08 Oct Telecom Management – Resolve to Consolidate Wireless Vendors in 2010
Do not waste your scarce telecom management resources by spreading them across too many wireless service providers. Using support resources efficiently has become increasingly important as departments across the enterprise are asked to do more with less. Consolidating your wireless service providers down to 1 or 2 providers can dramatically increase the efficiency of the organization.
Today's businesses rely on wireless communications. Cell phones and wireless access devices are table stakes for mobile or knowledge workers. In most cases, the IT department has at least initial responsibility in supporting the end-users, managing the vendor and auditing the bill. The IT organization must determine how to provide the highest level of service for the lowest cost.
Wireless, by its nature, is variable and subject to frequent change. Employees enter and exit the organization, resulting in new activations, suspensions or deactivations of existing devices. Features and plans are adjusted as use warrants. These transactions must be tracked, creating complex inventory support issues. The billing from wireless service providers, while better than their wireline counterparts, remains complex and the nature of wireless charges requires individual review of each account to determine compliance to corporate policy. So, with all the complexities surrounding wireless service and support, why to companies maintain multiple accounts with different service providers? With the considerable incremental cost to support an incremental provider, there must be a valid reason, right?
Well, not really. Comparing the service from today's top 4 wireless service providers (Verizon Wireless, AT & T, Sprint and TMobile), there is very little coverage difference. They all provide nationwide and international coverage. Their phones and data cards will work in the same areas, save some discrete locations where line of sight or signal strength is compromised for a particular provider. The primary difference between the wireless service providers today are their rate plans and the devices they offer.
Rate plan differences among wireless service providers are narrowing each year. The differences that remain, however, do not warrant you to spread your services across many different providers to optimize rate plans. Two carriers can typically achieve an optimum structure.
The real reason we find for maintaining multiple carrier relationships is the device offered by the relevant carriers. The IT department is frequently pressured to provide the latest wireless gadget as a standard option within their wireless framework. The requests for the latest toy frequently come from senior management, making resistance a losing proposition. Fortunately, the market has narrowed our choices in that area over the last 2 years. Most wireless experts agree that AT & T and Verizon Wireless will continue their device leadership into the future. Their market position makes them the first choice for exclusive distribution targets for device manufacturers. The applications being developed on the exclusive operating systems should prove to be very sticky and result in better customer retention.
Standardizing on AT & T and Verizon Wireless in the New Year will make your management efforts considerably more efficient. Narrowing your support infrastructure to two service providers and a limited number of devices and service plans will streamline your acquisition process, enable a consolidated review of billing information and provide for the easy repurposing of wireless devices as employees return used equipment. Our telecom management clients who have consolidated their wireless accounts report efficiency savings in the 20% range. Hard dollar service provider charge savings are also common through the process of realigning the service provider relationship.
Consider implementing a telecom management system to support the migration and track its conclusion. The management system will provide value after the migration by helping you unify and consolidate your reduced wireless accounts into a single view for easier reporting and analysis.
By Steve J Murphy