11 ways to simplify your mobile contract management
Managing mobile communications for company employees internationally can be an incredibly complicated business.
Ensuring staff are connected—wherever they are—is time-consuming. Organising multiple SIMs to cater for different territories, sending SIMs to travelling employees to replace lost ones, keeping on top of staff travel plans and the best local plans for connectivity and managing costs can amount to one big logistical headache.
But it’s hugely important. The cost of mismanaged connectivity can be hefty given expensive roaming charges, but the cost of no connectivity is even higher. Connectivity is crucial for staff productivity, wherever they are.
What’s the problem?
“I’ve got a personal mobile contract. So I’ll just get one for my business, too.”
It would be easy to think that applying the same logic you used when choosing your personal mobile contract is a good starting point for picking a business one.
But—particularly for multinational organisations with staff, suppliers and customers in different territories—this approach results in a complex estate of contracts to manage. Individual contracts for individuals—or at best standard contracts for employees within each country—means separate travel plans for those heading abroad, multiple bills, varying levels of support by operators and contradictory terms and conditions across contracts.
Let’s look at some routes to simplified contract management.
1) Pick a plan designed for business
As described above, trying to make personal mobile phone plans work for your organisation is like trying to stuff a square peg into a round hole.
Enterprise-grade business plans offer features to group individual contracts together, tools for making the management of tens or hundreds of employees’ usage simpler, and support functions designed for helping teams—even if they’re spread all over the world.
2) Choose a global mobile plan
A plan that gives staff connectivity wherever they go means you don’t have to worry about arranging in-country plans for travelling employees. That adds up to a massive saving in the time taken to manage separate, regional contracts.
Communications with your provider will also be simplified—one global contract means one global bill, and one global point of contact.
3) Get a shared bundle plan
Some employees will need to travel a lot. Others will be on the phone to local contacts most of the day. Some might need a high data allowance for remote-location connectivity. To keep wasted plan costs down, the temptation is to want to find different off-the-shelf (or even worse, tailored) contracts for each individual.
But investing in a shared plan for all users not only gives an overall pool of voice-call minutes, SMS messages and data for employees to draw from, it massively reduces the administration required to personalise individual plans and monitor individual usage.
A company-wide reserve of connectivity allowance also empowers employees to use their devices where and when they need them—rather than worrying about roaming charges or exceeding personal allowances.
4) Choose a global mobile network
The main worry with choosing a global plan is that you’ll end up paying through the nose for inflated international connectivity charges.
Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) can offer an alternative. Their rates— negotiated with the local operators whose networks they piggyback—often provide close-to-local tariffs. While this might not represent the absolute best deal in each country, factoring in the cost of IT/Telecoms Managers’ time, the improved reliability of global coverage and the contract simplification makes the proposition increasingly attractive.
5) Look for enterprise-grade support
Choosing an operator with a great reputation for helping customers with issues can prove invaluable.
Support that’s available:
- Across the world
- In multiple languages…
…can save end-users and IT/Telecoms Managers untold time in holding, awaiting solutions, chasing for issue resolution and communicating fixes internally.
6) Seek scalable solutions
Ensuring at the outset that your business plan represents a future-proof solution can save frustrations further down the line.
Scalable company-wide plans—the best ones are tailored specifically to your business’s needs—are flexible enough that users can be added and removed easily.
7) Prioritise flexibility
While tailoring a plan makes it work for your organisation’s requirements, you can’t always predict when connectivity needs are going to change. And switching plans or renegotiating contracts every time your organisation’s usage habits change isn’t the best use of time or resources.
Picking a plan with in-built flexibility—one that can flex with you rather than penalise you with high out-of-bundle charges—helps with cost control and saves time.
8) Insist on a dedicated point of contact
Speaking to someone different every time you call means issues have to be re-explained and support continuity is lost.
Particularly when organisations work internationally, a dedicated Account Manager is invaluable for escalating problems and providing clear communication.
9) Expect provider proactivity
A good Account Manager should be analysing your usage patterns and suggesting tweaks and improvements to your plan.
Having confidence in the proactivity of your primary point of contact saves IT/Telecoms Managers’ time having to continuously scour the market for the best deals to suit constantly changing requirements.
10) Demand a user-friendly management platform
Analysing individual and team usage patterns, managing user and SIMs, locating invoice information all eats up time that IT/Telecoms Managers would prefer to use more constructively.
Access to a powerful-yet-well-designed management portal should provide instant visibility to contract detail, as well as the ability to make changes remotely.
11) Demand predictability
Unexpected usage will occur. Employees will travel more—or to new destinations—during some months. New users will need mobile connectivity.
We can’t predict exactly how many minutes, SMS messages, or data each employee will need any given month. But we can still demand a degree of predictability from our bills. A tailored and flexible plan should remove the potential for ‘bill shock’ and give you the confidence to encourage device use for your teams—wherever they’re working.