Quick Fixes to Cut Telecom Costs. What to look for in your organization.
Anyone who reads this report from Aberdeen is no doubt trying to glean what works best.Â The temptation is to look at what has worked for the Best-in-Class companies and just do that.Â But as Bob pointed out in one of his previous posts, good advice is good advice.Â As I examined the information closely, it actually occurred to me that the Best-in-Class respondents were probably not best at all â€“ but that is a post for another day.Â Letâ€™s take a look at some of the strategies and examine the pros and cons:
1)Â Â Â Â Â Renegotiating Contracts â€“ If you are looking for a quick easy way to save costs in the very short term, throw yourself at the mercy of the carriers and tell them youâ€™d like to renegotiate.Â If your goal is to save money right away, and donâ€™t care about how you will be limited in the future this can work effectively, especially if you negotiate a huge savings into the signing bonus.Â Beware though, youâ€™re obviously not negotiating from a point of strength.
2)Â Â Â Â Â Using WLAN for mobile devices â€“ I was surprised at the report that 18% of responders for a previous study had said that they are using WLANs to reduce telecom costs.Â That seems like a pretty vague statement.Â It seems as though they are using their own WLAN to save on mobile costs.Â First, very few devices even support this, as it reduces revenue for the carriers.Â Second, are these people running a secondary WLAN with limited security?Â Is anyone concerned about the security of the call/data being transferred?Â Who handles the request when a ticket is entered user cannot use mobile phone across WLAN?Â And lastly (for now), why are people using their mobile devices to make and receive calls while they are in the office?Â This seems like a complete waste of effort if your goal is saving money in the short term.
3)Â Â Â Â Â Hiring a Third-Party for Contract Negotiations â€“ As a provider of this type of service, I really cannot offer an unbiased review.Â I will say this though, Procurement Departments are typically underappreciated and underequipped.Â Their main goal, as it should be, is to make sure that the procurement process is conducted legally and ethically.Â They may be asked to purchase office equipment one week, energy another week, and office supplies another week.Â Oh, and they love working with IT and Telecom (sarcasm).Â A third-party should have industry specific skills that allow them to provide input into the negotiation process and allow your staff to focus on what they do best.Â One thing to watch out for in a negotiator is someone who says their strength is in sticking it to the vendor.Â Negotiations are a complex interaction, but anything that can be done should be able to be expressed in words.Â There is no magic to it.Â Also, they should be excellent written communicators.Â You can stick it to the vendor all you want, but what matters in the end is what is agreed to in a contract.Â If someone cannot write intelligently, it usually means that they will be unable to spot oversights in a contract.
4)Â Â Â Â Â Process Improvement â€“ Process is essential for long-term expense management and making the most of resources.Â But it really isnâ€™t a quick-fix, and seldom yields immediate returns.Â The only exception to that is if you have good MACD processes in place you may be able to find disconnects that have not stopped billing.
5)Â Â Â Â Â Optimization Tools â€“ These can provide relatively quick returns, but only in small amounts.Â This is more of a long-term, process improvement.
6)Â Â Â Â Â Change the culture (executive visibility/centralized inventory and usage/departmental chargebacks) â€“ This is really the biggest short and long term opportunity for savings.Â When everyone in the organization becomes involved in savings, it will happen.Â Most importantly, it will happen in more areas than telecom.