MANAGING THE BUSINESS COSTS OF MASS MOBILE CONNECTIVITY
June 2021

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Adrian Robinson

By Adrian Robinson

[email protected]   |  

9 June 2021

MANAGING THE BUSINESS COSTS OF MASS MOBILE CONNECTIVITY

Perceived barriers to widespread workforce mobile accessibility have been broken down almost overnight, but it pays to stop and think about best practice to manage it, says Adrian Robinson

Not so long ago, the idea of making mobile phones a primary form of communication for much of the workforce was widely viewed as a major management headache and potential security risk. For many, mobile connectivity was largely unnecessary except for those staff who were often out on the road in sales or service roles. Added to which, giving employees the ability to make unrestricted calls or access apps, files and emails outside of the office on their smartphones was seen as fraught with pitfalls, over which employers would have limited control.

Fast-forward to today and attitudes have changed rapidly with mobile phones becoming a commercial lifeline, particularly following the disruption caused by Covid-19. But that does not mean that concerns over security and control have disappeared. Businesses still need to be aware of the drawbacks and put mechanisms in place to manage across their mobile estate.

By this, I’m not talking about minimising security risks in the sense of data breaches and privacy issues, though these issues are of course vital, and a variety of tools exist to mitigate them. I mean reducing risk in the sense of regulating costs and ensuring adequate oversight of employee activity. After all, with more workers using their mobiles more regularly for a wider variety of reasons, the potential for bills to skyrocket (thanks to heightened data consumption or rising call volumes) is magnified exponentially.

Proactivity and productivity

So, the traditional way of managing mobile connectivity — i.e. waiting for the bill to come in and then managing usage and costs retrospectively —is no longer fit for purpose. Businesses can benefit from being smarter and more proactive about the whole process.

If employees are using their own phones for work purposes, it may be worth considering putting software onto that phone to allow business calls to be automatically re-charged to the company. This avoids the need for staff to have to go through bills with a highlighter, which can be both time-consuming and potentially inaccurate. However, while this can be helpful, it doesn’t necessarily solve the more important issue of how to keep costs contained.

If the business provides workers with mobile phones, then they have the power to control the kinds of calls they make or the apps they use. The my.plan platform enables businesses to see usage in real time and take action accordingly, for instance by restricting social media use or allocating more data for collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, or by managing international or premium rate calling.

This is not just about direct costs — also at stake here is staff productivity (or lack of it), creating an indirect benefit or cost to the business. In an environment where phone systems used by a remote workforce are also having to be managed remotely, having transparency to ensure that staff have sufficient connectivity to do their jobs but not so much it becomes a distraction, can be invaluable.

The move to mass mobile connectivity may have happened almost overnight, overcoming all the perceived barriers, but businesses should nonetheless pause to stop and think about best practice and whether the right checks and balances are in place. If they’re not, it’s about time they were.


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