Monthly Archives: September 2010
As if the Internet, with all of its information, or non-information, and tools, widgets, etc wasn’t enough of a distraction… not to be outdone, the telecommunications industry (and more specifically, wireless telecommunications) has developed smart phones that come with full featured browsers and we can all now carry the full distractablity of the Internet in our pockets.
There was a time, not long ago, when you didn’t have to be interrupted in a restaurant by your date updated her Facebook status, or responding to a Twitter post. Not anymore though…
While this surplus of distractions is irritating on a personal level – it can also be intimidating to businesses too. Performing optimizations and telecom expense management activities was hard enough, especially for businesses with corporate responsible wireless policies.
In the telecom expense management world, we often find ourselves helping our clients understand and police the behaviors of their users. Sometimes, it can be as simple as trying to determine the right type of device for a particular position. Either way, the telecommunications devices available today change so frequently and have so many features, that it’s no surprise to us that our clients’ lean on us for advice as frequently as they do.
One fast way to help control wireless expenses and manage all your wireless devices better is to implement a Wireless Policy. This helps police the types of devices and phones people can use, the data plans available, and encourages standardization. If you want to try it out, download our wireless policy template for free.
Otherwise, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the constantly changing and distracting world of wireless gadgetry, consider calling Valicom, and having someone who does this stuff for a living stand with you in your corner and give you a fighting chance.
Think the Great Recession is over? Not for CIOs. For the second year running, business productivity and cost reduction was the No. 1 concern of CIOs, CTOs and IT executives in the annual CIO survey from the Society for Information Management — and by a wide margin, according to Jerry Luftman, who has conducted the survey for SIM for the past 10 years.
This year’s CIO survey states the following top concerns for IT professionals….
- Business productivity and cost reduction
- Business agility and speed to market
- IT and business alignment
- IT reliability and efficiency
- Business process re-engineering
- IT strategic planning
- Revenue generating IT innovations
- IT cost reduction
- Security and privacy
This list reveals what most IT and CFO professionals already know. Cost cutting is paramount to maintaining your business in this economic environment. Preferably cutting expenses and NOT staff, since many firms are already tight in that department.
And as telecom usually falls under the sphere of IT, managed by a CIO or CTO, the findings point to a growing need for telecom cost reduction and expense management. Valicom’s telecom audit services and telecom expense and inventory tracking software Clearview can help increase business productivity AND cut IT and telecom costs. Putting that 10, 20 or 30% savings to the bottom line can counteract unpleasant measures in other areas. Save money and use it for something else.
Working in the Telecom Expense Management world, it’s clear that data communications, and particularly wireless data communications, have been and will continue to be the dominant driver behind new technologies and new methods of sharing and working with information.
The FCC is currently in the process of considering the release of the old television frequencies into the unlicensed realm, which will open the doors for a new generation of Wi-Fi that will cover a lot more ground than current technologies.
When air-wave television switched to hi-def digital, a portion of the wireless spectrum was vacated. This portion has a much longer wavelength than the current 2.4-GHz used for wireless routers. If the FCC does open the old TV spectrum to Wi-Fi use, then communities and neighborhoods will, for the first time, be able to provide true wireless Internet coverage.
The two big advantages of the longer wavelength are that it travels greater distances without signal degradation, and can penetrate building materials much more easily than the current wireless spectrum. This will enable more coverage with fewer towers, or hot-spots.
While there are many implications, and no doubt many unknowns in terms of the overall impact of a change like this – at the very least, it will provide a new option for businesses to communicate. As you move forward through the next couple of years of planning your telecommunications budgets and considering how to best approach your telecommunications needs – make sure to pay attention to the develops around the new super Wi-Fi.
In our ongoing effort to bring best practices of telecom expense management to as many businesses as we can, Valicom will again be attending the WBENC Conference and Business Expo in Chicago September 22nd.
As a 100% woman-owned firm, Valicom has been meeting supplier diversity needs for our clients for almost twenty years. As a certified WBE, women’s business enterprise, we offer a unique additional opportunity to our clients. We not only rack up high customer satisfaction scores year after year, but we can help fulfill company’s diversity goals.
If your firm is looking to increase the business you do with diverse suppliers, and need a telecom audit, telecom expense management software, telecom invoice processing and payment or anything else – plan to see us there!
One of the classic TEM audit projects is determining if there are lines in your telecommunications spend that are no longer in use, but of course, still billing. A very direct and thorough method to accomplish this is test calls.
By calling every single line in your inventory, and recording the answer status, you can then determine which lines can be disconnected. This is an easy way to achieve cost savings quickly and clean up your telecom inventory.
Now, you might be thinking that calling all of your lines sounds daunting. And you would be correct – assuming you were picturing calling them all manually. This is another example of how an experienced TEM firm can help you.
At Valicom, we’ve been performing test call analysis for years. We have automated systems that can call all of your lines, and record the type of answer, or if there even is an answer. Our system can call hundreds of lines per day and enables a test call analysis to be completed very quickly.
In addition to performing the actual test calls themselves, Valicom can also lend expertise in helping you determine the course of action of lines with a questionable answer status. You may have alarm lines for example, that won’t answer, but do indeed need to remain active.
Outreach to local businesses in Wisconsin has always been a priority for Valicom. Our telecom expense management services can save our clients 20% or more off their annual telecom spend. This isn’t something we hope to keep a secret, so we are working to increase visibility in our own community.
To that end, I have been attending GMCC events and hit the Business Card Exchange last night. Meeting and mingling with other Madison-area businesses is always a rewarding experience. Relationships are made and maintained through such face-to-face opportunities.
And it’s well worth the time. We’re here to help people with their bottom line. Any firm spending $50K or more in telecom each year – POTS lines (plain old telephone service), smart phones, cell phones, pagers, circuits, data plans, internet connectivity – anything telecom related that costs money, can use our help. If you’re looking for a telecom expense management firm, you should give us a call!
Valicom Reports Sustained “Record High” Client Satisfaction Scores into 2010
A winning combination of customized telecom expense management solutions and personalized service earns Valicom record high client satisfaction scores for first and second quarter 2010.
Madison, Wisconsin (September 13, 2010) – Soliciting feedback from customers, to gauge their level of satisfaction with your services, is an age old tradition in business. This deep desire for information drives everything from “Secret Shoppers” to the toll-free “Tell us how we’re doing?” number printed on the back of a receipt. For Valicom, it shows in our eleven year tradition of surveying clients quarterly, to learn how well we are delivering in eight key areas: professionalism, overall expectation, communication, quality and accuracy, understanding client needs, responsiveness, meeting deadlines, and overall value.
Thus we were very happy to see that our record high score of 3.79, on a 4.0 scale, from 4th quarter 2009 has been sustained into 2010. With an increasing number of companies trying to do more with less, the cost-saving telecom expense management software and telecom audit services we deliver can really impact the bottom line. In addition, Valicom differentiates itself from the competition by offering a wide range of in-house and outsourced solutions, giving clients the option of how they want their services tailored. This combination of flexibility, top-notch business expense reduction results and excellence in customer service has proven a winning combination for Valicom for almost twenty years.
As stated by Jeff Poirior, Valicom’s Chief Operating Officer, “Learning where we are excelling, and where we need revisions in delivering our services, is key to continuous improvement. We always look to exceed expectations, not just meet them. We’re in pursuit of that perfect client satisfaction score, and each step closer we get shows we’re bringing our A game. Our clients deserve no less.”
Valicom continues to serve the telecom expense management needs of small to mid-sized businesses and enterprise clients. Their newest addition is Clearview, a leading edge software-as-a-service (SaaS) telecom expense management software platform.
In the world of telecommunications, technology changes quickly. And so do people’s expectations. When I was in college, apartment complexes would brag of having a dedicated T1 for their building to provide Internet for their tenants. At the time, this seemed pretty awesome. Thinking back, nobody really new what a T1 was – we just knew it was fast.
Having worked for a TEM now for the past 6 years, and knowing very well just what a T1 is – I can’t image using a single T1 to provide Internet for dozens of apartments. After all, a T1 only provides roughly a quarter of a typical residential broadband connection.
It’s also interesting that some carriers still advertise T1 circuits for data as if they’re the cat’s pajamas. And while a T1 certainly has it’s applications – dollar for dollar, it’s pretty expensive bandwidth compared to some of the other options.
Helping clients stay current on the telecommunications technologies available, and making sure they are using these technologies to their advantage is something we do every day at Valicom. A good relationship with a TEM firm should always provide more than just cost reduction – the TEM firm should also bring knowledge and expertise to the table to help guide your strategies and telecommunication technology projects.
In my last blog, entitled “The Benefits of On-Demand Telecom Expense Management Software,” you were left with the thought that, not only are there benefits, but also potential disadvantages of on-demand telecom expense management software. This blog will outline those drawbacks and how you can mitigate them.
Lack of security, disaster recovery and data ownership issues can be detrimental for businesses acquiring Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions of any kind. When selecting a SaaS telecom expense management provider, companies should insist on strong security protocols, disaster recovery infrastructure and ensure that the SaaS agreement includes a provision that states that the data remains the property of their organization. The data center that houses the hosted solution should be state-of-the-art, fully secure and SAS70 compliant. This will protect the confidentiality and integrity of your data and make sure that it is always accessible when you need it.
Finally! There is a cost-effective solution to address the unanswered need in the mid-market for TEM solutions. SaaS technology providers allow for the processes, tools and training to gain greater control over business telecom expenses, and at a fraction of the cost of traditional telecom expense management solutions. During the due diligence process, mid-market companies need to make sure that the SaaS application is secure, fully protected and that the end user maintains ownership of the data. If all checks out, the answer is quite obvious to the question: “To SaaS or Not To SaaS?!”
This is the last of my blog series on the topic of TEM SaaS Solutions. To read more about this topic, register for Valicom’s whitepaper entitled “Can TEM SaaS Solutions Lower Your Telecom Expenses For Mid-Market Companies?” OR register to watch the streaming telecom expense management webinar sponsored by Valicom about this topic.
In my last blog entitled “To SaaS or Not To SaaS…??,” I provided just a few of the advantages of utilizing on-demand telecom expense management software. Those outlined were just the tip of the iceberg. Here are a few others.
Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, can be easy-to-learn and simple-to-use, while still possessing robust capabilities. Through online training and client support teams, the user can expand their use of the tool as their knowledge increases. Upgrades are installed automatically as they are rolled out, usually at no additional charge. SaaS telecom expense management solutions can scale up or down with the users’ volume requirements. And SaaS TEM technologies come at a much lower price point than more traditional TEM solutions. Thus SaaS is a low-cost way to access the low hanging fruit of expense reduction without the infrastructure, IT support, and high learning curve required with on-premise software.
There is also the issue of deployment time. According to recent analyst research, it can take anywhere from 8 – 10 months to implement traditional telecom expense management applications. This can be dramatically reduced to days or weeks with SaaS because of the ease of deploying a web-based solution vs. on-premise or outsourced options. Custom reporting can be easily configured and installed at any time, as the product is delivered online. In addition, SaaS tools can capture and analyze usage and fixed costs from billing and produce exceptions reports, outlining potential errors and other savings opportunities. Clearview, Valicom’s self-service telecom expense management software, offers these benefits and many more!
While there are many benefits, there are some potential drawbacks of telecom expense management software-as-a-service. To learn about these disadvantages and how you can mitigate them, register for Valicom’s whitepaper entitled “Can TEM SaaS Solutions Lower Your Telecom Expenses For Mid-Market Companies?” OR register to watch the streaming telecom expense management webinar sponsored by Valicom about this topic.