Contributor: Jane Laino
Originally posted on nojitter.com
1. Before a Move
Are your inventory records accurate and complete? If not, it is possible to neglect to move a service important to your operations (such as a fax line used for incoming orders). If inventory records are not up to date, your firm could be paying to relocate services that are no longer needed. A communications expense management consultant can help to be sure this does not happen to you.
2. After an acquisition or merger with another company
Even if your organization’s own expenses and inventory records are in order, when you merge, acquire a new company or location, it is advisable to look at their expenses and records. An inventory can pinpoint many different unneeded services, particularly if a new company’s employees move into your locations. Cost reduction opportunities may present themselves immediately, and an experienced communications expense management consultant (who knows what to look for) will identify those for your firm.
3. After Closing a Site
Organizations may be surprised to learn that they are paying for services that should have been disconnected years ago. If a good inventory of services existed and someone in your organization canceled those services, there is no guarantee that they disappeared from the bill. Communications service providers are known to process orders but never submit them to the billing department. A communications expense management consultant can be invaluable in taking the time to deal with the telecommunications service providers to identify and resolve these issues.
4. Before and After Contract Renewal with Your Carriers and Communications Service Providers
Contract renewals are often focused on rate reductions or improving services. But there may be other savings opportunities. A communications expense review ensures that only services that are needed are renewed. After a new contract is implemented, an expense review is still advisable since 60% of the time the implementation goes awry on technical or billing issues. Contract terms and conditions may dictate how much time you have to report a billing error (usually 3 to 6 months). Otherwise you lose your rights to obtain a refund.
5. When there are changes in Regulatory Charges
Regulatory charges, whether or not they are government-mandated, represent an increasing proportion of many communications technology bills. The Federal Universal Service Fund charge is a percentage of the monthly billing for services crossing state lines. FUSF changes quarterly, and has recently gone up to over 31%, increasing the cost of those services by one-third. There are other regulatory fees that vary by state. Your service provider representatives are typically not well-versed in what these charges are and whether they are being appropriately billed. A communications technology expense review will identify these costs and question whether they are appropriate and correct.
6. When moving from Premise to Cloud-Based Services
This type of technology change can take many forms. An example is moving from a premise-based telephone system to a cloud-based system. The expense review is key to tracking whether anticipated savings are being realized. And an accurate inventory is important to be sure that unneeded services are all removed and have stopped billing. The inventory also identifies services that may need to remain or require special treatment, such as alarm and elevator lines. Depending upon location, a communications expense management consultant can determine if those alarm and elevator lines can be provisioned more cost-effectively. Another aspect of this is determining which parts of your premise- based telephone system will remain and ensuring that any licensing fees or maintenance charges are accurate based upon a pared-down or totally removed system.
7. When Transforming Network Technology
Many organizations are migrating to newer, more cost-effective technologies. For example, when moving from older MPLS services, billing must be reviewed by a communications expense management consultant with experience interpreting the complex and confusing terminology on the bills. MPLS billing typically involves multiple components for each site, so it is not uncommon for some components to remain in billing after a site has been moved to the newer technology. The clean-up of billing after network technology is transformed is not straightforward.
8. When a New Person is taking over responsibility for Communications Technology Management
Employees responsible for telecommunications may be doing most things correctly and may be resistant to outside help. A communications expense management consultant often finds items that were inadvertently overlooked because a new pair of eyes that does audits routinely can spot buried, confusing or mislabeled billing items.
When a new person takes over, this can be an excellent time to suggest a review so that the person can start with a clean slate for billing and inventory accuracy. This can also help the new person better understand what the organization is buying and how it is being used. In many cases, the person responsible for expenses is different than the person responsible for updating inventory records. Still, in either case, a new face can present an opportunity to suggest a review.
9. When changing to a new Data Center Provider
When you are moving from one data center provider to another, it is also an excellent time to take a look at your current expenses and inventory – specifically as they relate to the data center billing and the services being moved. Communication expense management consultants can suggest newer technological ways to deal with problems. Are all services needed, will the billing change, and are the new bills after the move accurate? Keeping the inventory of services associated with the data center is also important both from a billing and service standpoint.
10. When Employees Work from Home
With more employees working from home, the telecommunications services at the office should be reevaluated for necessity. Mobile expenses should be reviewed since COVID has brought about many changes, some of which may be permanent. An experienced communications expense management consultant can explore these areas and help to optimize them.
If you haven’t recently conducted a communications technology expense review, now is the time to do
so. Contact a communications expense management consultant to get started.
Jane Laino is President of DIgby4 Group, Inc., based in New York City. Founded in 1979, DIgby4 helps
clients manage communications technology with professional services and cloud-hosted systems as a
Sakon partner. She is a member of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants.
Jane’s LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/janelaino/
DIgby 4 Group’s website – https://www.digby4.com