Monthly Archives: June 2010
Many hotels have stopped charging for wireless Internet, and it’s about time airports followed suit. Recently, while traveling for business, I had to connect through 3 different airports. Two had free WiFi, one did not. Now this is just ridiculous – the airport that was charging for WiFi wanted $9 to connect. My layover lasted about 2 hours. I doubt very many people spend more than 2 or 3 hours using the WiFi. At least at a hotel, you’re probably going to be there for at least 12 to 16 hours, and thus can justify the cost – which by the way, is pretty similar to what the airport was charging.
What’s particularly upsetting, is knowing that when an airport charges for WiFi, it’s purely to add to the balance sheet. There isn’t any real overhead related to providing WiFi to a few hundred or a few thousand people. Once you’ve dealt with the routers, which you would need anyway for lots of other airport specific functions – all that’s left is the potential for supporting an increase in bandwidth.
Having been involved in the Telecommunications Expense Management industry for several years, I know what it costs to equip a facility, large or small, with adequate download and upload speeds to support a large userbase. And the truth is, it’s not much. Even a small regional airport probably has enough extra bandwidth to support the average WiFi community without adding to the telecommunications expenses it already incurs. Furthermore, it would be simple to block high bandwidth traffic, such as video streaming, which leaves basic web browsing – and basic web browsing doesn’t require much bandwidth or concurrency.
Bottom line is, in the year 2010, it’s ridiculous and kind of insulting to arrive at an airport and be faced with paying close to $10 just to access the Internet.
As if you didn’t already know that a bunch of staff running around with Crackberries and iPhone envy were going to cost you a fortune. But now there is data to prove it. It’s just another illustration that mobile management can be easy, but you have to focus on strategic cost reduction if you really want to minimize wireless expenses.
A recent AOTMP report “The Importance of Effective Wireless Policy” found that 69 percent of enterprises have a formal wireless mobility policy in place. And that those firms with wireless mobility governance polices spent 40 percent less per user on mobile voice services.
What does this mean for you? Probably that, without a wireless policy in place, the data-happy mobile staff in your organization are bleeding revenue and you don’t have a band-aid.
Valicom can help with that. We not only offer advice on cellular standardization to save money, but have a wireless policy template that you can use. Consider it a free band-aid. And if you’re nice, we’ll even give you a lollipop.
Kick the Tires, Honk the Horn, won’t cost you a thing….
We know that you’d never buy a car without checking it out, looking under the hood and taking a test drive. And while Valicom, with our twenty year history and record client satisfaction scores, isn’t exactly “Honest Al” over at the local car lot, we’d still like to offer you the same courtesy.
In February, we led the TEM industry by releasing our third-generation telecom audit platform Clearview as a Software-as-a-Solution (Saas), giving small to mid-sized businesses a new tool to reduce telecom expenses. It can also be used by telecom expense reduction analysts or telecom consultants to help them deliver results.
Now we’ve made it even easier to try out Clearview by launching a short online demo, so you can see just what you’re missing. And Clearview is designed to do just that – give you a “clear view” of your telecom spend. Delivered securely online, it allows you to review your telecom invoices for errors, see wireless expenses – like mobiles phones and data plans, organize all your telecom assets in one place, track changes, additions or deletions, and in general make order from chaos. And in doing so, you’ll save TIME and MONEY, which is really the whole point.
So if you’d like to take a test drive of Clearview, just head on over to our website and we’ll give you the keys….
Sometimes the critical success factor in telecom cost reduction efforts may all come down to the approach or the “framework” used to guide the process. How does your company stack up? Do you have the focus required to target your specific objective? Telecom cost management is not necessarily as easy as it sounds. This process requires a vast amount of industry experience and knowledge.
During a recent webinar, where Aberdeen shared information specific to the TEM industry, they reviewed their methodology for identifying “Best in class“, Industry average and Laggards. They refer to their framework as P.A.C.E. Which category do you want to be classified in? Who sets out to be average?
P.A.C.E. stands for:
Pressures: top-down desire to reduction telecom costs
Actions:what action are you taking to realize the reduction and control?
- Knowledge Management
- Performance Management
- Professional Services
- Managed Services
How much money can your organization stack up using the best in class methodology? Identifying the “action” to be taken, then “acting” on it is the key. Don’t miss the opportunity to reduce telecom expenses before the fiscal year end. there is still plenty of time if you take action now! Knowledge is power…
Nancy Peckham, offering insights on telecommunications expense management.
Putting her 20 years experience in telecom expense management into words, she lays out how Valicom can help businesses reduce their telecom spend and gain insight into their overall wireless, wireline and data costs.
Read the Executive Q & A session “To Analyze Telecom Costs Call on this Exec”.
Join Valicom and Aberdeen for this free webinar to find out!
Over the past year, Aberdeen Group research has shown that as telecom, network, and mobility demands have become more complicated, the urgent requirement to manage and control expenses is no longer just a Fortune 500 problem. Mid-Market sized organizations have their own unique needs for agile and service-based telecom expense solutions that match their own operational flexibility and challenges. For instance, a typical company with $250 million in annual revenue with an effective Telecom Expense Management solution can achieve savings of $100,000 and a Full-Time Equivalent in support of telecom inventory, tech support, bill management, disputes, and contract management by moving from a low maturity solution to Aberdeen-defined Best-in-Class practices.
Hyoun Park, Research Analyst, Telecom and Unified Communications
Hyoun Park is the Research Analyst for Telecom Lifecycle Management at Aberdeen. In this role, he has benchmarked the behaviors of over a thousand organizations in Telecom Lifecycle Management and has provided strategic guidance to numerous Telecom Expense Management organizations and customers. This research practice focuses on the strategic planning, procurement, management, and enterprise usage of network, landline voice, mobility, and unified communications and includes aspects of the following topics: call accounting, business process alignment to telecom technologies, telecom procurement, telecom contract negotiation and filing, telecom and utility spend management, invoice processing, financial reporting, network management, and asset/service inventories.
Nancy Peckham, CEO, Valicom
Nancy began her career in telecommunications in 1983 as an account executive with Republic Telecom, a regional long distance carrier. She was named district sales manager for the Wisconsin region in 1987 when Republic Telecom was acquired by Mid American Communications. She recognized a need for independent, objective telecommunications consulting which led her founding Valicom. Since its launch in 1991, Valicom has been a leader in providing telecom expense management solutions and serves enterprise and mid-market clients in a variety of industries and verticals across the U.S.
During my 25 years of experience in running IT and telecommunication in manufacturing, complex services, consulting and government, most of the companies when asked did not know how much they spent annually on telecommunication services. This includes wireless devices, wired devices, data and voice circuits and their total telecommunication related inventory. Knowing the answer to that question is the first step in achieving true bottom-line business cost reduction.
When a company is not aware of their telecom spend or is not organized in a way to make this possible then strategic cost reduction is not easily achieved. The key to any process improvement or strategic telecom cost reduction initiative is to understand all the components that make up the telecom expense control. Then you focus on the components that consume the most resources or expenses and generate options that lead to a reduction in annual telecom expenses and improvement in telecom services. This should not be a difficult process with the right telecom expense management system.
Does your company have an automated tool that provides expense analysis? If not, then you need to update your toolbox. Learn more about Clearview, the web-based, low cost telecom expense management software tool today.
I had the privilege of meeting with a Telecom team and their Manager recently. I had been asked by them to come and demo our new Telecom cost management software tool, Clearview.
The team was a really solid group. They ticked off some impressive stats, achievements and successfully completed projects. I was impressed.
During the demo, I began to talk about the bible of all things Telecom - the Customer Service Record (CSR) and how the information pulled from the CSR was absolutely accurate, stored and reported on. I noticed a few of the analysts squirm, but kept going. At one point, the group’s manager blurted out “Geez, I don’t think we’ve ordered CSRs in years. We know we should, but just calling the vendors to order them is a huge ordeal. When the CSRs finally roll in, we need someone to translate the data and enter it into our spreadsheets – with the volume of lines we have, it could take one of my people over a month, working full-time to read and enter the data. I don’t have that bandwidth or that kind of time.”
I like that he was being honest. He understood the value of the CSR – the need to have exact circuit/line numbers, locations, amounts, quantities and on and on – but acknowledged that the job was just too big to accomplish with his current team. In this economy, he certainly was not going to get the approval to hire on more staff, either.
All this CSR information, just sitting out there waiting to be analyzed – and it hadn’t been tackled in years.
I wish you could have seen his smile when I told him that we would order all the CSR’s, and dump all of their data into our auditing tool for them. Hello accurate inventory! Hello ability to deep dive audit! They took a huge step toward telecom expense control and cost reduction.
I just love a happy ending…. In just 60 days with us, they are going to begin to see a difference. Honesty is definitely the best policy.
Just had to write quick about this one thing….. I’ll be quick. Promise.
Telecom managers out there? Please take the time to review your vendor remit addresses. And please take the time to issue one check per account. Meaning, even though you may have 5 or 50 account invoices from a single vendor, and you’re tempted to pay for all those accounts with one check, don’t do it! Cut one check for each individual invoice, and I’ll tell you why…
Today I spent hours on the phone with a vendor – we’ll call them “AT&T” for this purpose – straightening out a huge mess. Valicom recently took over bill payment for a client, so I pulled some reports and noticed that several invoice payments appeared to be missing.
I called the client and asked if they had paid these invoices before Valicom took over. “Yes, Paid!” said my client, “Let me send you a copy of the cleared check.” Check. Singular. Uh oh.
I knew right away what had probably happened, so I called the vendor to confirm my suspicions… Sure enough, I was right. “AT&T” applied the entire payment to the first account number, leaving off payment of 30 other accounts. The result was a swarm of disconnection notices, late payment fees, interest on late payment fees and a very large credit resting on the overpaid account. One would think common sense would prevail in situations like this, but no.
One would also think it very easy to correct this misbilling. Also not so. Not only did I spend hours talking to the good folks at the vendor, but I’ll have to track every payment for awhile looking for the billing to be corrected, late payments to be refunded and make sure the credit is reversed. So it will take at least one billing cycle for this all to be working properly again, maybe longer.
I’m guessing if you’re reading this post, you’re probably not in your company’s A/P department. Maybe you’re in IT/Telecom and would be working with someone in your billing department on a fiasco like this. That means double the labor to find a resolution, and then the additional task of monitoring the situation for over a month. Probably not the best use of your time!
So make sure your Telecom Expense Reduction Analysts take the time to carefully audit each and every telecom invoice – to maximize your expense reduction – and then cut the checks ONE per invoice. The goal is to match Apples to Apples so the dollar amounts add up…. and the account numbers match, and the payments get applied right, etc etc etc… Otherwise, next time, this might be YOUR mess….