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Confessions of a Technology Outlaw

I have a confession. I am one of those employees that drive I.T. departments and technology expense managers crazy. That’s right, I am a technology outlaw.

Two months ago, I resigned my position at a different employer and began preparations to join Tangoe. Of course, I had to clean out my locker. This took me 2 days as I’d accumulated an impressive amount of “stuff” in my 12 years there. I had several folders of documents I’d printed so I could refer to them as needed (I never did). I found the brand new pair of sneakers I brought in so I could walk during lunch (didn’t do that either) and a disturbingly large stack of napkins. I’m not sure why I had so many napkins, but I have a vague sense that my napkin hoarding was likely having a negative effect on the cafeteria’s profit margins. As I got to the back of the locker, I found a cell phone. I had a moment of confusion as my company-issued cell phone was in my pocket so, where did this phone come from?

It took a few days before I remembered. I had gotten the phone one year earlier when a member of my team left the company. I collected his laptop, ID badge, corporate credit card and his cell phone. I returned the laptop and ID badge to the I.T. and building administration departments and I destroyed the credit card as instructed. However, I could not find instructions on what to do with the cell phone so I threw it in my locker and made a mental note to research who/where to return the device the next day. Of course, distracted with my day-to-day tasks, I completely forgot about the phone until two months ago. Now what do I do? I am a little ashamed to admit that I didn’t try to find a home for the phone. I threw it my box, went home, and vowed never to admit my crime.

So why confess now? I blame Tangoe. Working at Tangoe and the technology expense management (TEM) industry has opened my eyes to the challenges companies face in keeping track of corporate assets and technology expenditure and gaining the compliance of employees. Behavior such as mine has a business cost.

Looking back on my past behavior, the errant cell phone was just the tip of the iceberg. Over the years I signed up for paid versions of YouSendIt (which became Hightail) before I moved on to Drop Box. I had a SurveyMonkey account and eventually added MailChimp to the mix so I could circumvent corporate email restrictions. I paid for my subscriptions with my credit card and would submit the expense for reimbursement. I used the same process when I needed to purchase an iPad quickly for an event. I never once contacted IT about my requirements or my purchases. In truth, I didn’t even know how to find out what corporate resources were available. And selfishly, I didn’t want to jump through IT’s hoops just to get a tool I legitimately needed to do my job.

And I was not the only culprit. Most of my colleagues were doing the same thing. My SurveyMonkey habit was particularly bad because we had a corporate-provided survey tool. It just wasn’t as easy to use as SurveyMonkey. And, I did not have the spare time to learn how to use a new tool. Did I mention how busy I was? I later learned there were two other people in the marketing department with SurveyMonkey accounts. We could have been sharing one account all along. When I extrapolate this across the entire organization, the amount of waste in the company is astounding. It’s no wonder then that cloud expenses are the fastest growing, yet least managed technology expense.

I understand now how essential it is for companies to employ a solution to track, manage and optimize all technology assets. And how difficult employees like me make this task. Technology expense management is easier to implement for fixed and mobile telecom. It is a more mature field and most Fortune 500 companies have already implemented industry best practices. According to IDC, 89% of global enterprise organizations have adopted a formal telecom expense management solution managed by a third party[1].

Most enterprises also have some form of managed mobility services in place although based on my example, many companies lack an end-to-end solution that spans the entire technology lifecycle from requesting a new mobile device to decommissioning of the old device. And, it seems these enterprises recognize there is a missing piece of the puzzle. In fact, 66% of U.S. enterprises anticipating investing more in enterprise mobility management in the next 12-18 months.[2] So there is movement towards companies exercising tighter control over their mobility hardware, software and services expenditures.

Cloud services (especially SaaS) remain the biggest challenge for enterprises today. It is so easy (too easy) for individual employees to sign up for these services and SaaS providers profit from this. It’s the core of their business model. Most TEM providers lack a solution that adequately supports all the types of technology assets deployed in a typical enterprise. This is a key differentiator for Tangoe. Tangoe’s Atlas™ platform provides visibility and control of fixed and mobile telecom, cloud services, unified communications and collaboration services, IoT and many more.

Be sure to check out part II of this series where I share how you can outsmart technology renegades like me in your organization.


[1] Worldwide – Telecom Expense Management Survey – 2018, IDC, April 2018

[2] IDC 2017 U.S. Enterprise Mobility Decision Maker Survey