Helping Organizations Rein in their Telecommunications Costs and Empowering Yourself
There are creative ways of cutting costs, and you can start using them now. Here are a few examples.
In almost every organization today the telecom budget seems to be one of the higher expenses on the company’s spreadsheet. Here are some helpful tips that any organization can benefit from given the current economic climate and diminishing project budgets.
One of the main concepts that I will relay to you is to empower yourself. Managers and CIOs especially need to be aware of all of the components of their telecom infrastructure. This includes all services, lines, charges, tariffs, maintenance support and managed services. Where can you save on your operating expense?
First off, scrutinize every bill. Make sure that everything listed on your bills is accurate. You would not believe how many phone lines and circuits in organizations are not currently in use, but are still being paid for. These can be single lines, faxes for no longer employed personnel, all the way up to PRI/T1s.
Perform site audits. You could even perform site audits on the overall number of phone lines at different locations. An example is a remote office that has 10 phone lines when it actually only needs 6; the savings are approximately $25 per line per month, or $100 total per month and $1,200 per year. Now multiply that out for all sites across your organization, that’s a nice saving. If you do not have the staff available, there are organizations that will perform this audit for you for a nominal fee. In the long run the savings may be substantial.
We can use the downturn in the economy as a great reason to firm up current business relationships. Vendors could be presenting to their customers ways they can help save them money through new technology and services available. I know that every business needs to make money, but vendors that can save their clients money definitely offer an added value, and customers should not forget those deeds when the economy rebounds. Vendors, show how you can bring benefits to your customers by helping them save money.
Along this topic is how to select the right vendor or business partner for your organization. In many parts of the country there are several VARs (Value Added Resellers), Channel Partners, or networking consultants to choose from. How to select the right one for your needs can be a daunting task. They all may be highly regarded in their specialties, or networking expertise, so how can you be sure the consultants you choose are the right ones for your business needs? Many factors come into play here and I am merely scratching the surface with these suggestions.
First off, understand every organization should have their certified experts as members of their permanent staff. I have read some interesting stories on user forums that some highly certified individuals were being offered rather high sums of money for the consultant company to list this individual on their roster of employees. This is a very questionable tactic; most reputable consulting companies strongly oppose adopting this practice just to land a job.
Be careful of consultants that do legitimately have a huge roster of certified talent, but are stretched so thin with many jobs, that a less qualified individual shows up on your site. I have been in situations that I have had to bail out a consultant that was in over their head. That is an uncomfortable situation to be in all around. The main point here is to outline and agree upon all aspects of your job up front, including the engineer responsible for the job at hand.
Try to research as much as possible about your potential business partner and their organization. This can include, but is not limited to, visiting their websites, looking for past and current customers, and asking questions. Find out if their clients were happy with the work that was agreed upon. If a problem did exist, how was it handled? After all of these suggestions, and your choices are narrowed but you’re still not satisfied, move to an onsite meeting, or put out a Request for Service to your potential candidates to see who would best fit your situation.
Another way for organizations to save money is investing in education for the in-house staff. Why should you outsource technical jobs if you have trained or trainable staff? This is investing in the future. There are consultants and channel partners that will work with your staff and offer knowledge transfers for your employees. In this scenario, you hire the consultant for a task and your employee would work along side. Documentation of the task could be the end result. When this task needs to be performed again, now it is implemented by in house staff.
Creative ways of cutting costs exist. I was able to cut conferencing service costs in half for a company just by speaking with the new business rep. I explained that I thought their service was too costly, and I was searching elsewhere for a similar service, or might bring the solution in house. Conversations like that one do not necessarily need to happen. Vendors can surprise customers by offering the savings themselves. It’s better to have a piece of the pie instead of no pie at all...just a thought.