being used on devices? How are they accessed and how is data consumed?
A – The answers to these questions will give you a better understanding of your organization’s needed security protocols as well as initiatives to manage data usage.
Q – Who is responsible for handling mobility for the organization? If it’s a team, how many people are on it? What happens when an employee equipped with a corporate-owned device leaves the company?
A – Oftentimes, we find that multiple departments are involved in handling an organization’s wireless devices and applications, including IT, Finance, HR and even Marketing. In our experience, this kind of broad-based internal management is rarely cost effective. Instead, outsourcing these functions can help streamline decisions while saving time and money across your organization. (Again, you can read more on this subject under Device Logistics Management in our previous blogs, Wireless Services Optimization and Telehealth and Mobile Service Optimization.)
BYOD employers should be aware that, whether they rely on internal or outsourced management, when an employee leaves, they will lose all control of the mobile device. This includes calls from customers or other business-related contacts that may continue to dial that phone number.
Q – Are you contemplating any new mobility-related initiatives?
A – Be sure to consider any new initiatives, including IoT, in-building solutions, private LTE and other application developments, within the full framework of your corporate mobility strategy and existing infrastructure capabilities.
Q – How do you manage mobile device security and compliance policies?
A – There is no “one size fits all” answer to this question. As noted above, every user device with network access is an endpoint. Accordingly, every device should be subject to the same monitoring and controls as any other endpoint. Later in the year, we plan to feature a multi-part series on cybersecurity that will address this critical question in more depth while also sharing a variety of best practices for network security.
Q – What processes are in place to control mobility costs?
A – Although this is a fairly simple question, you’d be surprised how many organizations don’t take the time to ask it—or address it.
For every organization, we recommend focusing on four key areas of opportunity:
- Rate plan. Most organizations may be paying for more usage than they use or require. Learn how to get the most for your money by reviewing the Wireless Service Plan Optimization section in our previous blogs, Wireless Services Optimization and Telehealth and Mobile Service Optimization.
- Hardware. Having a clear corporate-wide Mobile device policy is the key here. Again, our team can assist your organization in crafting a policy if you don’t currently have one.
- Device count (both on and off contract). Early termination fees can cost an organization thousands of dollars. If managed properly, however, these costs can be avoided, leading to significant savings over time.
- Optimizing ownership cost. Although a BYOD environment may offer some seemingly big savings upfront, consider longer-term costs that may be less apparent. For example, does the reimbursement rate to an employee exceed the cost of a corporate-provided device?
At Provision Networks, we can help you identify and implement the best Mobility Services practices to fit your unique needs. Our team includes Mobility Experts, Cloud Compute Engineers, Tech Entrepreneurs, Carrier Veterans and Complex Bid Specialists. We are always happy to discuss your options, review contracts, and generally point you in the right direction to ensure your needs are met. No charge, no obligation, no high pressure selling, ever.
Provision Networks has been connecting people, devices and systems since July 2000.