Mobile Expense Management

Mobile Expense Management

With enterprises expanding the use of mobile apps and enabling remote working via smartphones and tablets, it’s becoming more and more common to hear stories of data overuse charges averaging $150 per handset every month.


New Zealand is in a unique position, in that we have exceptionally fast mobile data networks, but at the same time, we have some of the smallest data quotas around. Telco's have a responsibility to protect the average citizen from "bill-shock" and they do this quite well through granular management of individual data plans. However, once a company shared plan is introduced into the mix, then the granular management seems to go out the window. Company shared plans seem great at first glance, rather than a static data allocation per user, there is instead, a pooled data allowance which is shared by all employees. Telco's generally allow the organisation IT manager to control the pooled data limit (so when the pooled data is used up, data stops, or additional charges are incurred), however there is very little ability to manage data usage at a per-device level. Some of the Telco's offer manual alerting (reports on usage are run nightly, and email alerts sent to IT management), but these are not real time, and with the speed of 4G, a lot of data can be used in 24 hours


Emerging Technology Partners have been working with the IBM MaaS360 product, and have developed a solution for mobile device management that provides real-time expense/data management. One big point of difference between the MaaS360 solution and others is the ability for IT to provide stepped controls as data quotas are consumed. As an example, users could be assigned a "free" allowance of 1GB per month of data, and they can use that 1GB in whichever way they please (streaming, syncing files, etc), but once that 1GB is used, then constraints should begin to be applied. MaaS360 allows IT to limit the handsets ability to use mobile data for certain apps (e.g. after 1GB of data is used, block access to Spotify, YouTube, and streaming TV), and if data consumption continues, the "clamp" on functionality can become even tighter (e.g. after 1.5GB of data is used, block the mobile browser, and after 2GB of data is used, block all apps except for business-critical apps and tools).


The Emerging Technology Partners’ MaaS360 based solution gives IT complete control; data plans can be defined, and users assigned to a plan, with the plan reflecting their "free quota". IT can even move users between plans as needed. Users are provided alerts notifying them of their real-time data use, and warning them of the consequence of exceeding data usage; this removes the excuse of "I didn’t know". 


It doesn't matter if the mobile devices in use are Android, Apple, or Windows, the same controls are available, and all of this is possible for a fixed monthly license fee of under $10 per user (excluding setup and on-boarding costs). In our experience, the costs to procure and deploy MaaS360 are recovered within the first few months through a dramatic reduction (or complete removal) of data overuse charges.