What is MEM? How can mobile expense management help organizations?

By Jonathan Crowl

The growth of mobile technology within enterprises hasn’t come without growing pains for organizations. As smartphones and tablets proliferate, they create a range of new efficiencies and opportunities to improve productivity and worker satisfaction. However, they also require new systems for management, especially when it comes to controlling device costs.

Mobile expense management (MEM) is the obvious solution to this problem. However, what is MEM? For enterprises, it’s an all-but-essential layer of technology. Through the use of MEM software, enterprises can reduce and manage the costs that come with a mobile infrastructure. Those costs can be surprising in terms of both their sources and their volume. Not only do the devices themselves present an additional cost, but data management, security and IT also add to the total costs associated with enterprise mobility.

These associated costs can make mobility intimidating, but that’s the beauty of MEM. When implemented properly, it can pay for itself — and more.

Areas of application

MEM is a subset of larger telecom expense management operations, which govern a range of communications technologies, such as voice communication bandwidth that predates the rise of mobile technology. MEM offers real-time analysis of expenses and data usage, and this information can be examined by looking at the overall organization’s expenditures or by analyzing the behaviors of specific departments and/or individuals.

According to TechTarget, MEM is an effective solution for preventing billing errors, auditing costs, strengthening the security of inter-employee communications and ensuring enterprise policies are enforced. Devices can be monitored and tracked within a system, ensuring the hardware doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. If it does, MEM makes it easy to remotely disable the device, protecting any software and/or proprietary information that may otherwise be accessed.

A good MEM solutions provider will anticipate that the associated cost savings can more or less pay for the cost of the services. That fiscal benefit comes in addition to improved productivity and security enabled by the software solution.

Download Gartner report on managed mobility services

Impact on workflow

Cost savings aren’t the only way organizations benefit from MEM. With better management infrastructure, organizations can expand the possibilities of their workforce. A strong MEM solution makes offsite and remote work easier to execute, which services a range of employee functions, whether they’re traveling for work or working from home. Expense-related processes can proceed unaffected by this travel, relieving one strain of a mobile workforce.

Meanwhile, MEM improves efficiency across several departments and enables less administrative work, fewer paper trails and quicker collection and management of expense reports. Every employee connected to these processes can benefit from the time savings. HR and administrative staff can see dramatic decreases in their demands as well.

With mobility management being easy to apply to remote workers, IT departments can ensure company policies are enforced, regardless of where workers go. That will help enterprises manage security concerns and mobile device behaviors while also ensuring workers keep in line with any industry regulations.

Because it’s a fairly new technology, many employees will likely approach management to ask, “What is MEM?” as the new management system is installed. For enterprises bringing the solution to new workers, it’s smart to lead with the benefits for those workers, emphasizing the increased productivity, boosted time savings and fewer headaches associated with tracking and managing expenses. Given those benefits, it’s hard to see workers being anything but elated.