Category: Telecom Contract Negotiation
Telecom Expense Management Presentation
Are you swimming in invoices from increased cellular services? Has BYOD or other telecom services forced you to review your telecom contracts? Are you wondering how many devices you have in your company? If you answered “Yes” to any of these, then you should attend this month’s educational session.
Please join Valicom, a twenty-two year veteran of telecom expense management, as they explain the different Telecom Expense Management (TEM) strategies to help you manage all your telecom bills, both wireline and wireless. They will review industry trends and how cellular services are forcing changes to contracts. Finally they will provide best practices to keep you on top of your cellular and wireline assets.
We are continuing our series discussing how telecom management software streamlines telecom management tasks.
In our last post, we discussed Telecom Management Software and Cost Allocation. Now we’re on to bigger and badder topics – telecom contracts.
While we’re on the topic of making your life easier and saving you time, document management comes to mind. In the modern era, no one wants a file cabinet stuffed full of papers hulking in the corner of their office. And they certainly don’t want to have to dig through it to find contract information.
A telecom contract should be electronic, easy to find, and cross-referenced with the telecom inventory details and assets it pertains to.
How else are you going to verify your telecom services are actually being billed at the rate you agreed to pay? And what if you need to check when a certain asset falls out of contract, or if it is still under warranty? Again, let the telecom management software make that simple. Scan, upload, attach. You’re done. Go back on break.
Next we will discuss telecom Invoice Processing & Payment….. Fun fun! Stay tuned.
Companies seek telecommunications management solutions because something hurts. They are losing money, time or control and are seeking a cure. Valicom’s new white paper “Show Me Where it Hurts: Top Telecom Management Pain Points” offers a review of common maladies in today’s market.
“The telecommunications management industry is always in flux,” says Nancy Peckham, CEO and founder of Valicom, “and we wanted to offer a current overview of what problems are top of mind right now. There is a lot of overlap where companies see common issues in need of solving. ”
Recommended for managers and C-level executives wondering if what they are facing is shared by their peers, or wishing to explore other areas of concern they should be addressing, the paper offers a succinct peek into what is ailing modern telecom environments. The need for software tools, the desire to do more with less, the challenge of invoice and contract management among other items are discussed.
Valicom brings expertise in this area, having offered telecom expense management services for over twenty years, including their web-based telecom expense management software Clearview. This new paper adds to a popular industry resource, joining many other white papers covering a variety of telecom management topics, on our white paper library.
“Show Me Where it Hurts: Top Telecom Management Pain Points”
When it comes to pain points, contract negotiation is a big one. And if you learn nothing else from this series of posts, know this…
Telecom Contract Negotiation is the #1 way
to save money on telecom services!
It’s easy to see that when you remember the telecom vendors are in business to make money. YOUR money. In other words, they are good at this, and maybe you aren’t.
So either get someone experienced to the negotiating table with you, or at least put a game plan in place so you have the time and the information to make an informed decision. Here is where to start:
- Develop and utilize a solid RFP template.
- Allow appropriate time prior to existing agreement expiration for response and review.
- Understand what you can/should get through benchmarking & competitive analysis.
- Compare apples-to-apples with a solid response matrix.
- Negotiate both prices and terms.
- Do a good post contract validation – make sure that “What you negotiated, You got.”
These simple steps can help you prepare for a telecom contract negotiation. Or feel free to work with a telecom expense management firm. Find a partner that can step in as often, or as much, as you want during the process. Whatever you do, the savings you gain – and the pain you avoid – will be well worth the effort!
Want more information? Download our White Paper: “Telecom & Wireless Cost Control: What You Need To Know”
New white paper outlining seven best practices in managing telecom and wireless expenses. The white paper is a good primer for setting up a good telecom expense management program. The paper also showcases how modern web-based telecom expense management software tools support the use of these best practices.
AT&T recently announced, and put into play this past weekend, new higher prices for all their data plans. Granted, users will also get more data for the additional fee, and if you are currently contracted with AT&T, you do NOT have to upgrade to the new fees – unless you want to. But you better watch your bills, as those costs will hit you at some point.
The new pricing brings AT&T more in line with what arch-rival Verizon is charging, and it points out what everyone already knows – users are utilizing more and more data. “Mobile broadband has become part of our daily lives,” wrote Mark Collins, AT&T Mobility’s senior vice president of data and voice products, in a blog post announcing the new plans, “and data usage has skyrocketed.” AT&T expects that trend to continue as it deploys its higher speed 4G LTE network across the U.S.
If you are a corporate Telecom Manager, this is a trend you need to watch. Users may or may not be using more data but pretty soon – either way – YOU will be paying more for their monthly plans. This highlights the advantages gained by wireless pooling.
Pooling plans are simple to understand. Multiple wireless users are lumped together under one account and share a “pool” of allotted minutes and/or data. This means that if User A is a major data hog, and User B barely uses their phone, they both sip from the same bucket, at a lower overall cost per minute/MB than if they were on separate plans.
Carriers have caught onto this idea, and most of them offer various pooling plans. The trick is figuring out which one works best for you. Wireless optimization, RFP creation and analysis of the responses takes time. Its worth it, as you can save a ton in your overall telecom budget, but it helps to have a partner or a good tool to get you through it.
Our Clearview software offers some wireless optimization tools, and our Telecom Audit teams have years of experience dealing with wireless expense management, RFPs and carriers. When in doubt, get some help, but whether you use an outside firm to help you or not, look into your options next time your contracts come due. Don’t let the ever-increasing prices of data plans take you by surprise.
Telecom expense management has been around for a long time. But many organizations avoid taking a more aggressive approach to managing their telecommunications expenses because they lack the expertise and don’t know where to start. When faced with the dozens of different types of invoices and the multitude of telecommunications technologies that an organization can be responsible for, it’s common to react this way.
But adding a TEM – telecom expense management – program to your company is important. You will be enabling your organization to take control of your telecommunications expense, allowing you to redirect that money somewhere else. There are several ways to implement TEM:
- Manual - This is the entry point. It is done “in house” and by hand, but it is better than doing nothing. Even a spreadsheet to track your inventory and changes, and a cursory audit review of your monthly invoices can save you money. For suggestions on WHAT you need to keep track of to get a handle on your telecom expenses, check out our white paper “Plugging the Leak: Six Steps Towards Managing Your Telecom Expenses”
- Using Software Tools – This is the upgraded version of manual. It just gives you a tool to use, rather than juggling spreadsheets and trying to re-invent the wheel. There are many software tools available, many at a low cost point, to get you organized. Software helps you track your inventory, invoices, contracts and anything you change in your environment, so you always know what is going on. Designed specifically for telecom and wireless management, they are often web-based and easy to implement and use. Clearview is an example of such a tool.
- Outsourced Telecom Lifecycle Management - This is the traditional BPO (business process outsourcing) model of TEM. Here you contract with a third party firm to build your inventory, audit your invoices, pay your bills, keep track of all your changes, and negotiate with your telecom carriers when your contracts come due. This is the platinum solution, since you have experienced professionals managing everything to ensure you get the best savings. However, as expected, it is also the most expensive. Though, to balance that, the cost savings delivered are generally far higher than the fees, especially at the beginning. And it offers 100% peace of mind, which is hard to put a price on.
- Hybrid Software + Outsourced Solution - This is the most popular option with mid-market companies, though many enterprises are finding the flexibility appealing as well. This option allows you to deploy a software tool, like Clearview , and do some things in house, while outsourcing things you don’t want to, or don’t have the capacity or capability, to do. With an a la carte suite of TEM services to pick from, you can customize a package to fit your particular telecom environment, allowing for changes as your needs evolve.
Over at IT Manager Daily, a recent post covered ten great ways for IT Managers to trim their IT budget. Number TWO was “Take another look at telecom costs”. We would agree!
In our twenty years of doing telecom expense management and telecom auditing, we’ve found that most firms are wasting anywhere from 10 to 30% of their annual IT budget. Why? By overpaying for telecom services. How? A variety of reasons, but the primary culprits are usually…
- Overcharges and incorrect fees or taxes on telecom invoices. If you don’t have a process in place to review all your invoices, all the time, rest assured that its creating a leak in your IT budget.
- Poorly negotiated telecom contracts. Telecom carriers are in business to take your money and if you don’t have a strong telecom RFP and negotiation plan in place, they will get a lot more of it than they should.
- Contract compliance problems. Once you get that telecom contract signed - did you bother to verify you actually got what you negotiated? And remember that isn’t just pricing, but terms & conditions as well.
- Failure to optimize wireless. With the massive growth in wireless devices and plans, if you aren’t tracking, managing and pooling your usage, you are probably paying too much.
These are just a few of the problems with IT budgets and telecom expenses. If you want a better overview, check out our white paper “7 Strong Tactics to Contain Telecom Costs”
BIG NEWS ALERT!!! If you learn nothing else on this blog, know this.
Telecom Contract Negotiation is the #1 way to save money on telecom services!
Ok, now that we have your attention, let’s talk tactics. Remember that the telecom vendors are in business to make money. YOUR money. So they are good at this, and maybe you aren’t. Either get someone to the negotiating table with you that has experience, or at least be aware of these basic tactics….
Telecom Contract Negotiation Tactics
- Develop and utilize a solid RFP template
- Allow appropriate time prior to existing agreement expiration for response and review
- Understand what you can/should get through benchmarking & competitive analysis
- Compare apples-to-apples with a solid response matrix
- Negotiate both prices and terms
- Post contract validation – make sure that “What you negotiated, You got.”
These simple tactics can help you prepare for a telecom contract negotiation. Or feel free to work with a telecom expense management firm like Valicom to access the help you need. We offer flexible services, only stepping in as often, or as much as you want us to during the process. Contact us at 800-467-7226 x233 to discuss the options.
First is visibility. Where are your contracts? Stuffed in a folder, in a drawer, in a file cabinet, in a basement, in another building, in another state? You start to envision the problem, especially if you work for a large company. How can you keep track of renewal dates and what you agreed to pay if you can never refer back to the contract!
So we highly recommend you scan those telecom contracts and store them somewhere convenient. You should also associate all the affected services with that contract. Then you know WHAT is under that contract, and WHEN it will come due for renewal. Keep track of the vendor and the term length, and set yourself automatic reminders prior to the expiration date. A good program of telecom vendor management will serve you well in the long run.
And those simple reminders give you the flexibility to review your telecom services, optimize your usage based on your future needs, and have time to plan for your renewal. This also allows you to concentrate on telecom contract negotiation, a no holds barred contact sport that can be a huge pain in the neck, but can also save you a LOT of money. Stay tuned, in our next post we’ll discuss that….
As we discussed in our recent webinar “Plugging the Leak: Software Tools and Strong Tactics to Contain Telecom & Wireless Costs”, telecom contract RFPs and negotiation are the #1 way to save money on telecom.
When telecom contracts come due and it’s time to go out for RFP, there is often a huge increase in telecom expense managers workload in order to prepare the required information for all of the telecommunications carriers in the RFP.
An easy way to always be prepared to negotiate telecom contracts and perform telecom RFP’s is to maintain an up-to-date TEM database of your telecommunications spend. Another option is to have a telecom expense management vendor like Valicom do it for you. We have clients who go both routes. many want to prepare for the telecom contract negotiation on their own, but have us in reserve to show up at the bargaining table.
A TEM firm like Valicom has the expertise and experience to not only make sure that you have a constantly updated database available to you at any point, but also to coach you through the entire telecom contract negotiation and RFP process.
So don’t wait until you get that reminder from sourcing that your long distance contract is coming do in 90 days. Get organized now by preparing your inventory, figuring out your future needs, talking to other departments to see what changes are coming down the pipeline and determine exactly what you need. Then you can write up and RFP and have time to analyze the results before your renewal date.