I suspect most people have at some point in their career heard (or perhaps uttered) the phrase ‘It’s alright, I’ll just claim it back on expenses’ or ‘don’t worry the company is paying for it.’
Employees will often assume business rates for telecoms, electricity or printing are probably cheaper than consumer rates. "My company spends so much on services... will:
- calling home
- leaving this turned on overnight
- printing out these invites to my Tibetan throat singing evening...
really make a difference?"
The problem for enterprises is that these costs do add up. So how can you change this culture? How can you reduce employee spending?
One major barrier is that the employees can't see their costs adding up. For some services they don't see the costs at all.
This is particularly the case when it comes to telecoms. There's a disconnect between employees and their company phone bills.
In our Telecom Expense Management solution, devices and invoices are assigned to individual employees. Fixed and mobile bills are made visible to the employee by 'My Spend' emails, and from access to a limited version of our portal. Managers are able to see the usage and spend of the employees working under them.
Administrators of the TEM solution can target the big overspenders. But the less obvious - and perhaps more lucrative application - is lowering usage for the average employee.
Image: An Example of a typical MDSL My Spend Email
We've seen My Spend have a positive impact on telecom usage costs. Perhaps the important question is how much? - comparing data before and after My Spend is implemented, we normally see a reduction in usage cost of about 10%, and a drastic reduction in non-business usage types. But the more interesting question is why does this happen?
- The end-user can see what they’re spending – Visibility allows the employee to understand and appreciate what their phone services cost. “Did I really spend that much on roaming during my business trip abroad?” Without any need for discipline or orders, you will see improvements from the more conscientious of your employees.
- The end user can compare spending to previous months - and has a quasi-gamified incentive to beat their performance from last month.
- The end-user can compare their spending with their colleagues - A good benchmark for usage, and nobody wants to be the highest spender in their team.
- The end-user’s management can see what they’re spending - rather than the company's TEM person or team trying to ensure every employee is using only what they require to perform their job, responsibility can be passed on to individual managers via My Team Spend
- They know you know that they know… what they’re spending - Self-explanatory really. Isn't it...?
So can this system be applied to other services?
The big advantage we have in our industry is the availability and accuracy of data - services can be assigned to individual users. We have the ability to do the same for Print Expense Management, though it's not so far been widely adopted.
There's certainly potential in other areas. Do your employees receive a summary of their business expenses each month or year? What impact would this visibility have on their future expenses claims?
Perhaps with the growing availability of cheap smart meters a similar system can be applied to electricity costs. The initial hardware cost may be more intensive – each employee may require their own individual metered power strip to ensure accurate data. But the ecological implications may help to boost employee adoption and interest.
Generally, if you can measure it and allocate/assign it, it's highly likely you can cut usage with end-user reporting.
Find out about other features of our Telecom Expense Management Solution by clicking the button below: