Brain Food: Look After The Pennies - Call in the Experts

We have a love-hate relationship with IT. We like to upgrade to the latest gadgets, yet few of us understand them, let alone use them to their full potential. Take mobile phones, for example. They look good, with their cameras and organisers and radios, but most owners use them only for making calls, sending text messages and, most importantly, telling the time.

But a familiarity with technology can reap big efficiencies. A bright spark at Toshiba, for example, suggested that the business could make cost savings by reducing its telecoms bill. Their bosses agreed, and undertook an analysis of how staff used the company's 250-odd mobile phones. It soon became clear that HR, which was in charge of the phones, didn't have a clear understanding of the technology and user demands. The baton was handed to Information Systems, which quickly devised new policies and integrated other facilities such as address books, GPRS and SMS, and renegotiated the company's contract. Toshiba saved £76,000 over two years, by tapping its own expertise.

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