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New Mobile Devices = New Costs?

July 16, 2012 No Comments

By Troy Fulton, Director of Product Marketing, Tangoe

Are your employees asking for the latest mobile device claiming it will make them more efficient? Are you concerned it will cost you more? New mobile devices continue to offer more features and advanced technology dependent upon real-time connectivity for anywhere access. The problem is that those “anywhere” devices are tied to data plans, and if consumers and employees don’t fully understand their mobile data plans, use of the device can, and often will, lead to serious overage fees.

Need an example? Let’s start with Siri, the “personal assistant” feature available on the iPhone 4. Users were thrilled to ask their phone “Do I need an umbrella today?” or “What’s the best place to grab some sushi?” Unfortunately, they quickly realized this “assistance” was coming at a cost. Not all iPhone users understood that Siri was using their data plan and that extensive use could potentially lead to overage charges and, depending on their location, roaming costs. So, employees taking their iPhone’s abroad and using this feature were surprised with large mobile bills at the end of the month.

Next up, FaceTime. iPhone 5 will make this feature available with or without WiFi.  Frankly, most people are never really sure when they’re using Wifi vs. a wireless network. How many times has your phone defaulted to its data plan when you intended to use WiFi? Now, imagine a popular feature like FaceTime being used by hundreds of employees. It could mean serious cost trouble, also known as “bill shock”.

Mobile bill shock can occur in any organization, regardless of the industry or size. An unexpected, costly mobile bill can easily cost an organization thousands of dollars, not to mention lost productivity in addressing and resolving the issue.

While the factors and causes behind bill shock may be numerous, device users and mobile administrators have access to solutions that can prevent bill shock, reduce overall costs, and mitigate data and device losses in real-time. Real-Time Telecom Expense Management solutions deliver critical usage information to the right people at the right time, offering visibility into network usage (data, voice, SMS, and roaming) by monitoring a multi-platform fleet of smart devices in real time.

These proactive solutions effectively reduce roaming usage and control service overages. End users and IT departments are alerted in real time when a mobile device has begun roaming. Users must address this warning in order to continue using their device, thus taking ownership of the roaming fees that will be incurred. More importantly, the administrator can act quickly to purchase the appropriate roaming package based on the individual’s usage, and communicate the purchase to the end user. Real-time monitoring also allows an IT department to alter a device’s roaming capabilities in order to mitigate or eliminate unnecessary mobile costs.

Additionally, with real-time device monitoring an organization can locate and recover lost or stolen devices. If recovery is not likely, IT can remotely wipe the device of private information or send a “kill’ command to return the device to factory settings. .  IT administrators can also use real-time usage alerts to optimize monthly plans and predict usage. Real-time data actualizes cost management policies before excessive and unnecessary costs are incurred.   With rTEM solutions, companies have the option, and perhaps an obligation, to no longer consider bill shock as the occasional (but likely increasing in frequency with smartphones) cost of doing business.

Finally, with so many new devices entering the market, education is key.  IT, HR, and finance leaders should work together, forming a “a mobility council” that defines the mobility responsibilities of the corporation and the employee, determines what mobile plans will encompass, and ensures that employees fully understand how their devices work—and what the costs of those devices are to the corporation.


Troy Fulton New Mobile Devices = New Costs?Troy Fulton is Director of Product Marketing at Tangoe, a global provider of Communications Lifecycle Management (CLM) software and related services to a wide range of global enterprises. He is responsible for guiding product concepts and leading the strategy and execution efforts to deliver seamless mobile solutions to enterprise customers. Fulton has more than 25 years of experience in the enterprise technology industry and nearly 10 years of experience in senior management positions with mobile companies, such as Nokia and Motorola Mobility. Troy has launched enterprise solutions on a global level and led the creation of user experiences and product requirements for apps, user interfaces, security, video and hardware/software on tablets and smartphones.

Troy has been invited to speak on leadership and mobility to MBA students at Mason School of Business at William and Mary and has also been a guest instructor for MBA classes at William and Mary. A Boston College graduate, Troy also holds a MBA from The College of William and Mary and a certificate in computer networks from Northeastern University.

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