Data usage is exploding, which is hardly surprising given that we live in a generation where people are always connected and strive to use content rich applications. But what are you doing to protect your organisation from this explosion, especially during periods of travel when reliance on smartphones is greater and potentially more costly?
The summer months in particular represent a risk when it comes to employees’ data usage. It’s the most common time for people to travel abroad, and whilst away, many will still check in with work from their smartphones, ultimately connecting to the internet and using data. This data usage can very quickly and easily turn into bill shock for the employer. Employees may also be travelling to destinations they don’t typically travel to for work purposes, and those destinations may attract far higher data charges than what the business anticipates.
How data is changing
The ongoing evolution of smartphones and content rich applications that serve to rapidly consume data, continues to increase at an alarming rate. To evaluate this evolution in data usage ‘summer on summer’, we turned to our billing infrastructure to analyse how usage is expanding.
Our analysis showed that average data usage over the summer months increased by 23 percent compared with August 2017, so even in recent times (where technology improvements in smartphones have been somewhat iterative) there has been a significant uplift. If you look at the increase from just three years ago, it is almost doubled.
As the custodian of the mobile estate within your organisation it would be easy to look at these statistics with despair. Should you be mindful of these numbers? Yes. Can you harness control and protect your organisation from the threat of mobile bill shock? Yes. By focusing on three core areas you can retain control of your mobile estate.
1. Intelligent tariffs
Your tariff structure needs to be carefully shaped to the usage profile of the business. This can only be achieved where a potential new provider has analysed your existing airtime invoices to understand who is using what, and where. A tariff can then be built around that usage profile, which can model what your spend should be moving forward. Furthermore, this will be in line with your business roadmap, such as new office locations or increases in headcount which would impact your telecommunications costs. Forecasting is key, because simply mapping a new tariff against your historical usage may not paint the whole picture of what you should expect to spend over your next contract term. Carefully constructed tariffs will account for international usage and should include components such as the ability to use your UK voice and data tariff overseas.
2. Proactive monitoring and reporting
Solutions such as our portal and mobile app enable both budget holders and end users to maintain visibility and therefore take decisions where required. Our advanced alerting delivers proactive notifications of spend and usage, should limits reach or exceed the values specified by the organisation. This enables the budget holder to respond, be it by adding a tariff bolt on, barring a line (if required) or simply reaching out to the individual concerned. Our priority here is to ensure that alerting is proactive – if you don’t know what your users are spending until the invoice arrives from your provider, it’s already too late.
3. Controlling the content
For some or all of your users you may wish to consider controlling what content they have access to, such as data rich streaming services like Netflix and social media applications and websites. If you control the content you can help control and shape the data usage. Solutions from our partners like Wandera provide a powerful mechanism to enforce filtering that reduces data usage, whilst also meeting internal corporate and security policies that dictate what users can and cannot do on company owned hardware.
The case for controlling mobile data usage has never been more compelling, but with the right provider, the right tariffs and the right tools it’s a risk that can be safely managed, protecting your organisation from unwanted and unexpected costs.