Are your telecom expenses holding back investment in your employees?

Communication is an essential part of any organization. Many businesses are wired to accommodate desk phones as well as internet connectivity to cover a broad range of employee and customer preferences. However, as mobile devices have become a regular part of the workplace, organizations now must account for these expenses and the support that they require.

Since these mobile devices are often user enabled or owned, it can be difficult to track all of the expenses related to these gadgets along with your other communication tools, creating rifts in resource planning. Telecom expenses could be holding back investment in your employees, but there are some things that you can do to get them back on track.

Overspending on telecom

Businesses rely on telecom tools to reach out to providers, suppliers, employees, clients and more. It's certainly important to have the best solutions available, but the sheer expanse of the technology can make it difficult to monitor. According to Harvard Business Review, 15 to 20 percent of an organization's overall spending isn't managed very closely. This typically involves things like supplies, hardware and telecom assets.

Some departments may choose to pursue communication policies or tools without seeking direct approval for such a move. The problem is that it can become expensive very quickly and create complexity within the organization's architecture. For example, if the majority of a business worked with desk phones, but one team bought mobile phones without IT or management authorization, this could result in a number of issues. The business would end up paying for resources it didn't know it had, and any compliance or support needs could result in higher costs.

Breaking down telecom costs

Organizations already pay a considerable amount for telecom expenses alone. In fact, about 4 percent of an organization's revenue goes toward telecom and related network services, eWEEK contributor Kevin Donoghue reported. However, 26 percent of these expenses typically could have been avoided or are the result of errors. With business budgets being increasingly tightened, that amount of unnecessary spending could have been used for other areas, like investment in your employees.

Many organizations lay out their financial plans ahead of time, and it's difficult to take any resources from areas to be devoted toward other necessities. According to Houston Chronicle contributor Grace Ferguson, some organizations may use between 15 to 30 percent of their gross income for payroll expenses, although this will vary depending on your industry. Businesses in the service sector will likely take more, around 50 percent of the income, to devote to employees. While this may seem like a lot, this may only cover the base wages. Some resources aren't as flexible to be used toward bonuses, uniforms, training or other fringe benefits.

Saving on your telecom bills

“The true cost oversight and expense governance start at the organization level.”

Employees are the lifeblood of any company, and telecom is a critical tool in helping them to perform effectively. However, your communications tools don't have to cost an arm and a leg, as long as you manage them closely. According to a study by Ernst & Young, more telecom vendors are aiming to improve their cost control and business efficiencies; in fact, 50 percent of them made this an important strategic priority.

The true cost oversight and expense governance start at the organization level. To roll more investment into your employees, review your telecom bills to identify any odd expenses. It's also important to take stock of all the tools that you have at your disposal. Consult your vendor to find out exactly what you're paying for versus what you actually need. If you have a landline, but everyone uses mobile phones, it may be time to retire your desk phones. It will be important to assess what hardware and software assets are still providing value versus ones that are taking up space and costing you money.

Company cost analysis must also take employee performance into account. How well are workers utilizing their resources? Are they fulfilling their job requirements and improving their productivity or are they meeting roadblocks? These questions can help justify costs and identify areas that can be cut back for investment in the staff.

With telecom expense management, organizations can easily analyze what resources aren't valuable to their operations anymore. TEM will help organizations decrease overall telecom costs and put money back into business pockets to use for investment in their employees.

About the Author: Jeff Poirior

Jeff brings 25 years of telecommunications and information technology management experience in voice and data networking, server support, and telephony and security; with a significant emphasis on customer service. Prior to joining Valicom, he was chief of the infrastructure support section for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Jeff was the vice president of operations for CC&N, overseeing telecommunications, help desk, data and desk side support services. Prior to that, he served as the associate director of technical resources for Covance, responsible for managing systems and network operations supporting 1700 users in Wisconsin and Virginia. He has also led data center operations at Magnetek Electric, supporting mainframe systems, client/server applications, telephony systems, and computer-aided design. Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cardinal Stritch University and a master’s degree in business administration from University of Phoenix. In addition, Jeff is a past board member of the Wisconsin Telecommunication Association.