Not everyone is committed to your business for life, and that’s okay. When someone leaves for pastures new, you wish them well and scrub them off the payroll. But are you also scrubbing their data package and user accounts?  

When someone leaves the company, the HR and IT teams are quick to grab their laptop and smartphone, wiping everything clean to make sure the employee cannot log in using old credentials and is not a walking-talking security breach. 

But what happens then? Does someone actively remove that user from the mobile tariff? Does anyone know which subscriptions and cloud-based software services the employee has access to? Is there a systematic follow up from a costs perspective?   

In an ideal world, the answer is ‘yes’ – you wipe the now ex-employee from the cost base before Elvis has even left the building. 

Too bad that we don’t live in an ideal world.

Who are you paying for?

When you buy a commercial mobile phone contract or a subscription service like Microsoft 365, what you get and how much you pay depends on how many people you have using the service. For instance, you may be paying £20 per user, per month for Google’s G Suite. Or you may be paying a mobile tariff that includes smartphones and airtime for 50 people – one phone for each of your employees.

This works great when you have minimal staff turnover, or you’re lucky enough to replace every employee who leaves within a few short weeks. Then you can set and forget your subscriptions, safe in the knowledge that you’re always paying for the right amount of users.   

Problem is, few of us inhabit that world. Right now, we’re hearing from a lot of businesses that, due to COVID furloughs or other factors, are inspecting their connectivity cost base for the first time in …well, ever. And what they’re discovering is dozens of employees who left the business years ago, but whose mobile and SaaS accounts have never been removed. 

Now as diligent researchers, we tried to find out exactly how many shiny British pounds businesses might be losing each year on subscriptions and tariffs for ex-employees. But we got nowhere, fast – stymied perhaps by the fact that businesses are just too embarrassed to report this data!

Anecdotally, we know of one business that had 30 employees and over 60 live accounts. For G Suite Enterprise alone, that would be an excess bill of £600 per month for services they’re not even using. Yikes.

Is it them or is it you? 

Who’s to blame for you paying over the odds for your connectivity? Let’s start with your contracts – some accounts will tie you into a certain tariff for a couple of years with no ability to change the number of users until the lock-in period is up. There’s not much you can do about this other than ride out the contract, then shop around for more flexible options that allow for mid-contract upgrades and downgrades in the future.

Most times though, it isn’t the contract that’s holding people hostage – it’s your internal administration or lack thereof. An eye-wateringly low number of businesses take the time to audit the company’s communication and digital footprint whenever a staff member leaves. How many companies even keep a log of the work-related tools that an employee has access to, such as GotoMeeting accounts or Amazon Web Services? Too few, really.

In larger organisations, carrying spare handsets and user licences is not a bad thing. It’s useful to have a pool of devices ready to go and available for seasonal hires and temporary staff, or to tie a new arrival over until their equipment arrives.  

In smaller organisations though, redundant phones and subscriptions are leeching cash that could be put to better use elsewhere in the business. Improving your profitability starts with building a leaner, more responsive cost base. That means reviewing your connectivity spend on a regular basis, and making sure your outgoings align with your usage and needs. 

Get optimised for success!

Whatever the size of your business, it’s wise to put in place a process that audits all of your tariffs and subscriptions and keeps them ‘clean’ on a regular basis. It should be someone’s job to go through and cancel old user accounts and handsets, or transfer them to another user. The specifics will vary depending on the type of subscriptions and tariffs you have, but the main thrust is that you review your expenditures with an eye for cost prevention at least once a quarter.  

De-commissioning employees from tariffs is a very manual process. Unless you plan for it, no one is going to do it.  

If your internal team is feeling a little stretched, or an audit sounds like your idea of a bureaucratic number-crunching nightmare, then panic not. We have services to help you track this sort of thing. At TFM, we perform quarterly in-depth connectivity analyses for all of our clients who want it. The audit covers all your business usage such as calling patterns, roaming charges, text and data usage, to help you figure out if you’re spending over the odds, and whether there are easy savings to be made. 

As part of this exercise, we correlate our clients’ tariffs and subscriptions costs with the number of users they have each month to make sure they’re not still paying for an offboarded employee. 

Sounds good? To find out how a quarterly account review could give you the competitive edge you need, get in touch with one of our specialist advisors today. We’ll show you where you could be saving money!