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Voice Cost Optimization Contracts: Achieve Real Savings

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The cost of a voice call may appear cheap. However, when an enterprise completes thousands of calls daily, the bill can be significant. Carriers have lower call charge rates that could benefit the enterprise if it can access them.
 
Part one of this two-part article series covered the financial benefits available to businesses using a voice cost optimization service or considering the service. My conversation about voice cost optimization continues here with Chris Lee, CEO of Cloud Age Solutions. We chat about the company software, contract recommendations, direct routing, and more.
 
Below is a summary, edited for conciseness and clarity.
 
GA: Can multi-carriers deliver these costs savings?
CL: Yes. Maintaining a multi-vendor model is one of the core principles. Since the contracts do not contain commitments, traffic can freely allocate to different carriers based on their performance (i.e., cost and quality of service).
 
GA: What are your recommendations for contracts?
CL: The current sourcing model most enterprises have been using for the past 50 years involves engaging with the large name brand vendors in a three-year contract where rates are static. Meanwhile, the factors (mainly access) driving the cost for these carriers are changing, and the carriers’ costs are rapidly declining. But those cost reductions aren’t available to customers. Even though Intrastate access rates were set to the same levels as Interstate access several years ago, the carriers still charge 3-5x what they charge for Interstate even though their costs are the same. It’s worse now with outbound termination as in most cases, there’s no access cost. It’s $0, but they still charge this premium for Intrastate.
 
So, the recommended sourcing model for these deals contains the following:
  • No commitments
  • Contracts must provide rate-deck-based rates at a very granular level for domestic calls at the NXX level. International calls at the dial code level call routing can be optimized. A flat rate for all destinations cannot be optimized.
  • The contracts must leverage networks of major carriers in the industry and often get fulfilled through third-party intermediary wholesale carriers.
GA: Is savings fixed, or can the contracts be re-bid?
CL: Carriers provide the rate decks and load them into the routing platforms. Carriers who offer the best value (cost and quality) receive the most traffic. The carriers are encouraged to send revised rates decks if they are not “winning” enough traffic. It is like a real-time auction. The enterprise can choose to create the routing profile they wish to, and it can be complex to do things like the following:
  • Only route traffic from VIPs or customers (based on the originating number) to certain known high-quality carriers
  • Route traffic to certain carriers to satisfy existing volume/revenue commitments and then route excess traffic to drive savings.
 
GA: Does Cloud Age Solutions offering allow direct routing of voice calls?
CL: Yes, it provides the capability for direct routing, and that is how the optimization performed. The routing provided is a 3XX redirect SIP message on the outbound side and uses the 800 Services Management System (SMS/800) platform (part of the PSTN) on the toll-free side. The SMS/800 Data Center houses the primary database of available toll-free 800, 888, 877, and 866 phone numbers for the U.S. and Canada.
 
GA: Can the enterprise obtain daily analytics to ensure optimal call routing?
CL: Yes, wholesale carriers provide all details for calls—a rarity on the retail side regarding the large carriers. To obtain usage data, you must collect it directly from the PBX, which is time-consuming and costly. This solution provides the analytics, which is what you need to have to make routing decisions.
 
GA: Is billing validated every month?
CL: Yes, this solution re-rates all vendor-rated call detail reports to ensure that they are rated properly. Many enterprises have not heard of this solution. Gaining access to lower call charges can significantly reduce the cost of toll-free and outbound calls as offered by the Cloud Age solution.

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