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  • Writer's pictureRod Love

Getting rid of Business Mobile Phones – forward thinking cost saving or false economy?

KPMG’s recent announcement that staff are to hand back business mobile phones, if they do not work out of hours or at clients’ offices, under a need to cut cost got me thinking. Is this a sign of a firm recognising that the rise in the use of Wifi based technologies like WhatsApp, Facetime and MS Messenger etc… making the need for costly mobile phone contracts redundant, or is it a false economy that could cost the business more in higher expenses claims and growing staff disenchantment?

Many companies around the world have been using policy of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for years, however any expected cost savings often are not from the reduced hardware and administration costs, but from the fact that employees cannot be bothered to submit expenses claims forms for the calls they do make on company business. If they did claim in almost all the cases the firm would be paying more for the calls as the personal tariffs would not be as advantageous as the existing company agreement.

If staff have access to a Wifi network anyone can make calls worldwide free of charge and the move by KPMG could be a canny way to embrace new ways of communicating and realising a cost saving at the same time. However, there is of course the additional question is this a secure way for businesses to be communicating?

In my experience of buying these services over the years, mobile phones along with Travel are very emotive topics for employees. It reflects how the business values its staff. Taking away the phones and requiring them use their own for business purposes can, if not handled sensitively, have a detrimental effect on morale. It blurs the line between their work and personal life, and it could be a sign of worse things to come (KPMG is going to cut 30% of its admin staff).

What do you think – will firms who go down this route, be justified in saving costs, or will they end up paying more in terms of expenses and more importantly on morale?

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About the author

Rod Love – is an experienced Procurement director with a track record of 25 years working for global organisations in Financial Services, Insurance, Technology, Telecoms and Government. He specialises in operating process improvements, SRM/Vendor Management, 3rd party cost reduction, Supply chain, HR, Marketing, Travel services and large Procurement projects.

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