Asentinel reduces costs and improves the efficiency of mobile device service contracts  

 The company’s mobility management service relieves you of the need to haggle with cellular provides


This column is available in a weekly newsletter called IT Best Practices.  Click here to subscribe.  

If I brought up the term "mobility management" you'd probably think I was talking about BYOD and managing how workers can securely access applications and data via their smart phones. That's the aspect of mobility that IT usually has to deal with. But there's also an administrative aspect to mobility management that can be a real pain – and a big expense – for companies if it's not done well.

I'm referring to the contract management aspect of company-provided mobile devices. Companies that pay for their employees' device contracts through expense reports are missing an opportunity to reduce administrative hassles and save quite a bit of money.

You'd be hard pressed today to find a company that doesn't allow or even require employees to use some type of mobile device – phone or tablet – to conduct business. It might be to take calls, respond to email, or access productivity applications. Some companies tell employees to use their personally-owned devices and file expense reports for ongoing costs. Other companies tell employees they can choose the device but the the company will pay for it and own it. For this latter scenario, Asentinel provides the opportunity for real efficiencies through its mobility management service

The Asentinel service organizes, manages and optimizes mobile device service contracts with cellular telecom companies like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and others. The company says its service helps customers get more value out of their contracts and save money while doing so.

Asentinel focuses on the types of things that companies should be doing to manage these contracts, but which often are neglected or are handled by multiple departments or multiple people internally. It's quite common for companies to just pay the cellular bills that are put in front of them, rather than considering the myriad ways to cut costs and provide a better user experience to employees. Asentinel says it changes the equation from reacting to costs, to preventing cost and inefficiencies in support of mobile devices.

Let me give you a few examples and use cases. I'll start with one I personally experienced when I traveled to The Netherlands for business. My cell phone contract is through AT&T. I wanted to be able to use my phone during my week-long stay there. I had to research the contract options with AT&T on my own. I found a service that would give me coverage in The Netherlands for a month. I didn't need a month's worth of coverage but a shorter period was not an option. I had to contact AT&T to arrange the service. (I tried to do it via their website but couldn't complete my order, necessitating a call to the customer service department—always a joy.) AT&T asked for my desired coverage days and arranged my international calling service for a full month around those days. The cost included a flat fee plus a per-call fee.

If I hadn't prearranged this service, I might have been able to use my phone in The Netherlands anyway, but the roaming charges would have been outrageous. It would have been a big shock to my normal monthly bill.

Now, extrapolate this for a good sized company that has a lot of traveling employees. How much time do they waste prearranging their service plans? How much do they spend on international plans that are used only on occasion? Or worse, how much does it cost when people don't make arrangements in advance and simply incur the incredibly expensive roaming charges?

The Asentinel service can allow employees to go into a portal and simply enter their travel dates and destinations. Asentinel will figure out the best service option at the best price to meet the employees' needs. If a traveling employee doesn't want to or forgets to prearrange international service, Asentinel will pick up the fact that he's traveling based on billing and usage data extracted on a 24-hour cycle. Asentinel sees that the employee doesn't have the right plan and automatically makes adjustments so that the service can be backdated in the billing cycle. When the bill posts, the company is on the most economical plan for that person.

The same principle applies domestically as well, especially for data plans. People can easily exceed their allotted data plan and drive costs up. Asentinel provides visibility into usage and notifications before problems occur. Asentinel also can arrange a sort of "family plan" for the entire organization to pool the available coverage. Each employee can be allocated, say, 5 GB of data per month out of the plan. If someone is maxing out his usage, an administrator can get an alert in order to make adjustments.  Asentinel will look for ways to minimize the cost while preserving the user experience.

It's not necessary for a company to use just one cellular service provider under an Asentinel service agreement. Asentinel is able to collect and aggregate all usage and cost information from however many mobile service providers a company uses and bring the information into a single pane of glass. What's more, all of this usage and cost data is up to date and not a month's billing cycle behind.

Asentinel handles all servicing needs such as provisioning/de-provisioning devices from plans, upgrading devices, adjusting coverage in plans, and so on. Asentinel's service is integrated with Workday for HR functions (like setting up new employees when they onboard) and ServiceNow for trouble tickets.

Now, about those cost savings I mentioned earlier. Asentinel says it provides a linear ROI, with cost savings ranging from 1X to 3X what a company pays Asentinel to manage the contracts. This doesn't take into account the improved user experience.

Implementation involves a straightforward agreement. The customer provides Asentinel with the carrier logins and signs a letter of agreement that gives Asentinel the right to act on the company's behalf with the carrier(s). With this information, Asentinel can begin collecting the necessary cellular contract and usage information to begin the management process.

This type of solution seems like a no-brainer. Give the headaches of managing your mobile device contracts over to someone else, and save money to boot. 

Must read: Hidden Cause of Slow Internet and how to fix it
View Comments
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies