MDS: Rise in rogue telecoms usage means a quarter of UK businesses risk breaking the law for not analysing employee call records

Warrington, UK - 31 March 2011

Connecting with Business Customers Report from MDS shows employers are leaving themselves open to false VAT charges by not effectively monitoring staff telecoms usage.

Enterprise customer experience management expert MDS today announced the results from the second instalment of its Connecting with Business Customers Report, a nationwide research study of 200 IT and telecoms managers across the UK. The findings have revealed that 28% of businesses are struggling to separate personal and work mobile calls for VAT purposes, whilst 59% of telecoms managers admitted that if employees think they can get away with it they will let the company pay for their personal calls where possible.

“Organisations that provide their staff with a mobile phone risk getting into trouble if employees are found to be using work mobiles for personal calls,” commented Drew Rockwell, CEO of MDS. “If companies claim VAT back on their entire mobile phone bill without excluding personal calls they are potentially liable.”

With nearly half of all businesses (42%) now providing mobile telephony to their workforce, more and more employees are being put in a position of trust by their employer. Unfortunately for telecoms managers assigned with controlling the comms spend, this rise in employee mobility is also seeing a significant rise in rogue telecom usage and consequent bills across business. In 40% of companies, work mobile phones are now seen as a personal perk rather than a company asset.

The final part of the report has also revealed that only 47% of companies have a detailed policy on responsible telecoms usage, whilst 48% rely on broad guidelines – 5% have no policy in place whatsoever. The lack of guidance from employers was apparent further still as the report discovered that:

• 79% believe employees fail to disclose personal calls on mobile bills

• 51% of telecoms managers would like to have more control over how employees use their mobiles

• Rogue telecoms usage is rife with 90% of businesses also seeing employees using company fixed lines for personal calls

• Companies face issues with employees wanting choice for handsets (87%), mobile networks (66%) and for mobile tariffs (58%)

• More than half (53%) of telecoms managers think employees are more demanding over their choice of handset than two years ago

• Over half (54%) of employees are provided with fixed or mobile broadband access

• 45% of telecoms managers believe fixed lines at work will be obsolete in five years.

“Whilst employers’ lack of clarity around telecoms usage policy is contributing to rogue calling, there is a certain amount of responsibility with the communications service providers that provide business telecoms services, to help businesses better understand and manage employee usage through enhanced analytic service capability. By failing to provide the necessary analysis and insight into how services are being used by employees, communications service providers are failing to provide their customers with the visibility of spend required to manage their services effectively,” continued Rockwell.

A copy of the Connecting with Business Customers Report is available for download at: www.martindawessystems.com/connecting-with-business-customers.php.

MDS, providers of customer experience management solutions to service providers, commissioned Loudhouse, an independent marketing research consultancy, to conduct industry research among telecoms and IT managers in the UK to explore how communications services management in businesses is evolving, what their key concerns are and how service providers can better meet their needs. The research was undertaken online in January 2011 with 200 individuals identified as being responsible for telecoms management and provisioning in UK businesses with more than 100 employees.

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