Good, MobileIron, Tangoe and Zenprise to manage both employee owned and company owned devices (see Top 10 Most Important Features for Enterprise Smartphone Management Solutions).Although many organizations are allowing users to buy their own devices, enterprises are still spending on company owned devices and phone plans. And many turn to device management solutions from companies like
Tangoe offers not just device management, but telecom expense management and consulting. I recently talked with Tangoe CEO Al Subbloie about ways enterprises can save money on their mobile strategies. Some strategies benefit from using device management solutions like Tangoe, but others don't require any investment at all.
1. Don't Ignore SMS Limits
Subbloie says a lot of companies ignore SMS overage costs. But these add up. Watch your organizations SMS usage and either increase your limit or, if your device management software supports it, restrict the number of messages users can send.
2. Optimize Your Plan Based on Usage Patterns
On the other hand, if users are routinely leaving unused minutes or messages, it might be time to adjust your plans down accordingly. Pay attention to usage patterns over the course of several months and optimize your plans.
3. Pool Minutes Across Departments
Many enterprises can't participate in pooling because of inter-departmental billing issues. Subbloie says Tangoe can break down these bills to determine billing allocation. The savings can be considerable, so it's well worth finding a solution to enable enterprise-wide pooling.
4. Deactivate Non-Active Devices
This should be a no-brainer, but Subbloie says companies tend to find a surprising number of in-active devices laying around in cabinets - or missing completely - when they do audits. Managers should routinely monitor usage and deactivate or re-assign "zero use" devices.
5. Watch Out For, And If Possible, Prevent Domestic and International Roaming
Roaming can be insanely expensive, but it can be overlooked in large organizations with big phone bills. Many device management solutions will let you prevent users from being able to roam internationally, domestically or both.
6. Block 411, Or Use Google 411 Instead
For those without smartphones, 411 can be a lifeline. But it can also be spendy. Google offers a free alternative (1-800-GOOG-411), and your device management solution may be able to either block 411 or force a user to use Google instead. Update: Google 411 is being discontinued. Lifehacker has a list of other free alternatives.
7. Tether a Smart Phone Instead of Using an Air Card
Many enterprises issue air cards to traveling staff. But if those staff also carry BlackBerry or other smartphones, they may be able to tether those devices instead of using a separate air device.
8. Sell Old Devices
Subbloie says few corporations have an end of life plan for used mobile devices. Used phones can sell for $50-$100 (more for smart phones) on eBay or Craig's List. That just happens to be the cost of a new phone when subsidized by a two year plan. Organizations can actually offset nearly the entire cost of new phones by selling their old ones to people who don't want to be bound by a contract. Tangoe offerings device recycling programs for companies that want to outsource this responsibility.