A report from T3i suggests service providers for wireless equipment/expense management can reap a potential windfall due to an information gap.
According to research conducted by telecommunications industry analyst T3i
Group, a "golden opportunity" exists for service providers that include
wireless equipment/expense management services in their offerings. The report
found few businesses have a WEM program in place today, for reasons spanning
from budgeting and the economy to not enough information to make an educated
decision, and that service providers that can provide answers and hard numbers
as to why companies need WEM will reap the benefits.
The report, "Managing the Company's Wireless Gear: Putting Wireless
Equipment/Expense Management (WEM) to Work," analyzes how enterprise and small
to midsize business decision-makers keep track of and account for employee
equipment, how they ensure it works on their systems, how they secure their
wireless gear and networks, why WEM targeting wireless devices need to be part
of a company's IT and/or accounting department, what services are available in
the WEM marketplace, and which enterprises and SMBs already have deployed
successful WEM programs. It also details myriad reasons why a majority of
businesses have not deployed a WEM program-a situation T3i said may end up
costing them time, money, network security and staff productivity in the near
In its poll of decision-makers at domestic and international enterprises and
SMBs, T3i Group found that only 5 percent of survey respondents have a WEM
program in place. The vast majority of respondents were not considering WEM
anytime in the foreseeable future.
The study suggests that hosted-service providers be prepared to demonstrate,
in hard numbers, just how much money an enterprise or SMB can save by having a
WEM expert handle billing and procurement duties, and how much productivity can
be boosted by deploying the right portable wireless gear. They also should be
ready to assess a company's wireless local area network (WLAN) for any possible
breaches and/or slowdowns due to inadequate security monitoring procedures or
poor employee training procedures.
Debra Baker, vice president and managing editor at T3i and the author of the
report, said many of the reasons why today's businesses are not taking
advantage of WEM are valid, including budget constraints, too few wireless
portables to worry about and only certain employees are allowed to use wireless
gear. "However, too many decision-makers admitted they don't know much about
WEM or they don't see the benefits at this time," she said. "Others said they
hadn't experienced such things as high billing costs, lost or stolen gear, or
Baker said the growing cost and complexity of wireless services and gear
weighs in as one of the top five expenses for most businesses today and, thus,
one more line item that needs to be pared in this current economy. Accounting
departments or CTOs must decide whether to contract with a wireless carrier for
all business needs and enforce that policy or reimburse individuals who use
their own plans. "What we do know is that respondents who are on board with WEM
are reaping the benefits, and service providers need to craft a better message
to reach those business leaders who are desperate for information," she
said. "The challenge right now is getting the right evangelism in place to
educate SMBs and enterprises."
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.