Monthly Archives: May 2010
Spring is in the air, the courses are opening, and I cannot WAIT to get back to playing the game of golf that I love so very much.
The only thing I dread? My putting. It’s horrible. Seems like no matter how much I practice, I pull it left or right. I have this awful, sinking feeling when I pull my putter and prepare to hit. It never fails, I three-putt almost every hole.
What this means to my game, is that I consistently score in the low 100′s. But if I could control my putting by two-putting every hole, my score could easily be in the 80′s! Oh the bragging rights I would have!
My big plan to achieve two-putt status this summer? Prescription sunglasses. I have astigmatism and if I purchase some cool Ray Ban aviators – I’ve got it all under control. (By the way, this is also John Daley’s putting fix, so I have to be on the right track here.)
I only bring this up because I had a conversation with one of my telecom business clients the other day. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Mr. Client, did you know that by going after XXX billing error, you’ll save $$ a month?
Mr. Client: Sandy, it’s not worth having someone on my team chase these dollars. The amount in question isn’t enough to bother with…..
Me: Actually, if you if annualize these dollars over the life of the billing contract, your savings amounts to over $15k. And we’ve already started working on the corrections – no involvement from your team is needed.
Mr. Client: That’s fantastic, you just gave me more budgeting power for the Gateway Servers we’re buying!
The outcome is real and this client’s business cost’s were reduced with little to no effort on their part.
So you see, it’s well worth turning over rocks, finding the nickels, and shaving off every single stroke. They all absolutely DO add up.
See you on the course!
Telecom expense control - starts with the basics. Do you know the cost of processing only one invoice within your organization? What if you could offload the direct labor involved in processing telecommunication invoices, while reducing strategic business costs at the same time? If this is of interest to you, then you need to contact Valicom today for their best-in-class telecom expense control .
Manual Processing: Costly and Time Consuming
“Combining powerful character recognition technologies and business specific work flow, automatic invoice processing provides significant productivity gains and a fast ROI.
The potential market for automatic invoice processing is a quite important one: only 4% of invoices are processed through EDI, (electronic data interchange) which means that 96% of all invoices are still received as paper documents. Furthermore, it takes more than 17 seconds to manually enter an invoice (assuming that only a few fields need to be indexed) and this is without counting the usual manual handling time per invoice. Keying in information from paper invoices is still the most time consuming and costly activity, yet it is probably the least value-added task in accounting departments.
In fact, each supplier invoice can cost between $3 and $15 to the company; total cost of invoice processing including sorting documents, keying in data and archiving the invoice. Of course, the cost is much higher when a problem occurs: disagreement on the invoice amount, problems with the items listed, etc. One out of five invoices encounters such a problem and companies have to deal with this problem although many have not implemented predefined processes for problem invoices.”
Start with addressing the simple processes; streamlining the operations associated with processing a telecom invoice for telephone, data, or wireless services. Do it today!
At Valicom, we are always looking for ways to reduce telecom expenses, increase operational efficiencies and minimize risk for our clients. I just read an article from WTN News about textblockers that prevent drivers from utilizing their cell phones or texting while driving. With the statistics regarding the number of accidents and fatalities caused by texting and cell phone use while driving, this may not be a bad idea not only for parents, but for employers to reduce your liability risk and protect your valued staff. It is not only wise to include a provision in your wireless policy that prohibits the use of employee’s wireless devices while driving but to also consider ways to reduce risk by considering the use of these new cell phone apps.
The new category of text blockers include apps like iZup, tXtBlocker, CellSafety and ZoomSafer. This wireless management software uses the GPS on your cell phone or blackberry to calculate the driver’s speed. Once it detects that you are going more than 10 miles an hour, it determines that you are driving and shuts down your device until you are no longer moving. Some of these apps allow cell phone calls but block text, e-mail, Web, chat, Facebook etc.
Passengers can unblock their phones by solving a timed puzzle that could not be addressed in a timely manner by the driver.
One consideration is whether you, as an employer, want to play Big Brother to your employees or demonstrate trust that they will not text (or talk) and drive on company time. This is dependent on your company culture and should be in keeping with other policies pertaining to the use of cell phones, computers, vehicles etc.
As part of an overall wireless expense management engagement, Valicom reviews not only wireless policies and strategies but also performs cell phone audits and on-going wireless optimization services to reduce business costs. In addition, by utilizing Clearview’s mobile expense software module, we perform full lifecycle services such as telecom asset management, comprehensive reporting and bill payment. Learn more about the benefits of our wireless expense management services.
A rewarding day for me….
During the auditing of an invoice for one of my newer clients, I spotted an nxx (exchange) number that I did not recognize as part of their inventory. After a very short while, you begin to memorize your client’s Telecom stats.
Digging further, I found it was a fax line with a fair amount of usage. Digging even deeper still, I found this particular fax number had been billing since 2005 and that my client had been diligently paying for this line each month; never questioning it’s presence. It was a fairly large invoice, and I knew it probably hadn’t been audited in a long while; it’s so easy to miss one little line item.
I called the vendor and was told this invoice was billing correctly….. I pushed back, knowing it wasn’t billing correctly. I was informed that all the ordering paperword was on file – signed and dated. I requested the paperwork, and a now very irritated vendor representative finally sends it my way only after I apply some kind Telecom vendor management….. Now we’re getting somewhere!
After reviewing the paperwork, I immediately noted that not only was this line being billed to my client in error, but that it was supposed to be billing to a competitor in a the same field using a similar name!
When I called my client to report my findings, he started howling with laughter – very pleased, indeed. Apparently, this particular competitor had not been playing nice in the sandbox.
I informed my client of the credit his business would be getting. “HOW MUCH?! That is AWESOME!” he yells. Now he’s giddy and I can practically hear him dancing around his office - over the phone lines…. He’s calling people in to his office to tell them and excuses himself from the call. (I can’t tell you the details here, but while the credit was very nice – the annonymous “poke back” to the not-so-nice competitor was probably just as sweet. <wink>)
Later in the day, I get a “thank you” email and request for numbers and full accounting so that he can report this to his peers in upper management. I’m all too happy to comply. This is the positive impact I strive to make every day. I smile, because I was just doing a job I love for a client I feel really fortunate to serve.
Who is looking out for you? Did anyone make you dance around your office in celebration after providing Telecom expense reduction numbers? Client service and support at its finest!
No? Let’s talk!
My years of experience managing Information Technology and Telecom continues continuous to teach me that company’s expense control, or lack of it, are problems that are resolved on a regular basis, but Telecom Expense management is not one of those problems that can be fixed once and then ignored. This is a constant recurring problem that requires attention!
The problem is easily ignored when this is addressed once and a contract is negotiated, or errors are found on an invoice that is being processed, etc.
Recycled problems! Have you ever heard of this. Managing Telecom expenses is one of those that fall into this category. Companies need to institute a system and, or process that accounts for change in leadership priorities, change in front-line staff and most importantly a change in Telecom vendors or carriers.
The question is not should I outsource or should I keep it in-house, the question is do you have a tool, other than just a spreadsheet that people have to manually maintain and manipulate that automates the process, keeps the focus; integrates a proven, efficient work-flow and is significantly less expensive than traditional outsourcing of Telecom Expense Management (TEM) software that requires tremendous care and feeding by your staff?
Yesterday this question was somewhat complex and took some research to sift through the competitive offerings available. With the Software-as-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology platform gaining traction, this is the option you cannot afford to ignore.
At Valicom we would like you to consider our SaaS offering that is capturing the attention of companies all over the country. Clearview is the TEM software that will become the tool of choice that you can no longer afford to live without!
Check it out! For more information, and to request a short demo, read more on our telecom expense management software Clearview.
Quick, Executives – Can you answer the following off the top of your head?
- Do you * really* know the dollar amount of your total annual Telecom expense?
- Would you like to slash an average of 30% off your annual Telecom expense?
- Are you confident that your Telecom/IT staff is giving you accurate reporting so that your company can make the best decisions with regard to your Telecom cost management and expense analysis?
Your turn, Management - Can you answer the following?
- Do you have access to the correct financial metrics that your leaders depend upon for making better and more informed business decisions?
- Are you certain your Telecom/IT analysts are giving you accurate Telecom information to pass on to upper management or negotiate with vendors?
- During budgeting periods, do you have access to accurate vendor spend ratios, trending, spend make-up, etc. for reliable strategic forecasting?
Last but not least, Telecom/IT Adminstrators (Admins.) - do you have these answers at your fingertips?
- Are you able to confidently confirm that you have each and every inventory item accounted for - including user, spend, location as well as an ongoing list of work in progress (WIP) issues that include billing errors and variance fluxes?
- Do you have the bandwidth to track and document all inventory changes and said billing issues; Following some issues and credits for, at times, months at a time until your vendor gets it right?
- Do you do the best you can tracking with an excel spreadsheet or access data base and network maps – but at times, your workload is so great these crucial steps get delayed or often missed altogether?
- Are you able to keep Customer Service Records (CSR’s) on hand and up to date in order to monitor inventory and ensure that your company is being billed per contract?
- Are you utilizing a concrete accounting progress to maintain inventory and device counts across your company for all locations and users?
- Does your staff have the time and capability to review each invoice on an ongoing basis?
- Do you know where every circuit terms, that each POTS line is needed and that all of your cell phone usage is optimized?
I’m guessing the answer for you, Admins. – is probably no. You do the best you can with the tools provided, but you do not have software that allows you to focus less time on the day-to-day critical information, and more time on critical projects.
Because all the time (or very limited time) the Admins Spend on these critical functions funnel right to the top, Managers and Executives, a “no” answer to this portion of the questionnaire should make you nervous: If their data isn’t 100% accurate - then the reporting wheels fall off for everything moving forward.
Give your employees the tools they need for confident accurate reporting with great Software as a Service (SaaS) tool. Go from false reporting and decision-making capability to accurate and concrete.
Stop thinking you’re making great business decisions and start KNOWING you’re making informed business decisions with a SaaS purchase that suits your needs. You’ll be glad you did.
Clearview telecom expense management software is the only answer you need!
Sitting at a stop sign on my way to work the other morning, I quick grabbed my Blackberry and opened a new email.
The email was from a client from a large Broadcasting company. She simply asked for a copy of an invoice to be emailed back to her. Most respondents of the email might simply honor the request and send the invoice back to the requestor. End of story. Everybody’s happy.
Not me. The request nagged by brain for the rest of the way to work. WHY did she want a copy of the invoice? I felt like I was missing something; a bigger opportunity to help.
I called my client when I arrived at work and sure enough – there was a great deal more to the story. What she really needed was some reporting. In great detail, she explained the project she had been given a week to finish. I could tell she dreaded the data compilation that was going to take her and her co-worker hours to put together.
These are the phone conversations I have several times a day. I’m always thrilled when I am giving the opportunity to really get to the heart of a client’s issue and provide a same-day solution.
Enter Valicom’s Clearview Telecom auditing software! I was able to log in quickly, and within minutes – pull the data she needed to finish her project.
The best part was her response when she received the reporting from me. “Oh my gosh, you just saved us at least five hours of digging!”
By the way, not only did we save our client’s valuable time – but we also helped with Telecom Cost Management as the reporting allowed the company to make some very informed business decisions as it related to their cellular expense.
It was my pleasure.
For those companies that are currently utilizing Telecom Expense Management (TEM) services, or interested in TEM services, are you certain that the your TEM provider is focused on the areas of expertise that you need? Are they trying to be everything to everybody?
When a company is looking for a TEM vendor to have the expertise that leads to telecom expense control through best practices, years of experience and the best tools available, be sure that they are not trying to be everything to everybody.
Have you heard the phrase, “the jack of all trades and the master of none? I read quite a bit of information posted from numerous sources. So many TEM, or pure expense management vendors talk about how they can provide Information Technology (IT) and telecom hardware, consulting services, VoIP convergence… oh and by the way we might be able to wash your car if it generates revenue. That approach is difficult to really know who your vendor is and how they might deal with you after the proposal is signed. When your TEM vendor is focused on your success and not distracted, or incented to lead you to a specific carrier or solution, because they will receive compensation on the back-end, then your company is in the best position for a successful engagement.
Before you make the selection final, be sure to know who you are dealing with and that they have the focus on exceeding your expectations regarding telecommunication invoice audit and mobile management.
Many companies have decided to utilize existing staff that have a great understanding of the company’s business and industry and just need a tool to manage telecom expenses.
Proper due diligence is the key in selecting who you partner with. Establishing your TEM vendor relationship will become the foundation for success and visible expense reduction.
Keep your focus on strategic cost reduction!