Your Telecom Expense Management Program Called… It Found Savings

Michael Saxton, Business Solutions Director, Telecom at ENGIE Insight

Four Ways to Realize Savings Through Telecom

Is your Telecom expense management program giving you the one-two punch? In recent years, the pressures facing companies managing their telecom management programs have multiplied rapidly. Like almost every area of your complex payables, resources are thin, the demand to reduce cost is high, business requirements and technology are constantly shifting and growing, and vendor relationships, incoming invoices, and contracts must be tightly managed.

Finance + IT = A Powerful Partnership for Telecom Savings

Whether you’re in Finance managing expenses or in IT managing the network, you can work together to be more effective at managing your entire telecom lifecycle, from procurement to daily expense and network management, and from visible reporting to strategic network optimization. This powerful partnership plus these four steps can help you achieve one of your ultimate goals – savings.

1. Procure Like a Boss 

While IT is dealing with the contract and capabilities across an array of device types, services and needs, Finance is dealing with the bottom line. Understanding your needs, identifying the right vendors, and negotiating the best contracts at the best price is a strategic exercise. It requires industry and market expertise, and the flexibility to take advantage of shifting internal requirements, new technologies and changing prices.

Contract negotiation can be one of the biggest “out of the gate” wins for telecom savings. Too often we see unnecessary (and costly) services added on to contracts, and terms that aren’t in your favor. Getting this first phase right sets you up for success throughout the rest of the lifecycle.

Pro tip: When it comes to procurement, allow for enough time for both IT and Finance to vet out all possibilities, based on your organization’s agreed-upon requirements. Don’t rush the process!

2. Network Meets Expense Management

Network & expense management is the day-to-day work necessary to any program. Keeping the network running and minimizing or preventing downtime is vital for IT. And for Finance, ensuring that bills are correct and paid on time is key.

17% of bills have an issue that requires investigation

By building strong and automated processes, you can help you avoid financial risks in your portfolio. In particular, look to automate the following:

  • Payment Processing: Manage cashflow, reduce late fees and prevent shuts offs with a standardized approach to payment processing.
  • Audit & Analysis: To avoid unnecessary expenses and ensure invoices are correct, audit your invoices and compare them to things like rates, contracts, and previous bills.
  • Lifecycle of a Service Order: Leave nothing behind by incorporating billing validation in your process. By confirming the receipt of invoices, this process helps to avoid potential shutoffs and forgotten or stranded services.

3. Capture Complete Data

What once was simple wireline is gone – now your expenses for telecom are broad. Businesses are leveraging tablets and hotspots for point-of-sale or customer service specialty lines. The more accounts you have, the more data points there are to capture.

Telecom advances so quickly that having a clear view into your data is imperative. Having access to real-time data about inventory, usage, spend and service can help you better manage both the day-to-day and long-term needs of your telecom management program.

Having a clear view of your accounts, invoices, and the related actionable data delivers savings in many forms, the top five being:

  1. Preventing late fees
  2. Ensuring you’re not overcharged
  3. Finding errors
  4. Uncovering areas to bundle
  5. Managing vendor and contract compliance

4. Optimize Strategically

One area in which we commonly see businesses struggle is pulling actionable insights from their data.

In fact, in a recent study we conducted of 250 C&I business representatives, 30% said that pulling actionable insights from data was their biggest data challenge.

Although it’s a challenge, extracting insights from your data—and knowing about market disruptions and how they’re affecting your telecom needs—enables IT and Finance to strategically optimize your telecom program. Understanding and pulling true insights from the data can help make broader business decisions about how to optimize your network and expenses. It can also help to validate an entirely new direction when needed.

One national dining chain got a clear view into their telecom accounts across their portfolio and were able to identify a large amount of wireless and wireline contracts that could be discontinued. Their immediate savings totaled $70k per month in avoided fees.

How does your Telecom Management Program Compare?

Ready to punch back? Review your process with what we shared above – what stage of your telecom lifecycle is missing? What challenge do you and your IT or Finance partner have to fill? What savings are you leaving behind?

To begin implementing change in your Telecom program, let’s talk!

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