Providing employees with devices or sims is a fantastic way to increase productivity, with users now able to work on the go, rather than being confined to one static work-spot. Whilst this convenience is doubtlessly beneficial to organisations, it comes hand-in-hand with a necessity for IT to provide and manage monthly contracts. Mobile data holds a prominent focus within these contracts, and for good reason, as excessive data consumption can take a large chunk out of IT’s budget.
In this article, we offer some of our best tips to manage your mobile data usage.
DEFINE TERMS PRE-CONTRACT WITH THE CARRIER
Before entering negotiations, work out your requirements. There’s little use negotiating a great contract deal of 100Gb per month for your employees when, from the very first month, double that is being used, and subsequently, you’re consistently being hit with bill shock.
Be prepared for some lengthy talks. Your mobile network doesn’t just want to give away a fantastic deal. They might initially outright reject your proposed terms, as they want to get the highest price from you. It’s important to give yourself enough time for negotiations, as rushing a deal last-minute gives the network the upper-hand.
CLEARLY DEFINE ALL TARIFF CHARGES AND BILL RULES
It is essential to insist on in-month usage alerts from your carriers. An IT department that only learns of the cost and quantity of data usage at the very end of the month can struggle to rein in spending, as they spend much of the month out of the loop. In-month usage alerts (e.g. being notified when a total of 50Gb has been used) allows IT to proactively monitor and gives them the ability to quickly and consistently deal with issues that might be using large amounts of data (e.g. data roaming abroad). For mobile networks, it’s beneficial for them to keep companies in the dark so that they can hit them with a large bill each month but ensuring that your IT department is able to monitor usage will help keep bill shock down.
SHARED DATA ALLOWANCES
Whilst all users may have the same device, for example, an iPhone 8, the way they interact with these phones will vary drastically. Some will use mobiles minimally, whilst others will voraciously consume data. However, this won’t necessarily remain consistent, as over a 2+ year contract, the way users interact with their phone will fluctuate. Therefore, it is essential that your approach when managing data usage is flexible.
You might allow a monthly data usage of 3Gb per user, but there will be many users who are only using 1Gb whilst others use 5Gb. Without a shared data allowance, you’ll end up overpaying for some users whilst other users unintentionally allow data to go to waste. To combat this, use shared data pools. Rather than having 3Gb per user for 100 employees, the shared pool will hold 300Gb, which any users can dip in and out of. This tends to be far more cost-effective than providing each individual with their own plan.
Many devices come with preloaded settings, designed to make the user experience totally seamless, but these settings can use a large amount of data without the user’s knowledge. It’s important to be aware of these settings and implement the following:
- Ensure operating system and app updates are only downloadable via Wi-Fi
- Disable background app refreshes. Many apps will use mobile data to refresh their content without the user being aware.
- Disable automatic cloud backups of files and photos when using mobile data, so that it is only possible when connected to Wi-Fi
DEFINE POLICY WITH EMPLOYEES
Develop a clear fair-usage policy. It’s important to carefully think about what apps should be whitelisted or blacklisted. Specify a general-usage policy detailing acceptable personal data usage.
Many employees may think nothing of downloading a video streaming app such as Netflix to watch a tv show on their commute. However, streaming services such as these use a large amount of data very quickly and can make a sizeable dent in your monthly allowance. Under a well-thought-out policy, these apps can be blacklisted entirely or can be set up so that they can only be used when connected to Wi-Fi.
When operating under a corporate contract, employees are often unaware of how their actions on their device can affect their contract cost. Transparency can be one of the best ways to reduce costs.
Sending users a monthly usage report makes them aware of how much data they’re using and whether they can make changes to reduce their consumption. Cost centres and heads of departments could also receive them, meaning it is simple to keep track of anyone who is using a disproportionate amount of data.
DATA ROAMING ABROAD
Employees travelling for business overseas may think nothing of quickly checking their email whilst on the move, but these small actions can have huge consequences on your bill.
The scrapping of roaming charges within the EU went some way to addressing the issue. However, currently, users are still subject to charges should they exceed their agreed data allowance. With Brexit looming, the future of mobile roaming charges in the EU is in question. So far, of the 2 major UK mobile providers, only 2 have so far committed to keeping roaming ‘free’.
Externally of the EU, data roaming still has a big impact on cost. It is essential to educate end-users on the costs of data roaming. Ensure that any employees who may be using their device abroad inform IT beforehand and encourage them to connect to secure Wi-Fi wherever possible.
PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE
Our data usage has increased dramatically over the last decade and shows no sign of slowing. The introduction of 5G will provide users with faster connection speeds and greater convenience but will also radically increase data consumption. Corporate data use is expected to increase 5 or 6-fold in the next 3 years, and fixed contracts which do not allow for flexibility will see businesses harshly hit with data penalties. Remember that going with the cheapest contract is not always the best option, go for contracts which offer high levels of adaptability for you to manage future data increases.
HOW CAN MOBLICITI HELP?
There are so many challenges to keep track of in order to minimise data usage that it can be overwhelming for an IT team. Mobliciti can take help take this pressure away with our managed mobile services. We’ll help to release your IT team from mobile administration whilst also keeping costs and usage under control. To find out more, contact us.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to reduce your data usage to free up 20% or more of your mobile budget, join us on the 20th March for our Breakfast Briefing. Find out more and register here.