Are mobile devices a money pit?

In recent years, BlackBerries and other multi-function PDAs have become an essential business tool, and a major line item in corporate budgets. But data from Compass shows that a large portion of this growing spend is either wasted, or worse yet, invisible.

10/08/2009


Large global organizations could save millions of dollars a year on wireless communications through strict management of contracts and services, according to analyses by Naperville, IL based Compass, a global management consulting firm specializing in business and IT operational improvement. "Mobile devices are becoming an integral part of IT infrastructure," says John Lytle, a Compass senior consultant specializing in network and telecom issues. "But many businesses today take an ad hoc, decentralized approach to managing mobile communications, and are paying the price."

Mobile field worker process plant

In recent years, BlackBerries and other multi-function PDAs have become an essential business tool—and a major line item in corporate budgets. But Compass data shows that a large portion of this growing spend is either wasted, or worse yet, invisible.

Mobile devices—ranging from basic cell phones to sophisticated PDAs—are generally contracted at an individual level, and often paid for through individual expense accounts. says Lytle. As a result, corporate oversight and central transparency into device functionality, contract terms and costs are highly variable, and the ability to leverage economies of scale is often limited, he says.

Moreover, many companies that fund multi-function mmart phones and PDAs for employees also fund additional accounts for basic cell phones. "In other words, companies not only subsidize mobile phone service, they subsidize it twice," says Lytle. "As a result, on a per user basis, mobile phone costs are significantly higher than they are for traditional land line communications." Compass analyzed 450 sites in 17 countries, including North America, Europe, and the United Kingdom to come up its conclusions.

According to Lytle, organizations that centralize mobile device contracts and administration and eliminate device redundancy can save 25 percent to 40 percent on telecom spend. Generally speaking, he adds, the bigger the organization, the greater the savings.

"Improved management of mobile devices requires a change in mindset and organizational culture. Ten or 15 years ago, businesses determined that the 'personal' had to be taken out of personal computer," says Lytle. "Standardization, centralization, and lock-down policies became the norm, and PC cost efficiency greatly improved. Organizations need to take a similar, business-oriented approach to mobile devices."

To create visibility and raise awareness of mobile costs, champions of rationalization within the organization need to make a business case to quantify the dollars at stake. Says Lytle: "What's the cost to the business of supporting thousands of individual cell phone plans? How does that compare with the cost of a centralized plan that pools minutes? If you can show those numbers, you can get the boardroom's attention."

A successful mobile plan must also define terms and categories. "If an organization is going to mandate support of a mobile phone," says Lytle, "they need to define what constitutes a 'phone.' Is it simply a mobile voice device? Or a multi-function device? Whatever criteria are defined and wherever the line is drawn, the company shouldn't pay for more than one."

An additional benefit of mobile services rationalization is that it doesn't negatively impact functionality; indeed, centralized management is an essential foundation for enhancing security of mobile devices, and for developing and maintaining the increasingly sophisticated applications running on them. Says Lytle: "Given their role in the global enterprise, smart phones and PDAs require the same level of management scrutiny as established service towers such as networks, storage systems, and mainframe and midrange server environments."

 





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
IIoT grows up; Six ways to lower IIoT costs; Six mobile safety strategies; 2017 Salary Survey
2016 Top Plant; 2016 Best Practices on manufacturing progress, efficiency, safety
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
What controller fits your application; Permanent magnet motors; Chemical manufacturer tames alarm management; Taking steps in a new direction
Tying a microgrid to the smart grid; Paralleling generator systems; Previewing NEC 2017 changes
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on preventing compressed air leaks and centrifugal air compressor basics and best practices for the "fifth utility" in manufacturing plants.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
click me