that resides on the mobile device, which along with an MDM solution, actively manages the usage of minutes, text messages and roaming with real-time alerts. MDM solutions include the ability to remotely wipe the devices if they are lost, and to provide greater security for sensitive data. These solutions span both the security and WEM domains by monitoring device usage and user activities in real time.

Maximum Benefits and Minimal Risk

So how does a government get started? There are key steps to lay the groundwork for success and minimized risks. Agencies or departments should first develop a wireless policy in conjunction with the selected WEM solution, which covers a wide range of items: who receives which devices, personal versus official use, usage while driving, device refresh, and the responsible person or entity for different types of charges. The policy will then drive the key capabilities of the WEM solution, such as end-user call tagging and shopping levels.

The next step is evaluating the organization's costs. End-to-end WEM solutions typically cost 5 to 8 percent of total wireless spend, and savings typically measure 10 to 35 percent of the wireless spend. However, to measure the WEM initiative's impact, take time to calculate the average cost per voice minute, cost per text and cost per kilobyte of data for each of the primary wireless carriers. These are key measures needed to calculate the overall benefit of the program. A less useful, but more easily available metric, is "service cost per device per month" because tracking this number over time will not account for increasing usage.

Another important step is determining whether the TEM program will be deployed outside in or inside out. "Outside in" refers to a solution whose initial focus is the end-user experience, particularly for wireless ordering and a portal-enabled help desk. The rationale is that if the device is procured according to policy, then a lot of unnecessary costs are eliminated up front. This approach will deliver the most value in a situation where, for example, employees are buying phones and plans from retail outlets or where an organization is making the transition from employee-liable devices to agency-liable devices. Once the end-user is pulled into the new process, future phases can focus on the core WEM processes around invoice processing, plan optimization and cost allocation.

"Inside out" refers to a solution that initially centers on pulling together all the invoices and inventory and ensuring accuracy. The idea is that there are significant savings to be found just by consolidating invoices and implementing bigger pools. These savings can then be applied to fund future phases. This approach will typically yield the biggest bang for the buck, but it's important to follow through with an end-to-end telecom life cycle management solution to yield the greatest overall return on investment. Organizations usually engage in one of these approaches -- outside in or inside out -- rather than both at the same time.

Government Readiness for WEM

Hundreds of different telecom and wireless managers at the federal, state and local levels have expressed their desire to implement world-class wireless WEM for their organizations. However, many of them are spending the majority of their time just trying to pay the invoices on time. Furthermore, it's often difficult to find the one manager whose job responsibility it is to handle both procurement and costs. Because the goal of WEM is to remove time-intensive and inefficient processes by automating the mundane tasks and allowing key personnel to focus on savings and implement processes needed for success, public CIOs are well positioned to implement WEM to drive both short- and long-term benefits for their organizations.


Christopher Corr  | 
Christopher Corr is director of government accounts at Rivermine. He can be reached at