By Gary Bolles  |  Posted 2003-10-22 Print this article Print


Software can help ease the pain of tracking policies and billing.

The process of managing mobile data policies and ferreting out wireless data costs may seem daunting. But there are software and services that can automate many of these steps, turning a potential accounting nightmare into a relatively straightforward exercise in financial discipline.

Such applications can help companies set up use policies, linking users to appropriate plans and alerting business managers if employees exceed their allocations. They can also compare billing against use to determine if the company has been overbilled. Its possible to perform these tasks manually, but users say that communications cost management is most effective when its automated. "Having a tool to do that is very important," maintains IHCs Wilhelmi.

The complexity—and the value—of installing such software depends on issues like the number of vendors youre using and the kinds of links you require to your accounting systems. Smaller companies that are unsure if they can afford to manage an in-house application can use outsourcers for everything from hosting to handling carrier negotiations. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to receive bills in electronic format. Some carriers support bill transmission by EDI, while others send CDs with spreadsheets. Smaller local carriers are likely to provide paper only.

Armed with good data, however, youre on a far more even footing with carriers, who in the past held all the information cards. You might even be willing to accept slightly higher rates for your wireless data contracts if it means youll be more assured of easier accounting.

Ask Your Software Guru:
  • How difficult would it be to integrate telecom management applications into our ERP and other systems?
    Ask Your Line Managers:
  • Would better visibility of wireless costs help us budget better?
    Tell Your Accounting Department:
  • We should partner on reviewing telecom cost management applications and services. Next page: Standards.

    Gary Bolles Gary A. Bolles is the Editorial Director for Ziff Davis Media's Custom Conference Group. He is responsible for directing the group's editorial efforts, ensuring the quality of the content it delivers, and moderating and speaking at client events. A frequent lecturer and keynote speaker on a variety of technology topics, he has hosted more than 50 events in the past year alone.

    Bolles was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Interactive Week, developing its unique vision, the founding editorial director of Sm@rt Reseller magazine, creating the publication from initial research, and the founding Editorial Director of Yahoo! Internet Life, managing its successful launch. Bolles was also the Editor-in-Chief of Network Computing Magazine, and for one year was the host of 'Working the Web' for TechTV, covering a wide variety of technology-related topics. Until recently, he was a contributing editor to CIO Insight, writing on a broad range of technology subjects, and assisting in the coordination of the publication's research efforts.

    Bolles is the former Chief Operating Officer of Evolve Software, Inc., and the former VP of Marketing for Network Products Corporation. He has served as a marketing consultant to a variety of organizations, and has advised a number of software startup companies in arenas such as online marketing and data mining.

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