Mobile is often characterized as a consumer-facing service, but in fact it is central to how people and corporations work. Mobile services tend to center on individuals, but they span all of the aspects of an individual’s lifestyle. This is part of why BYOD is growing as a trend, but that trend creates challenges for individual users and enterprises when they have to account separately for personal and business usage. (Check out our video on this topic)
Uri Gurevitz, cross portfolio marketing manager for Amdocs explains that as his company has engaged operators and conducted research relating to tools and services mobile operators offer to enterprises, they’ve identified a disconnect. “Both sides agree that service and support are the most important considerations when choosing a service provider…but the operators said they were giving great support and enterprises said ‘we’re not getting…what we were expecting,’” Gurevitz says.
BYOD exacerbates this disconnect because in order for enterprises to account for and properly expense employee’s business usage of mobile devices, they often must require employees to audit bills manually. To offload or overcome this burden, corporations have begun “pressuring service providers for separation between business and employee plans,” says Gurevitz.
Companies want employees to be able to bring their own devices, but want operators to accommodate the trend with service models that allow multiple subscriptions – business and personal – to be assigned to any device. Those subscriptions would also be “completely separate in terms, conditions, and pricing,” explains Gurevitz. Within this approach, it would also make sense that an individual’s personal plan would be under his or her control, and could be associated with a family plan, for instance. Similarly, the business subscription would be under corporate control and could tap into pooled corporate service packages.
Usage Accounting Maturity Curve
In the meantime, Gurevitz says he sees operators working on multiple options to make life easier for enterprises and their employees when it comes to auditing the usage on their monthly bills. The emerging options may represent a maturity curve that includes:
– Manual auditing: The burden is on the user, but some online tools are offered to make it easier to tag usage on an invoice.
– Corporate Address Book: The online tool cross-references the corporate address book and tags any calls made to numbers found in it as business usage.
– Learning Apps: The online tool would learn month-over-month how repeat numbers were tagged in previous months. It could also leverage the corporate address book approach. Then the user only has to audit the leftovers.
– App Containers: Different types of apps that are used are identified beforehand as business apps; anything else is personal. This is important not only for accounting, but also so that the network can meet QoS and SLA requirements or provide necessary security.
– Toggle Apps: These allow the individual to toggle between personal and business mode while using the device, identifying any subsequent usage correctly and providing it with the required treatment from the network.