Rescuing Out of Control Telecom Expenses

The 6 Best Practices of Telecom Expense Management

In today’s business environment most companies reasonably focus on their core responsibilities. As technology has evolved their telecommunication needs, cost & usage have evolved. In the process their telecom services have grown from hard to control to out of control.

Others follow a pattern of ignoring their telecom spend until it has become enough of an annoyance to attract attention. By that time, telecom expense has been inadequately audited, over budget, inefficient, and simply out of control.

FACTS:

  • Few if any companies have the time or the tools to efficiently take on telecom management
  • The lack of automation, visibility of details, and tracking of telecom issues leads to out of control telecom spend, out of control asset management and inefficient use of the telecom management team’s time

Anyone who has taken on the task to remodel a room has learned quickly that without the right tools the job takes 10 times longer than needed. With attention to detail you may get the right result. However, the amount of time that it took was completely unnecessary. How many times have you said to yourself (while in the middle of such a project), “This is ridiculous!”

Without the right tools and best practices, your Telecom Management staff struggle long & hard to achieve their current results. In some cases they struggle just to keep the telecom services operational.

What about your company? Are your current telecom services simply too hard to control with out the right tools & assistance? Are you concerned your telecom expenses may be out of control?

Six Best Practices of Telecom Lifecycle Management You Should Know

Companies experience the best possible TEM results by integrating the Best in Class software tools with industry recognized Best Practices for telecom Service & Equipment Lifecycles.

When automated web–based software for optimizing cost and usage, payment reconciliation, contract validation, and asset management is combined w/ the following Best Practices, true telecom expense management provides the maximum level of benefit to participating enterprises.

Listed below are descriptions of Telecom Expense Management Best Practices:

Asset Management

  • Automate tracking of telecom inventories and contract dates.
  • Curb wasteful spending by smart-sourcing.

At the core of any effective TEM solution is efficiently managing the inventory. You can’t manage that which you do not know exists.

  • Can you accurately determine, who has what wireless devices, & where?
  • Do you know what wireline assets are needed and what you have in each location?
  • Is there any unnecessary redundancy?
  • Are there obsolete services that could be replaced w/ more cost effective solutions?
  • Do you know how telecom services are configured at each location, there purpose, & there relationship w/ the other assets, as well as how these services are utilized?
  • Are you paying redundant, obsolete or disconnected services and for how long?

Invoice Validation

  • Track and recover billing errors.
  • Process invoices more efficiently while limiting human error.

Processing telecom invoices properly is a complicated task. To process an invoice according to best practices, a repeatable set of processes must be created and implemented.
Proper invoice validation includes:
Importing or transferring invoices into a validation & exception handling system.

Changes in assets must be identified & compared with current inventory list for accuracy.

Invoice charges must be validated for accuracy, producing a list of exception information & charges.

Exceptions must be tracked, disputes resolved, & changes to telecom spend noted for review in future invoices.

A system of approving each invoice should be implemented so that costs, exceptions, and changes are properly accounted for.

Expense Optimization

  • Analyze rate plan and feature usage.
  • Optimize telecom spend for peak ROI.

Inventory management, bill pay, & initiating processes that ensure accuracy is one thing. It is quite another to exploit all the data captured through the TEM processes. Analyzing the wealth of collected information to the benefit of your company is key to cost control & management.

Optimization needs to be applied as a consistent practice with your TEM solution. Both cost & usage needs to be visible from a “mile high” view to a “granular” and by wireline asset & wireless device. Additional visibility into features, charges, equipment is essential.

In the current business environment, the timely analyses for errors & wasteful spending is critical to controlling telecom spend. Errors, exceptions and changes should be identified & noted, then tracked to recovery &/or completion.

Comprehensive cost & usage reporting by appropriate hierarchy (cost centers), by service type, location, & cost per employee is valuable to optimization as it empowers telecom management control spend.

E-Procurement

  • Automated web–based software for procurement that is useful in assisting optimizing cost & usage, payment reconciliation, contract validation, and asset management.

Once you have a quantifiable inventory in a centralized data base, it is extremely important to keep it accurate. To do this, initiate an automated repeatable process that only permits approved assets into inventory. This process should allow assets to be changed & removed from inventory while the whole procedure is duly noted.

Additionally, applying standards for procurement of specific assets is required.

To have all this and to know your inventory real time, not relying on cryptic vendor invoices and dated information is indispensable.
The data collected in the E-Procurement of wireline services and wireless devices assists in optimizing cost and usage, payment reconciliation, contract validation, and asset management.

Help Desk Support

  • Providing a single point of contact for move, add, change, troubleshooting, resolution & reporting on all telecom inventories.

A Help Desk support system is another key to maintain staff productivity & efficient telecom lifecycle management. Help Desk support provides the crucial single point of contact for move, add, change, troubleshooting, resolution, & reporting of all telecom assets in inventory.

Companies with extensive wireless usage inevitable have users with technical difficulties. A fast resolution to these distractions is key to maintaining efficiencies & productivity.

Contract & Policy Consulting

  • Analyze contracts and agreements.
  • Control costs with enforceable corporate standards for acquisition and use.
  • Ensure contract compliance.

A company’s telecom relationship is defined by the terms & conditions of the telecom contracts in place with their vendors. The same care should be given to managing these telecom contracts as the corporate ones.

It has been established by industry experts that mature “2 year old contracts spend 20%-35% more per year on voice/data services compared to recently negotiated contracts” (Gartner). Therefore, the timely & continual monitoring of these service agreements are extremely important.

Additionally, it is critical to manage the terms & conditions of these agreements. You need to ensure that the deftly negotiated terms are met by both parties. Gartner has revealed that 80% of corporate telecom invoices are incorrect with average over billings of 6-8%. Clearly the ongoing evaluation of these agreements provides significant cost control opportunities.

Summary: How to Rescue Out of Control Telecom Expenses

Employing cutting edge technologies integrated with industry recognized “Best Practices”, companies can rescue control ‘out of the jaws’ of the unmanageable. Smart-sourcing with the right TEM partner, companies can have a centralized data base, a single point of contact, expense optimization, usage, inventory and asset management for the critical communications infrastructure that all businesses now rely.

Contact Integrity Communications for more information.