What is Wireless Expense Management (WEM)?

As a companion to our “What is telecom expense management” post, here is a discussion of what wireless expense management entails, with help from from our trade association TEMIA.

What is Wireless Expense Management (WEM)?

Wireless Expense Management (WEM) is a subsection of Telecom Expense Management (TEM) with a focus on wireless services and mobile devices. The goals for WEM programs are similar to TEM programs. They seek to proactively reduce expenses, establish new operational efficiencies, increase visibility and provide better control for mobile voice and data services.

Client demand for specialized services to address mobile expenses, which are distinct from TEM, and the complexity of mobile services led to adoption of the WEM acronym. Each focus area for the WEM area has components that are unique for wireless services.  Some vendors perform all WEM functions, while others specialize in distinct service areas.

  • Sourcing initiatives must evaluate service coverage, plans, types of smartphones that are available to employees, and replacement costs for damaged devices.
  • Matching the monthly service plan to employee usage is critical. Ongoing optimization must ensure that employees are on the appropriate service plans to avoid overage charges, unused voice minutes or data allotments.
  • Carriers may offer pooling for voice and separate plans to pool employees’ data services. The most cost effective plan depends on employee consumption and comparisons of pooling to unlimited service plan costs.
  • When traveling outside a mobile device’s home network, foreign network roaming agreements provide voice and data services with roaming charges which can lead to bill shock from unexpected charges. WEM programs can proactively find more cost effective service providers, alternative technology or use real time reporting to proactively warn users of expenses avoid bill shock.
  • Reporting on individual consumption and chargeback can raise employees’ awareness of costs and get them to reduce their usage.
  • WEM programs can use data from HR feeds and wireless carrier usage to identify unused lines and disconnect services when employees leave the company.
  • WEM programs identify and proactively notify managers of devices assigned to former employees that have no use at 60 or 90 day increments enabling organizations to disconnect the device, saving the company additional money.
  • Aggressively negotiating wireless contracts is a key component to a WEM program, and one that often generates the most cost savings.  Wireless contracts generally cover a long time span, and a good contract negotiator can deliver not only attractive pricing, but flexible terms and conditions that make managing a wireless environment much easier.

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