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Use IoT to eliminate the guessing game from your enterprise's phone bill

Managing an enterprise’s telecom costs for employee mobile phones and tablets has really become a guessing game.

Surprise charges have become the norm. Telecom admins refer to these surprise charges as “bill shock” because, frankly, it is! Once an enterprise incurs bill shock, they are forced to scramble to dispute the charges and somehow find creative ways to reduce such unexpected costs in the future.

So, what can you do to prevent these unexpected charges and data overages? In order to determine how you can prevent something, you first need to understand how the situation came to be. So let’s take a look at the core problems, and how lessons learned from today’s IoT technologies are helping to solve these issues.

Top 3 causes of bill shock

Here are three of the most common scenarios where an employee’s business mobile device can cause unexpected charges to an enterprise’s bill:

International travel: For many enterprises, employee travel is a necessary part of doing business. But standard domestic phone plans (even unlimited plans) can be restricting when people cross international borders. So, if an enterprise’s head of global sales (who is based in the U.S.) takes off for a business trip to China, that employee might rack up a ton of mobile usage charges if her phone plan hasn’t been upgraded to an international plan. International roaming can get expensive, so a pragmatic approach is to upgrade the plan right before the international trip. But when that responsibility falls on the employee, often times they forget to do so before they leave — resulting in high international data and roaming costs.

Video streaming: It’s no surprise that the advancement of technology has continued to blur the lines between our personal and business lives. The same can be said about our mobile devices. In some cases, an enterprise will issue business phones to its employees, but some of those employees will want to use their phone for personal use. Whether they’re streaming movies, watching YouTube or downloading other forms of media, the employee is using the phone for personal entertainment, and racking up data charges unrelated to a business need.

Getting and forgetting: Unused devices are a common challenge for enterprises. Although the enterprise is paying the monthly bill for its employee to use the mobile device, the employee might keep it in his desk drawer and forget all about it. A further complication is when an employee leaves the enterprise without returning his work-issued mobile device back to the IT department. This can result in the device remaining on the corporate plan for months on end with no one in the enterprise noticing, leaving the enterprise to foot the unnecessary expenses.

How to be proactive and prevent overages

It is important that enterprises take a proactive approach to managing their telecom costs, and the key to being proactive lies in automation. This is where the lessons learned from the last decade of IoT platform innovation are helping businesses control their telecom costs. To take advantage of the automation technologies that enterprises around the world are using to manage millions of IoT devices, enterprises can now call upon their mobile service provider to offer an automated mobility management (AMM) software platform.

AMM platforms put the control back in the hands of the enterprise telecom admins. With just a few clicks, enterprises can set and enforce automated business rules to eliminate surprise charges on their next phone bill. Many enterprises are already doing this to manage their employee mobile devices, and have already realized ROI with this approach of management.

The foundation of automation lies in real-time visibility. Having instant visibility into how business phones are actually being used can help enterprises make informed decisions. So, being able to see when employees are blowing past their data limits, or which devices are going unused, is crucial for better mobility management.

Now, what can automation do for you? Here are a few examples of the power of automation:

  • Add travel plans: If your head of global sales is traveling to China, her mobile phone could be automatically upgraded to an international travel plan, without her shouldering the burden of changing her plan. When she returns back to home country, her travel plan can be automatically removed without her calling the mobile help desk again.
  • Change plans: If an employee within a pooled plan is reaching his allotted data, he can be automatically alerted or moved to a separate plan to avoid overages.
  • Suspend unused phones: If your mobile app development team is hoarding devices that they only occasionally use, then you can automatically suspend and reactivate the mobile lines as needed and avoid paying for the unused months.
  • Stop runaway devices: Got an employee who’s leaving the company? Your mobility management platform should be able to automatically shut off their phone on their last day in the office.

When enterprises use a platform with this type of built-in automation, they not only reduce costs, they also eliminate the headache of having to manually track and manage their mobile services and devices.

For a long time, enterprises didn’t have the visibility and controls they needed to proactively manage their mobility services and plans. But that has changed, and with automated mobility management, today’s enterprises have the tools they need to take the guessing game out of their monthly phone bills.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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