Monthly Archives: November 2011
The New York Times is reporting that AT&T is working to revive its merger deal with T-Mobile…..
AT&T has been secretly working on an audacious 11th-hour deal to salvage the transaction: AT&T is knee-deep in talks with Leap Wireless, a second-tier but growing wireless player, to sell it a big piece of T-Mobile’s customer accounts and some of its wireless spectrum, according to people involved in the negotiations.
AT&T hopes such a deal would placate the Justice Department enough for it to drop its opposition to AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile, these people said, or at least to strengthen AT&T’s hand if it goes to trial. The deal would make Leap the fourth-largest wireless carrier in the nation, but it would allow AT&T to retain enough of T-Mobile’s valuable wireless spectrum, which it says it badly needs to provide the kind of next-generation service that its customers expect, these people said.
If the Leap deal sounds a bit like a Hail Mary pass, that is because it is.
When conducting local service telecom phone audits, some of the most common cost reductions opportunities are due to a need for a local calling plan or un-needed local calling plans already in place. These are typically not large cost saving items, but can add up over time, and are very easy to implement.
Let’s start with your business phone lines or trunks. The most common issue with line/trunk local calling plans are locations that have them on their lines, but don’t use them. Or the problem that, to be cost effective, you have to use almost exactly the amount of calls allotted. In most cases, the local calling plan is not necessary, and you’d be better off and cost effective without it. Do some quick analysis or contact the vendor to make that determination.
PRI T-1 local calling plans are the other common area not managed properly.
Typically, a location using a PRI for the local dial tone should have either a local calling plan in place or be under an unlimited PRI (all local calls included in the monthly circuit fee). Exceptions would be PRI’s used primarily for inbound or very low outbound use. The cost difference from vendor tariff on the calls or minutes is typically much worse than the rates you can get with a plan or unlimited PRI. If your usage is over 10,000 minutes per month, which is common, it can really get costly.
So be sure to contact your vendors and know your options. These plans typically require short and relatively small contract commitment levels, and can help you significantly reduce your telecom expenses in the long run.
And remember, if you need help working with vendors, or reducing telecom costs, reach out for help to our telecom auditing teams.
AT&T Inc. signaled for the first time last week that its planned $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA is more likely to fail than to succeed, saying Thursday it would set aside $4 billion in this year’s final quarter to cover the potential cost of the deal falling apart.
The move came after Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said this week he would seek a rare, trial-like hearing on the merger, which would add months of arguments and another big hurdle for the controversial deal.
When conducting telecom contract negotiations, large businesses know and expect to scrutinize all areas of those contracts prior to signing them. They not only review the contracts for pricing negotiation, but also for terms and conditions negotiation. The latter, the so called “T’s and C’s”, are what we often see small and medium size businesses overlook. Whether you feel it’s unimportant, or that the contract value is too small, you still have the opportunity to scrutinize this verbiage, and it can often be in your best interest.
Next time you review a vendor contract, evaluate those terms and conditions, and look for areas that are too far one-sided and benefit only the vendor. Then attempt to request some changes or redline the document. This can be helpful in many areas that can truly affect your business, such as termination penalties, minimum commitment levels, and pricing stabilization for new services down the line. There’s no harm in making an effort to further protect your company by negotiating these areas, and the worst that can happen is they say “No”. But you’ll be surprised at how often they’ll actually work with you on these changes, providing you with an overall more successfully negotiated contract.
I’ve been really pleased and surprised at the massive response, and positive feedback, to our latest white paper - “7 Strong Tactics to Control Telecom & Wireless Costs”
The need for best practices in telecom and wireless expense management is certainly there and we’re happy to offer our expertise to CFOs and Telecom Managers.
If you haven’t yet downloaded the paper, visit “7 Strong Tactics to Control Telecom & Wireless Costs”.
If you have, then the next steps would be to determine where your company fits in the range of telecom expense management solutions we offer. As we remarked in a recent post on TEM options, telecom management best practices can come in one of three flavors. Contact us for more details on any of these, or to setup a short discussion so we can recommend something for you.
- Clearview Subscription – This grants you access to Clearview, so you can utilize the software to help 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, is a great tool for any CFO, IT or Telecom manager or consultant looking for a better way to do your job.
- Outsourced Telecom Lifecycle Management - This is the traditional BPO (business process outsourcing) model of TEM. Here you contract with a third party firm like Valicom 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.
- Hybrid Clearview + Outsourced Solution - This option allows you to deploy 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.
So if you’re ready to leverage best practices and strong tactics to bring your telecom and wireless costs under control, contact us or call 608.227.0619 and we’ll help you determine what option works best for YOU!
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.
Variable cellular costs can add up quickly. Most of the time you don’t know they are going to happen until they hit your bottom line. Then, OUCH! you certainly feel it. If these costs aren’t being watched and controlled it can happen month after month and really add up. Variable costs include text messaging, downloads, and – with most carriers new data plan changes - data overages.
The traditional way to track and control these expenses would be to look through each carrier’s invoices either by paging through paper or pulling reports from online billing access. It seems like the carriers make this hard to do, which may be strategic as they are big money makers. And since most businesses have more than one cellular carrier, pulling reports can become cumbersome.
Valicom can help with this. As a part of our web-based Clearview software and bill payment services, we house all of this detailed billing information in one place for you. A one stop shop to look for the information you need to control your telecom expenses. This information can be viewed by user (shown below), or pulled via one easy-to-use report. Along with the usage information, the users monthly plans can be stored in the same tool.
There are even further uses for this information. Does your Department head have a question on how many minutes an employee is using? Would your IT team like to cancel unused aircards? This can all be done by using the information stored in the Clearview telecom expense management software tool.
To see more request a customized demo of how Clearview can work for you.
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”
One of the biggest hurdles for any organization when it comes to taking a more aggressive approach to managing their telecommunications expenses is simply getting started. The first step on the road to reducing costs and increasing expense visibility is to develop a complete, detailed, and organized inventory that accurately reflects the entire telecommunications spend.
Often, a company’s telecommunications spend is so disorganized and improperly documented, that it can be daunting to try and begin to make sense of what is out there.
That’s where Valicom comes in. As part of a TEM partnership with Valicom, your entire telecommunications spend is organized and accurately documented. And once Valicom completes that effort, it is far less work to maintain that inventory on an on-going basis and keep it up-to-date.
In the process of gathering all of the data and making sense of it all, most companies find that they in fact are paying for services that they no longer need – or never needed in the first place. So the initial process of organizing can, by itself, yield impressive cost reductions.
Valicom has years of experience and time-tested processes that can help ease the pain of getting over that first hurdle. In fact, with Valicom’s help, it won’t even be a hurdle anymore and you will be well on your way to achieving the cost reductions and increased visibility into your telecommunications spend that you have been missing.
Madison, WI (PRWEB) November 08, 2011
Valicom, a twenty year veteran of telecom auditing, today published a new telecom expense management white paper entitled “Seven Strong Tactics to Contain Telecom Costs” outlining seven best practices in managing telecom and wireless costs. 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.
As voice and wireless environments get more complex, it is even more important to leverage intelligent management tactics to identify and address the best cost savings opportunities. Drawing on its extensive telecom auditing experience, Valicom lays out a framework for building a strong telecom expense management program, and highlights how modern web-based software tools support the use of these best practices.
Mike Krogman, Director of Client Services at Valicom, and a thirteen year veteran of telecom analysis, stated, “We tried to distill our top ideas into this paper, so telecom managers can quickly understand where they should focus their energy when trying to gain control over their environment.”
Krogman continued, “We know that things are getting harder, as new technologies and devices increase the scope of telecom management, but to be honest, no matter what you are managing, the best practices stay the same. If you can create a good foundation, and implement good software tools, you can tackle almost anything.”
Valicom offers Clearview, its web-based telecom expense, inventory and invoice management software, and delivers an a la carte suite of telecom auditing solutions. This supports the best practice of only using the services your business really needs.
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