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Gartner Says Closer Management of Wireless Services Can Save Companies 10 to 35 Percent of Their Wireless Costs Through 2015


Future Wireless Trends to Be Discussed at Gartner Wireless, Networking & Communications Summit, April 19-21, in San Diego

STAMFORD, Conn. - Through 2014, 80 percent of Fortune 1000 companies will have moved from individual plans and liability to corporate liability and pooling for voice and data, according to Gartner, Inc.

As companies increase their spending on wireless and adopt ever- more-sophisticated mobile devices, managing service costs, security and procurement has become critical. However, Gartner analysts said that many companies still do not have thorough wireless usage policies.

“Policies are a crucial way of managing complex services,” said Phil Redman, research vice president at Gartner. “Through 2015, closer management of wireless services can save companies 10 percent to 35 percent of their wireless costs.”

According to Mr. Redman, the problem exists because wireless telephony services were originally brought into many enterprises through the back door — pushed by individual users or lines of business. He said that compared to so many other aspects of IT, many enterprises simply don’t have adequate internal adoption, usage or management policies directed at cellular services.

Gartner advises enterprises to look across IT for its wireless policy, rather than limiting it just to the networking or telecom group, because wireless encompasses many different areas in the company, from IT to finance (procurement), and goes across many lines of business and technologies. A wireless solution should impact the security group, servers and messaging, application development, asset management, hardware, networking, and possibly other areas of IT.

“A good method to ensure a strong policy is to incorporate a centralized team across IT that will be impacted by mobile and wireless decisions. This team can strategize for the strongest and widest policy,” Mr. Redman said. “However, wireless policies don’t have to be large documents. Often the best, most-read and most-widely-adopted policies are brief and to the point.”

Another best practice to follow is making sure the policies are delivered from the top down. Senior management should approve and enforce the wireless policy. Policy should also be built into ERP systems, and it should become part of the onboarding/off-boarding process.

Defining corporate user requirements and policy is essential for all sizes of organization, and although every company will need a unique policy, there are key areas that every policy should contain. These include the following:

* Eligibility — Companies should make strict eligibility requirements, defining the specific mobile user segments that can have access to and be subsidized for wireless service, as well as which services they can buy. Generally, there are three guidelines that most enterprises use or should use in deciding who gets subsidized service — job function, job title and manager’s approval.
* EnterpriseMobile Device Issues — There are a number of issues around mobile devices that enterprises should include in a policy, including ownership and standardization. With regard to ownership, organizations are advised to check with their legal department about access to corporate data on personal devices, because there can be limited accessibility of personal-owned mobile devices — especially after the user has left the company. From a standardization point of view, it has become increasingly difficult to standardize on one device type, operating system platform or form factor.
* Managed Diversity: Mobile Devices — With the above point in mind, Gartner has developed a “managed-diversity framework.” This is a two-by-two matrix that matches user categories or roles to device choices, which are determined by the support level to which the IT organization is willing to commit. Companies should also list which devices they will not permit into the enterprise due to cost or security issues.
* Service Termination — Enterprises need a direct policy for service discontinuance after an employee leaves. Discontinuing the subsidy for wireless service is an important part of the exit procedure, as is the recovery of the mobile device if the company has purchased it.
* Acceptable Usage Guidelines — The cellular phone products and services obtained under this guideline should be used expressly for business purposes only. For organizations that have employees submit expenses, personal calls can be subtracted from the total amount expensed (using an itemized bill, add up all personal calls and multiply by cost per minute).
* Security — Security guidelines for smartphones should be similar to notebooks, including power-on password, user authentication and possibly information encryption. Organizations should work with the security group to have a blanket policy that includes mobile devices, especially if smartphones are supported. The theft or loss of any enterprise cellular telephone should be immediately reported to the carrier providing the service and the security department.
* Mobile Telephony Expense Procedures — Expensing can be done by each individual who gets service, which is the decentralized process. However, centralized expensing, where the bill goes directly to the enterprise, is easier to manage and is becoming more the norm.
* Technical Support — Guidelines for help desk and support should be included, whether internal or outsourced. Procedures for after-hours and international support should be detailed.
* Procurement Procedures — Directions and policy for device and service procurement should be outlined, including contact information and internal or external website links. Policy on what type of device is supported should also be included, as well as which services by user segment are allowed.
* Personal Versus Corporate Liability — For cellular usage, corporate liability revolves around the company negotiating and procuring the service and taking fiscal responsibility for the user. When the individual procures the service and takes fiscal responsibility as well, it is known as individual liability. As companies centralize and standardize on mobile cellular services, Gartner recommends moving to or staying with corporate liability.
* Maximum Spending Limits — Though not required, it is a good idea to set up maximum spending limits by user segment. Any employee exceeding the monthly limit should be liable for those expenses, which are recovered through the expense or corporate payment systems.
* EnterpriseLiability Statement — Any corporate policy on the use of wireless should include a liability statement. Many policies are outlining that the phone should not be used where such use could endanger the employee (such as when driving) or when the use is illegal. Also, companies should be aware of the continuing debate about health effects of the use of cellular devices.

Additional information is available in the report “Key Enterprise Wireless Service Policy Guidelines to Maintain Cost and Security Control.” The report is available on the Gartner website at

About the Gartner Wireless, Networking & Communications Summit 2010
The Gartner Wireless, Networking & Communications Summit offers new concepts and best practices to increase ROI on wireless investment, insights on the future of wireless, and unbiased perspectives on devices, systems, integration and the latest trends. Gartner analysts will provide advice and best practices for successful wireless and networking implementations at the Gartner Wireless, Networking & Communications Summit taking place 19-21 April in San Diego, CA. Additional information is available at

Members of the media can register for the Summit in by contacting Christy Pettey, Gartner Public Relations, at +1 408.468.8312 or at

Additional information from the event will be shared on Twitter at and at #GartnerWireless.

About Gartner:
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the indispensable partner to 60,000 clients in 10,000 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 4,000 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants in 80 countries. For more information, visit


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