Saving Money on Mobility
Why companies do not change wireless vendors to cut costs.
Recently, I was asked about how companies could reduce their ongoing mobility expenses. In particular, can companies save money by switching wireless vendors? People see current wireless ads, showing one vendor touting its less expensive pricing compared to others, and they are curious how often companies change wireless vendors to save money.
My response surprised them. Companies rarely change vendors to save money, even if they can save tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. The next question is, why not? The answer is that, while theoretically this is a simple change and should be done, in the real word, there are a several obstacles that make such a change impractical.
The first reason is inertia, the state of inactivity. HQ IT/Telecom departments are often understaffed and have a hard enough time just trying to maintain current services (i.e. dealing with day-to-day issues). The thought of breaking out of this status quo and initiating a brand new project is unrealistic and almost laughable; it is akin to a drowning man, barely keeping his head above water, requesting an anvil.
The second reason is the amount of work and hassle involved in changing vendors. The project requires a lot of planning and resources. From communicating the change to your users, working out the logistics of exchanging phones and/or cards, chasing down users who are reluctant to the change, coordinating the cutover with wireless vendors, maintaining existing phone numbers, etc. - it is a major project, fraught with landmines.
The third, and perhaps most important reason to not go forward, is internal/organizational politics. There is simply too much risk in changing wireless vendors.
Unlike any other company provided product or benefit, mobile devices are unique. Your employees "personalize" their mobility service, and making any changes opens you (HQ) up to unwanted attention and scrutiny. Your employees do not care who provides your long distance, or who you use for your data network. However, they do care who is providing their wireless service. There is a perceived "qualitative" difference among wireless vendors, and you are "messing around" with their ability to conduct their work.
The closest example is changing company cars. If you replace your Lexus executive company cars with Chevrolets, you are playing with fire. Even though both vehicles "do the job," try convincing your end user executives of this.
Let's assume you changed from Verizon to Sprint. At the first dropped call or poor quality call, your users will complain that the new service is poorer. Never mind that they may have experienced the same rate of issues with the previous vendor. The important factor is they became used to this with the previous vendor and didn't complain. However, now with a new vendor, they have a heightened awareness of problems and will complain. Now multiply this by the majority of your users and you can become swamped with complaints in a short period of time.
Eventually your users will become accustomed to the new service. However your group will leave a "bad taste" with some of the most important people within the company. People will blame you for a decrease in productivity (i.e. missing sales goals) due to poor quality calls, dropped calls, inability to obtain coverage, etc. It doesn't take much for the IT/Telecom group to develop a poor reputation (i.e. ill-conceived projects, poor customer service, long response times, out of touch image, etc.).
Finally, there is historical perspective. Years ago, when wireless services were relatively new, a HQ group would have changed vendors. However, once going through the massive headaches and blowback of such a change, they swore off ever doing this again. Once burned, twice shy.
Thus, in our auditing practice, we will not analyze savings by changing wireless vendors. Regardless of the amount of savings, it simply will not be done.
By the way, your wireless vendor(s) know this "secret" (i.e. after all the huffing and puffing, you will remain with them) and are reluctant to make any serious deals/concessions. As in any negotiations, you lose a lot of leverage when the other side knows you will not walk away.
All is not lost, however, and there are ways to understand and obtain better wireless pricing.
To learn more about mobility pricing, be sure to attend the Enterprise Connect session, "Capitalizing on the New Mobile Pricing Plans."
Learn more about mobility trends and technologies at Enterprise Connect 2016, March 7 to 10, in Orlando, Fla. View the Mobility track sessions; register now using the code NJPOST to receive $200 off the current conference price.
"SCTC Perspectives" is written by members of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants, an international organization of independent information and communications technology professionals serving clients in all business sectors and government worldwide.