Managing Your Telecom Costs
Telecom services can be confusing and require specialized understanding to make sure that related costs do not negatively impact a company’s bottom line. According to the Aberdeen Group in a recent study, “…few enterprises have had a comprehensive and accurate way to determine what they are spending on telecom services, with whom and why. On average, 7 percent to 12 percent of telecom service expenses are in error.” The study also notes that 85 percent of midmarket companies pay their telecom bills in full without auditing their bills.
Unfortunately, IT managers inherit telecom responsibilities Often times IT managers struggle to understand and keep abreast of the telecom industry with respect to the equipment, plans and rates. The accounting department, who pays the telecom bills, lacks the expertise and time to scrutinize telecom invoices, therefore these costs may escalate without critical evaluation.
Frequently more than thirty percent can be saved by auditing the telecom expenses or by hiring a telecom expert to contain costs. Expense management can produce substantial savings for most companies, but it requires a process:
• Review existing contracts, rate plans and existing services.
• Determine which services are required.
• Research competitive rates and plans.
• Establish centralized management of the telecom services.
• Optimize existing equipment to eliminate inefficiencies and prevent unnecessary equipment additions.
Conduct an internal audit to compare current services with essential services. Telecom companies offer many service and rate plans. Eliminate the potential in contracting for unnecessary services.
Telecom service providers do not audit client’s bills to ensure that the proper contracted rates are invoiced. It is your job to perform the following steps at least semi-annually:
• Call your local service provider for a “Customer Service Record (CSR).”
• Identify each phone number on the CSR, its specific function (data, voice, alarm system, fax, etc.) rate per minutes and correlate each number with contracted conditions.
• Validate each line by calling it if necessary. There may be lines being billed and paid for that are no longer in use.
• Confirm that the contracted rate is being applied for all services.
Optimizing existing equipment and services may require a telecom expert who brings expertise of the telecom industry. An expert provides knowledge of the current market, rates and providers and can help quantify and qualify services. Their expertise is best used to ask the key questions—what, why, when and how much.