Monthly Archives: April 2012
In the ongoing Cell Wars, it is interesting to see that Sprint is still in there and pitching hard. In an article on cnet today, they announced that even if the next iPhone is 4G LTE, they will continue to offer an “all you can eat” unlimited data plan to their users – as they are doing now with current LTE phones. It is not even certain if the next iPhone with have the capability, but according to Sprint CEO Dan Hesse “I’m not anticipating the unlimited plan would change by that point,” he said. “That’s our distinctive differentiator.”
So if your corporate phones are with Sprint, you can rest easy knowing that the data buffet won’t be closing on you anytime soon. Small consolation in the sea of other telecom costs, but something to celebrate.
TechRepublic had a great article on things to think about when outfitting your sales staff with tablets for the first time.
We would agree on all points, and add one more.
- Develop a standard tablet setup for the sales team
- Create tablet-friendly marketing and sales content
- Make the standard sales team tablet a communications hub
- Test first, then sell
- Don’t forget technology training and documentation
- Account for tablets in sales productivity metrics
- Deploy sales training to the tablet
They key points they address are all important, but nowhere in this list do they discuss cost! If you’re rolling out expensive new toys for your staff, you might want to plan ahead to get the best deal on all the data plans that are going to hit your bottom line. Wireless carriers are not about to roll out the red carpet and offer you a strong package at a great price… at least not if you don’t ask. Or pool your data. Or think about it at all, which – unfortunately – is probably how most things like this get deployed. “We need it. Do it.” And then later, its “Oops – this cost us HOW much?!”
So to try and head that off at the pass, we’d add #8. Think About Costs. Do your homework. See which carrier, which device, and which plans will save you the most money long term. If you need some help, talk to someone with experience in wireless and and data expense management.
Valicom Announces Webinar: The Telecom Expense Management Landscape in 2012: Trends, Tools & Opportunities
Twenty-one year telecom expense management veteran Valicom will hold a webinar for IT and telecom consultants, IT solution and managed service providers. Join us May 23, 1:00 PM central time for “The Telecom Expense Management Landscape in 2012: Trends, Tools & Opportunities”.
Is the TEM of today the TEM of tomorrow?
Valicom President Jeff Poirior and Marketing & Consultant Liaison Manager Lacinda Athen will lay out the current industry landscape, how it is changing, and the opportunities being created for managed service providers, IT firms and IT & telecom consultants. Hear market data, research and case studies illustrating what services and tools are in demand, and how new flexible options and web-based software tools can help expand your service portfolio and grow your business. We will also briefly touch on how Valicom’s Consultant Liaison and Partner Programs and how they support businesses in delivering or recommending TEM software and services to the market.
If your business is looking to grow in 2012, and you’ve wanted to explore the growing area of telecom and wireless expense, invoice and inventory management, join us on May 23rd to learn more.
Wednesday, May 23 - 1:00 PM. CST
- Register Now
Valicom is a member of TEMIA – the Telecom Expense Management Industry Association.
Thus we wanted to pass on this blog post and invite our readers to participate in the survey as well.
By Joe Basili, Managing Director, TEMIA
Telecom Resellers, IT System Integrators and Telecom Agents need Telecom Expense Management, TEM, Wireless Expense Management, WEM, and Mobile Device Management, MDM now more than ever. This may seem like a contradiction, but here are eight reasons these services should be part of their portfolio of offerings. Also, be sure to participate in our survey.
- As commissions from telecom carriers shrink, TEM, WEM and MDM can provide new revenue and consistent income for agents.
- Carriers are seeking partners that have ongoing customer contact and bring value to the relationship.
- Resellers are working to help enterprises transform their networks. TEM, WEM and MDM programs provide critical Business Intelligence to efficiently implement the work and ensure that legacy services are discontinued and removed from billing.
- Customers do not want to buy telecommunications services they do not need or pay extra for them.
- Customers and resellers benefit from reporting that consolidates clients’ carrier expenses together and validates these charges. Having this information can be critical to managing client relationships.
- Telecom Expense Management, Wireless Expense Management and Mobile Device Management provide confirmation that agents are providing efficient service to their clients and controlling telecom costs. Solutions Integrators, System Integrators and Telecom Agents get tangible proof from Telecom Expense Management, Wireless Expense Management and Mobile Device Management reports that clients are realizing savings.
- Managing mobile devices is one of the top challenges that enterprises face. Many organizations are seeking to address rapidly rising mobile expenses through a proactive approach with wireless expense management solutions.
- TEM WEM and MDM Solutions Providers offer best practices that can help enterprises manage their networks and mobile devices more proactively.
The TEM market is poised to grow for years to come. As long as network and network-related expenses remain among the top five expense items on the profit and loss statement, and the percentage of revenue coming across the network versus a cash register drawer continues to grow, TEM will remain central to the profitability and success of the enterprise. These developments show promise for resellers/agents, Value added Resellers or VARs, Systems Integrators, dealers and interconnects that seek to attract new customers and sell more services with new functionality to clients.
This post, refers to Wireless Expense Management, Mobile Device Management, and other items as part of TEM. Many people feel that TEM is too limiting because it does not convey all the activities that enterprises need to manage relating to telecom. This includes: Sourcing; TEM; Wireless Expense Management; Mobile Device Management; Mobile Security Management; IT Infrastructure Management; Management of vendors responsible for network communications and IT Infrastructure. Which term do you feel best describes the industry and the functions that it performs?
- Telecom Life Cycle Management
- Communications Life Cycle Management
- Technology Life Cycle Management
- Communications Technology Life Cycle Management
- Fixed and Mobile Telecom Life Cycle Management Solutions
- Something else: ___________________________________
Please click here to participate in this brief survey. I will share the results in a few weeks.
What does Earth Day have to do with Telecom Management? Normally? Nothing. But in honor of the planet’s upcoming birthday, we thought we’d share a few things you can do to “green up” your telecom management practice. Because, as they say, every little bit helps….
Switch to electronic telecom invoice processing.
This is an easy one. No one likes paper anyway, its so 1990. So if you haven’t yet, talk to all your telecom and wireless providers and work to get your billing electronically. You can just get e-copies of invoices, or you can outsource invoice management to a third party firm who deals with it for you, possibly loading all the data into a software you can use to manage your entire telecom environment. But however you do it, now is the time!
Implement a telecom device recycling program.
Another one that isn’t as hard as it sounds, or as hard as it USED to be. It used to be a pain to find someone to take your old stuff, but a whole industry has arisen to deal with this problem. If you aren’t big enough to warrant finding a company to deal with your cast-offs, then at least investigate your city or county recycling regulations. Most municipalities take all sorts of electronics for recycling, from your old dead phone to your new dead flat-screen TV. As an example, our own Madison City Recycling Center has a fabulous “Recyclopedia” that tells you what to do with darn near anything you can think of – INCLUDING cell phones!
With the merging of “telecom” and “IT” that is going on in the market, we think we can get away with adding this green tip. EnergyStar is a government agency tasked with testing products of all types and determining which ones sip the least amount of energy. Those devices earn the EnergyStar’s coveted brand. If you or your team is due for some new machines, it is worth checking their Computer Rating page to see if you can pick a green choice. You can also just make sure all employees are utilizing the computer’s built in energy management program, to reduce its consumption. It will not only save the earth, but it will save on YOUR energy bill if those suckers are plugged into your office outlet all day. Win win!
This is one I had to learn when I got into telecom expense management too, as acronyms are always a pain. CSR stands for “Customer Service Record”. Clear as mud, right?
In the telecom universe, a CSR is a copy of what the carrier actually has in its database regarding your account – all your services, the lines, circuits, locations, details and additional services being billed. They aren’t normally something you would look at, but will be released by the carrier upon request by you or by an auditing firm working for you.
The value of a CSR is that it gives a very detailed picture of your telecom environment, much more detailed than you would find on an invoice. And if you know how to decipher one (which I might add, isn’t necessarily easy) it can unlock a variety of options to reduce your telecom expenses.
So if you’re curious, order up a copy and have a look for yourself. And be aware that a good telecom audit would probably require these documents, as it gives the auditor a deeper dive into your services.
As a follow-up to our post on Wireless Optimization, we wanted to clarify the term “wireless pooling”. In a nutshell, it means putting all your users on one plan with a certain number of allotted minutes, or Mb of data usage, and having them share it – rather than each one having an individual plan.
Now, as you might imagine, carriers aren’t a huge fan of this idea, since its purpose it to minimize overage charges for your big users by letting them tap data or minutes unused by others in the pool. Good for you, bad for the carrier.
So, sounds great! What’s the catch? Well, its figuring out how deep to dig the pool. If you overguess, you are paying for more than you need every month, which can get pricey. If you go to shallow, you end up paying overcharges anyway, and that’s a mess too.
Valicom offers a Wireless Optimization service that can include pooling. We utilize Clearview, our wireless expense management software, to help figure out the best way to save you money. To learn more, request a short demo and discussion today.
Reading a great article this morning in our local business magazine, InBusiness, discussing the business case to upgrade your staff to 4G wireless access. While we all know the main drumbeat for 4G is “speed, speed, speed”, they make an interesting analogy to cover the other aspects of what it offers. “…4G is more of an enhancement of 3G functions than a feature upgrade. It has been compared to the difference between watching regular TV and high-definition TV.”
The article goes on to discuss the reasons you might want to upgrade, from better video and file downloads, to expanded online collaboration and access to support telecommuters and field staff, to improvements for small business and home offices. They also go into a discussion of separating the offerings of the various carriers.
Not critical business news, but this is kind of fun to check out. This infographic by Lookout Mobile Security shows the history of iOS and Android, as well as the projected sales growth through 2012.
Click the graphic to see a larger version that is easier to read. Enjoy.
To reflect this change in the industry, and thanks to the capabilities of our web-based telecom expense management software Clearview to streamline collaboration, we offer a greater array of a la carte options than ever before. This applies not only to end user clients, like telecom managers or CIOs at mid-size to large firms, but to the range of consultants and partners we work with too.
For a firm or organization, it allows them to manage what they can – and want to – in house, while outsourcing the pieces they neither want or nor care to deal with. Sometimes it comes down to time, other times it is expertise. Maybe they want to enter their invoice data themselves, but get a professional Telecom Auditor to review them each month before they are paid. Or maybe they want to audit their invoices themselves, but don’t want to deal with the data entry to get the invoice information in the software. So they’d outsource that to Valicom, audit in house, and then let Valicom pay their bills and send a feed back to Accounting. The nice thing about flexibility is that it allows you to tap into resources you have, while utilizing external resources intelligently.
For consultants, it works the same way. They have expertise, and we have expertise. Using Clearview, we can seamlessly create a solution for their end user client, leveraging the best of both worlds. And for partners, it gives them a menu of services they can take to their clients, allowing them to fill a need and be a better provider for their customers.
So what telecom expense management services do we offer? Take a look!
- Clearview Subscriptions
- Invoice Audit
- Invoice Processing
- Invoice Payment
- Cost Allocation
- Data Entry
- CSR Analysis
- Inventory Creation
- Asset Management
- Network Optimization
- Wireless Optimization
- Request for Proposal
- Contract Negotiations
- Order Fulfillment
- Contract Compliance
- Follow-up Audit
- Test Calls
Learn more, get a discussion and a short demo of Clearview today.