Deloitte South Africa has slashed its annual mobile voice and data bill by 26% thanks to Nebula’s Enterprise Mobile Management Services (EMMS). The company has also improved operational efficiencies will result in far bigger savings thanks to reduced administration and internal support costs.

The cloud-based mobile monitoring and lifecycle management platform gives companies, for the first time, the ability to get handle on their mobile devices, SIM cards, contracts and spend, in real time and across all service providers.

This gives companies the knowledge and insight they need to make strategic business decisions about their mobile spend, from extending data bundles, to down- or upgrading service plans, to choosing the best combination of service providers, and even buying out their current contracts in favour of a better deal elsewhere.

When Jacques Barkhuizen stepped into his role as CIO at Deloitte SA last year, the top concern from almost 100 business leaders was the lack of visibility over cell phone contracts. Deloitte has around 4 000 employees across South Africa and cell phone bills could easily escalate with no warning from the service providers, with out-of-bundle data rates and roaming fees being the biggest culprits.

“We were flying blind and had to take control of this landscape. With Nebula’s EMMS, we have real time visibility on what is happening, allowing us to make strategic decisions and changes before we get the bill at the end of the month. In the first month we reduced our overall cost by R 342,822 per month, simply by monitoring what was going on,” says Barkhuizen.

“Today’s professionals need to be connected when they are on the go, but companies simply have no central view over what is happening,” says Daniel Nel, Nebula founder and CEO.

“But this leads to two challenges, firstly keeping track of where assets are, whether they are being used and allocating costs to the relevant department; and secondly proactively managing spend and service provider selection to avoid a nasty surprise at the end of the month when nothing can be done about an enormous bill except coughing up and paying.”

“Smartphones are very chatty,” says Barkhuizen. “Not only updates, which you can control, but legitimate business apps that need to connect back to the enterprise. And when we roll out Deloitte’s suite of mobile apps, data use is only going to increase. Mobilisation is a double-edged sword, it increases effectiveness and efficiency, while your mobile data costs escalate.”

However, with Nebula’s EMMS platform, Deloitte can monitor, track and manage costs. It can allocate data and telephony costs to individual users per cost centre, as well as distinguish between private use and business costs.

In brief, the Nebula EMMS platform interfaces directly with South African mobile services providers on the one hand, and on the other, with the enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and processes used by Deloitte.

This provides Deloitte with an aggregated single view of mobile spend, mapped against cost centres and HR information. The interface with the service providers is a two-way street, allowing Deloitte to make changes from within the EMMS platform.

Some of the actions Barkhuizen has been able to take thanks to this unprecedented multi-vendor visibility include identifying and reallocating SIM cards that were being paid for but not used, extending data bundles when limits were reached, shifting users to fixed APNs and changing packages in order to optimise spend. In addition, with a single click he can view the buy-out value of all mobile contracts.

In Deloitte SA’s case, the business units see the savings in terms of reduced spend each month, and will have the ability to reallocate these funds to other projects.