History of the Telecom Audit

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Historically, companies would outsource an audit to an external audit services, and because invoices were paper-based (electronic billing wasn't really in the cards just yet) and audits required a large number of dedicated resources, there was often an automatic 50% contingency fee for recovered funds. Organizations were willing to pay 50% because some savings were better than no savings, and companies simply could not support a full-time staff to perform telecom audits that traditionally occurred once every five years.

Then companies discovered that the telecom savings being promised to them were hindered with long-term contracts that proved difficult and costly to terminate, and "ongoing" and "future" fees designed to milk future savings.
So companies started performing audits internally and they were often successful, at least in identifying the larger problems. This, however, presented new issues, particularly with resources. Internal audits were usually performed by a task force or telecom staff who worked on it between other day-to-day projects and other responsibilities. In the end, they simply didn't have the time, tools, or experience to develop the true methodology necessary to regain full control of their telecom spend, though they did manage to effectively address billing errors and, that alone, justified the internal expense.
Today, with the consolidation of carrier billing systems and numerous complex service plans, billing error rates are actually increasing and making it that much more difficult for companies to perform internal audits. Companies dubiously started reaching out to consultants again to assist with the internal audit and were met with a shocking transformation: the stand-alone audit practice had dissolved.

Telecom solution companies rarely marketed their audit service as a stand-alone service anymore; rather, audits simply became a small function to a broader solution, whereby telecom solution companies offered contingency-based consulting arrangements in an effort to build a more-trusting, long-term relationship with their customers and provide particularly useful solutions to help maintain control over their telecommunications spend. Gone are the across-the-board 50-50 splits. Gone are the hidden service and future fees.
Today's external telecom auditors are working hard to establish professional and meaningful partnerships with organizations in an effort to provide an opportunity for companies to utilize their savings, rather than show them ways to save money and then hold out their hand for a portion of the new-found income.

Has your company had their telecom properties audited? If you have, how have these solutions affected your business? If you haven't, what is standing in your way? Sound off and let us know!
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