Taming the Telecom Beast

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Saving money is critical for companies during the wavering, economic times. Not only does saving money lead to more spending, but it will also save jobs at your company. This helps to build consumer confidence, and leads toward a healthier work environment. As they dive deeper into their internal spend, a red flag is consistently topping company to-do lists: figure out a way to reel in out-of-control telecom costs.
Raging telecom costs don't happen overnight, and they're generally not a matter of one individual's fault. Companies aren't intentionally wasting money on their telecom departments, and managers aren't necessarily making poor choices. The telecom madness, like anything else that spirals out of control, usually results from several seemingly minor decisions and once compounded, chaos ensues.

No one really knows where it starts as it's often a combination of decisions: several invoices blindly approved because they are within an acceptable deviation of the previous month's charges; invoices stuck in the validation, approval and payment process; bills peppered with nickel and dime charges and small, undecipherable jargonistic print. Sometimes, it's as simple as relying on a telecom provider to define a company's inventory, or utilizing a telecom provider to diagnose the source of a network outage.

There's another reason in play, too. In the past, there have been six major waves of mergers and acquisitions starting with the Great Merger Movement in 1895. Today's recent wave generally serves to build a company's strength, both in perception and in structure. Companies today aren't necessarily looking to target hard assets or eliminate competition. They are finding small businesses and start-up companies that support and complement their primary product line.

With any acquisition or merger comes the combining of assets, resources and expenses, and this includes the telecom spend. Company rules and regulations surrounding telecommunications expenses may have differed. It is not uncommon for companies to continue to be charged for disconnected trunks and circuits for months, if not years, after the disconnection date.

Specific processes may not have been implemented to activate and deactivate phone lines and a full inventory of telecom equipment may have never been identified, making the job of consolidating telecom operations and infrastructure even more challenging. Carrier bills often go unreconciled, and inventory records are, at times, nonexistent with wireless devices being distributed haphazardly minus documentation or written justification for employee use.

The temporary integration tactics have now become permanent or long forgotten and organizations could be hemorrhaging money without even knowing there's a hole.

So how do you tame the telecom beast? How do you control the chaos without spending a fortune on salaries and resources to identify and resolve the problems, while reducing potential issues moving forward?

Simple. Conduct a telecom audit.

Conducting a telecom audit will bring clarity to an organization's telecom environment and allow them to take back control of these costs. Managers can begin to identify the holes and manage these costs more effectively. Historical audits help companies recover overpayment to carriers, identify inventory that requires optimization or elimination, and will ultimately increase the efficiency of a company's telecommunications system and optimize a company's telecom spend. Whether it resulted from harmlessly overlooked telecom expenses, a lack of understanding of carrier fees, sub-par inventory management, or an overwhelming inheritance of inventory from a newly-acquired company, there is little debate that telecom costs can eat away at the very core of a company's bottom line.

Taking control of telecom expenses starts by tackling the primary problem: know what you have, see what the carrier is charging, validate your carrier charges, establish reporting analytics and metrics that will help you better manage your telecom costs, and gain efficiencies in your telecom lifecycle management. The only thing worse than an out-of-control telecom system is to do nothing about it. A telecom audit saves money and time, and reduces the mean time to repair inventory.

TEM systems combined with a robust call reporting and analytics system can then protect you from the telecom tornado in the future. If the goal is to generate savings, taming the telecom beast is the first step in achieving that goal.

What's stopping you? Is your telecommunications system in need of a makeover?
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