How are WEM and MMS different from TEM?

Wireless Expense Management (WEM), Managed Mobility Services (MMS), and Telecom Expense Management (TEM) are related but they are not the same. WEM grew out of TEM, applying basic expense management practices to mobile devices and services; TEM covers landline connectivity and assets. At their respective cores, both TEM and WEM are about tracking, monitoring, managing and, when applicable, reducing costs. Yet, MMS picks up where WEM leaves off, because WEM is too narrow to manage all the actions inherent to mobility.

What MMS Does that WEM and TEM Do Not

Legacy wireline telecom services

Although there is often fluctuation in wireline telecom usage (not those running over the internet), it is rarely significant enough to warrant monitoring or changes. Therefore, many TEM platforms do not account for or accommodate changes in consumption, because there is no reason to do so.

Mobility, on the other hand, experiences constant ups and downs. And with all the growth and change enterprise mobility has undergone, WEM by itself no longer suffices for most organizations. That’s where Managed Mobility Services (MMS) enter the picture. MMS includes all the activities inherent to WEM, and so much more, provisioned by a vendor who acts as an extension of the customer’s IT team.

To be clear, WEM’s fundamental tasks – auditing, optimization, and cost recovery – all remain essential. For example, WEM software and best practices encourage and support carrier plan optimization and adjustments. But so does MMS, just without burden on the enterprise’s internal staff. For instance, say an employee who typically does not leave the United States is traveling overseas for work. The person’s cellular plan may start to incur excess roaming charges. A responsive MMS provider will flag and act on the activity as soon as possible. Depending on the technology, people, and processes involved, this can happen in near-real-time or, in very rare cases among select vendors, in real time. Mobility management experts then can tweak the carrier plan as needed.

Consider, too, moves/adds/changes/disconnects (MACDs), another traditional piece of both WEM and TEM. Compared to traditional telecom, though, mobility requires far more modifications, and more often. Legacy TEM software can’t keep up. Platforms designed specifically for mobility management, on the other hand, allow administrators to add, reassign or decommission devices and services as employees come and go; to vet and manage applications; to assign and monitor accesses and permissions; and more. WEM software accommodates MACDs, of course, but an MMS vendor handles them on clients’ behalf.

Along the way, MMS, like WEM, keeps looking for opportunities to save money. Yet, an MMS approach is more thorough and is, again, fully managed by a vendor so the enterprise client does not have to hire dedicated full-time experts. Money-saving opportunities could come in the form of highlighting when to switch carriers or plans, when to use different smartphone or tablet brands or models, when to streamline device upgrade cycles, when to eliminate unused or unnecessary options on an employee’s plan, and other tactics.

Many MMS vendors offer basic WEM in addition to their more advanced services. This can be advantageous. After all, someone has to perform basic auditing, optimization, and cost recovery. However, given that MMS does more to create important business outcomes, organizations will want to consider MMS over its narrow WEM counterpart.

Why Is MMS Important?

MMS gives organizations complete visibility into and control over their mobility environments, all while requiring little heavy lifting from the customer’s internal IT staff. WEM is more limited (although, as noted, an MMS provider can oversee WEM for the enterprise). With the help of its MMS partner, the enterprise can more ably and insightfully deliver mobile devices and services to end users, while also showing executives, through reporting and bottom-line results, how MMS can, in fact, contribute to revenue generation.

That may sound like a bold claim. However, One Source has uncovered two key areas enterprises inadvertently tend to overlook, which leads to them paying more than necessary for mobile services. Fixing the problems, especially through an MMS model, enables financial control. Such an approach also opens the door for using the requisite savings to fund other important initiatives that produce profit.


One of the first items an attentive WEM or MMS vendor looks for is “zombie” devices, or smartphones, tablets, and other mobile assets that have gone unused for a certain amount of time, typically due to the client’s employee turnover. One Source has found that, within unmanaged fleets, 14% of devices count as abandoned, or “zombied.” Depending on fleet size and per-month rates, the cost of zombie mobile devices adds up quickly, and into the thousands or millions of dollars. Although both types of vendors will report on zombie devices, an MSS vendor will go the extra mile by turning off those services, thus bring about immediate savings.

Data Consumption

One Source further has discovered that paying for unlimited data rarely makes financial sense. On average, an organization with 1,000 mobile devices on unlimited data will pay $600,000 per year. Changing that configuration to pooled data brings expenses down to $540,000 per year. Yet, continuing to tweak more delivers even greater returns on investment. Putting end users on shared data plans results in an average of $380,000 per year for an organization supporting 1,000 mobile devices. Even better, pairing shared data with behavior modification (efforts that encourage employees not to use streaming video or music, and the like on corporate-liable devices) cuts spending from that initial $600,000 to $280,000 per year.

MMS has the power to effect significant change throughout an organization, as the aforementioned numbers indicate. In turn, the money saved can go toward other important initiatives, such as cyber security. For that to happen, however, an organization must use the most skilled and knowledgeable mobility resources – be those people and/or platforms, and think beyond the basics of WEM or TEM. Many enterprises reporting $500 million or less in annual revenue think they are out of the running for such mobility expertise. They are not. One Source offers customizable options that allow smaller clients to gain the same advantages as their large counterparts.

One Source’s Managed Mobility Services Solution Overview