Monthly Archives: July 2011
Telecom expense management (TEM) firm Valicom will be participating in CompTIA’s annual Breakaway in Washington DC August 1-4 to showcase their SaaS telecom and wireless expense management platform Clearview. Utilizing the web-based TEM software, IT consultants and IT solution providers can expand their service offering and increase revenues through white label and profit-sharing partnerships. This offers a unique opportunity to enter the lucrative telecom management market. Attendees can visit Valicom in Booth #404 during the Technology Vendor Fair.
Madison, WI (July 28, 2011) – Telecom expense management (TEM) firm Valicom will participate in CompTIA’s Annual Breakaway in Washington DC August 1-4. CompTIA is a leading IT industry association. Their Breakaway is a place for IT professionals to learn new skills and for technology vendors to introduce solutions to the IT channel. Valicom will be showcasing their web-based telecom and wireless expense management software Clearview.
Lacinda Athen, who will be attending the show for Valicom, says “We’re excited to bring this unique revenue opportunity to the IT channel and feel it’s a good fit. With telecom complexity exploding, more and more firms are looking to their IT partners to streamline voice, data and wireless operations while reducing costs. Clearview provides IT businesses an easy entry into the lucrative telecom expense management market. I look forward to showing them how to plug TEM into IT.”
Clearview is a SaaS (software-as-a-service) application for tracking voice, wireless and data expenses. Encompassing inventory, invoice, contract, user and usage information, it offers deep visibility and custom reporting at a reasonable cost.
Valicom’s solution partners Clearview with a suite of telecom expense control services like telecom auditing, invoice processing and inventory management, allowing IT consultants and IT solution providers to expand services and increase revenues. Having delivered telecom expense management for over twenty years, Valicom offers a solid combination of business intelligence, marketing support, coaching and training to help IT businesses grow by adding TEM to their portfolios. Options range from software licensing or white label sales to various profit-sharing arrangements.
To learn more, attendees can visit Booth #404 at the CompTIA Annual Breakaway or visit online www.valicomcorp.com/IT to request a demo of Clearview.
For more information on Valicom, please contact Lacinda Athen, Marketing Manager, at (800) 467-7226 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A common problem addressed in a telecom expense management or telecom invoice auditing program is third party billing, known as “cramming”. TEM firms have long known that this is a problem on landline invoices, and now it is creeping onto cell phone bills too. And Congress is taking notice. A recent report, and a Senate hearing yesterday, are shedding light on the problem and suggesting changes to help remedy it.
Cramming, in the shortest sense, is a fee tacked onto your bill by a third party firm – someone other than your actual telephone or wireless provider – for a service that you didn’t want or often even knew you had. This can be anything – voicemail fees, ringtone charges, credit protection services, “fee for text” broadcasts, the list goes on and on. Whatever it is, you didn’t ask for it, you don’t want it, you probably don’t use it, and the telecom industry makes MILLIONS of dollars a year from it.
But the finger isn’t pointed just at those third party firms, it is also pointed directly at the big telecom vendors. A report issued Wednesday by Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., the result of a year-long investigation, says that three firms — Verizon, AT&T and CenturyLink/Quest — earned $650 million as their cut of cramming charges levied by third-parties since 2006. So part of the complaint is that these big vendors have to know about this practice, and are thus quietly complicit in letting it continue since they get a small percentage of each charge for allowing it onto their bill.
The FCC is working on issuing new rules to help eliminate these practices, but time will tell how quickly they get enacted and how easily they are enforced.
For more information, read the full story here
A variety of articles recently have been discussing that iPads account for 1% of all current internet traffic. That’s not bad for one tablet, but then Apple launched the iPad 14 months ago with total sales topping 25 million devices. Last month, research firm comScore reported that the iPad comprised 89 percent of global tablet traffic. A May survey from Nielsen found Apple’s touchscreen tablet held 82 percent of the tablet market in the U.S. It will take a long time for any tablet competitor to catch up.
Then when we look at all mobile browsing going on, another interesting stat shows up. Even with the zillions of smart phones out there, the iPad alone makes up almost a third of all mobile browsing, at 25.5%. Most experts presume this number will only go up, as consumers and business users alike find more ways to replace laptops or netbooks with tablets over the next 18 months.
What impact will that have on your business’s telecom expense management program? It is something to think about. The 3G, and eventually 4G, data plans for these tablets aren’t cheap. Matching your true wireless data service needs to your plans is a good place to start. Verify usage and ensure that the devices and plans being requested are actually necessary, then optimize as tight as possible.
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.
As I discussed yesterday, we ran some polls during our latest webinar – “Plugging the Leak: How Software Tools & Strong Tactics Contain Telecom Costs” – with some interesting results. Well, not interesting to us – we know what causes our client’s pain – but maybe interesting to you.
Before we got into the tactic of telecom contract management and telecom contract negotiation, we asked how many of them went through that process when their telecom contracts were due for renewal. The answers were all over the board. However, only ONE said they did it “Every time”. I think we had one “Often”, but most said “Sometimes” or “Rarely”.
Now, why is that important? I wanted the attendees to stop and really think about how much time and energy they put into their contract renewals. I wasn’t trying to create guilt, but by putting them in that mindset, the next slide’s main point would hit home better.
And what was that point? In over 20 years of telecom expense management, we have found that telecom contract negotiation, is the #1 way to cut telecom costs.
It comes down to missed opportunity. If you let your telecom contract lapse and renew automatically, you can bet your life savings that the telecom vendor is not going to give you a great deal.
It also eliminates any chance you have to optimize your environment. What do you have now? What are your future needs? Is there any new technology out there you should know about, any consolidation you can do to save money, like devices/lines/circuits/plans that can be bundled, pooled, reduced or eliminated? If you don’t know the answer, then you are in no position to make good decisions and ask your vendor, and maybe several others via a telecom RFP, what they can do for you. And if you don’t ask, you don’t receive.
Stay tuned and our next blog post will talk more about telecom contract negotiation…
Huffington Post had a good article today about the coming end of unlimited wireless data plans at Verizon, and how that might affect you. The key point being that most users have no idea how much data they do, or may, use each month, making it hard to choose a wireless data plan.
I’d agree with that, as I went through that brain twister myself when I bought an Ipad with a Verizon 3G connection. With a new toy, how the heck am I supposed to know how much bandwidth I might suck up? And what if my usage changes six months from now? At least the iPad data is a month by month charge, most cell phone plans lock you in for two years. And that can be a terribly expensive mistake for your wireless environment, unless you have a way to pool usage or do heavy telecom auditing to ensure you aren’t overpaying. With limited caps, you also have to make sure your employees aren’t watching Netflix videos or streaming Pandora on the company dime.
While hosting our summer webinar “Plugging the Leak: How Software Tools & Strong Tactics Contain Telecom Costs“, we gained some insight into our audience’s telecom challenges. To help the attendees learn from their peers, and to keep them awake, we offered a few poll questions with interesting results….
The first question asked what they found their biggest telecom management challenge to be. I was curious to see where the main pain points fell among the usual culprits – telecom inventory management, wireless device and plan control, telecom invoice auditing and processing, issue tracking and credit recovery or vendor management.
75% of the attendees said telecom invoice auditing and processing was their biggest hurdle. Based on what our clients come to us for, I would probably concur with that. The piles of paper and the expertise to know what to look for while auditing, are both challenging.
The next biggest response was telecom inventory management. Knowing WHAT you have is half the battle. At least if your inventory is accurate you can sort of tell what you should be paying for, and we spend a lot of time organizing and updating inventories for our clients. Clearview, our telecom expense management software, is great for helping with that.
Feel free to read more if you’re interested in knowing how Valicom can help you with telecom invoice auditing or telecom invoice processing. We can also offer a hand with telecom inventory management. And you can always use Clearview – our TEM software – to manage it in house. Tomorrow I’ll talk about another interesting poll question we did on telecom RFPs.