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November 16, 2009

UK firms squander £264m a year on mobile costs

Better control and security needed of mobile devices

By Vinod

UK firms could potentially be wasting up to £264m a year as employees use their mobiles for work calls, even when they’re in the office.

On average, large companies spend £209,150 each a year on mobile calls, yet the IT directors surveyed in a Damovo-commissioned report estimated that 42% of those calls were being made in the office. Worse still, almost half the calls were made to other colleagues or to the office.

“In a lot of companies the problem is visibility. Use of mobiles in business has grown in an ad hoc way, so they don’t have much visibility of what’s going on,” said Glyn Owen, portfolio manager at consultancy Damovo UK.

Over a third (37%) of the IT director respondents admitted they didn’t even look at their organisation’s mobile bill each month. Almost three-quarters said they tended to ignore employees making personal or premium rate calls from their mobiles.

“In the last year or eighteen months, in the current crisis, a lot of organisations have focused on spending and realised that they haven’t got control over mobile costs,” said Owen.

Companies need to gain better visibility and control over mobile usage, either by clamping down on usage altogether, or more practically, by looking at technical solutions that enable employees to continue using their phones, but at a reduced cost.

Solving the problem doesn’t necessarily take much investment, pointed out Owen, as companies could simply use their existing WiFi infrastructure and enable mobile handsets to operate as extensions of the corporate PBX with the latest fixed mobile convergence (FMC) technology. This would ensure they have the same functionality and the same cost structure as using a desk phone. But despite the fact that most companies had some kind of WiFi network, only 14% of companies were using the network for voice calls.

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Security is another reason why IT directors need better control over mobile usage. Some 31% of respondents were worried that important customer data could be held on mobile devices, laying their company open to CRM and security risks. Companies could tackle this by storing in a central repository or CRM system and by locking down their mobile devices in the event of loss or theft, in the same way they do for their corporate laptops.

One hundred IT directors at UK firms with at least 1,000 employees were surveyed by market researchers Vanson Bourne on behalf of Damovo UK.


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