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May 07, 2009

Mosaic Company Reaps $1 Million in Telecom Savings from $3,200 Investment in Audit Training

By Brendan B. Read, Senior Contributing Editor

Voice/data systems are the lifelines of organizations, and as such require plenty of resources to keep the information flowing. On the other hand, large expense line items, like telecom expenses, offer opportunities for equally large savings, if one knows where to look.

Telecom services providers are notorious for overcharges and unsubstantiated taxes, to levels that have given rise to an entire profession: that of the telecom audit specialist. These are professionals trained in reviewing telecom needs, usage, service contracts, and optimizing equipment, trunks, contracts, revenue commitments and the like. They are also skilled in negotiating refunds.

According to Christy Cobert, marketing director of AOTMP, an industry association for the profession, even a basic analysis of telecom bills can result in a 20 percent or greater reduction in monthly telecom spend.

“In response to the economic downturn, companies are laying off waves of people,” Cobert said. “But, they are not taking advantage of the savings that can be had through right-sizing corresponding telecom services. Failure to monitor contracts, adjust usage commitment levels or access, even the number of CRM system seats they are paying for, leaves big opportunities for savings on the table.”
Can involving a telecom audit specialist help? Yes, of course. But today, companies are taking a longer term approach, investing in growing their own internal staff of certified telecom audit specialists, an investment that can reap savings far into the future. 
Whether the organization’s telecom invoices are handled by the IT department, finance, or administration, those responsible can benefit greatly from the secrets shared in the telecom audit industry’s certification training boot camp.

“I discovered the training course when tasked with performing an audit of our telecom expense management,” said Ken Walton, Senior Internal Audit at The Mosaic Company, one of the world’s leading producers and marketers of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients. “It was evident from the first day that the value of the training would far exceed the cost of the training. To date, I have identified projected savings of over $1 million.”

To help telecom professionals save and recover telecom costs in 2009, the RCCSP Professional Education Alliance has expanded its scheduled offering of the Telecom Audit Training and Certification Boot Camp. The CTAS training and certification seminar, provided in 32 hours across four days, is scheduled in 2009 on June 8-11, Sept. 21-24, and Dec.7-10 in Indianapolis, for a limited number of lucky attendees that register before the classes sell out, as earlier classes have.
Designed for telecom and IT/IS managers, internal auditors, and accounts payabale, and telecom analysts and specialists, the training course will assist participants with:

--Identifying savings and implementing savings strategies
--Negotiating credits with service providers
--Mining telecom invoices for cost component details, and contracts for financial, technical, and operational information
--Reading and understanding customer service records and navigating service provider tariffs and service/price guides

Participants will learn the service provider invoice and contract essentials including consolidation, and about rate and contract compliance verification. They will be taught how to identify errors, negotiate credits for overcharges and errors and be instructed on cost control and financial management strategies and on successful service provider negotiations techniques.

The Telecom Auditing Boot Camp identifies key components of successful telecom invoice analysis and focuses on four cost areas: local service, long distance, data distance, and wireless service. Each area is a building block of a proven methodology that will enable participants to manage their telecom invoices and costs more effectively.

“This program has helped hundreds of companies identify inefficiencies, errors, and overcharges, and recover credits from voice, data, and wireless service contracts,” reports RCCSP president and CEO Nina Kawalek. “This is no mere lecture. Prior to the course, attendees are sent a checklist of documents to bring to the course, including LEC invoices, long-term contracts and term commitments, long distance invoices and contracts, data, T-1 and wireless service invoices. It’s positively hands-on, where participants roll up their sleeves and identifying savings for their companies right then and there.”

The per student registration fee for this seminar is $3,195 and includes seminar materials, projects, certification fees for all required tests to complete the certification, and refreshments.

“The telecom auditing certification course establishes a framework of strategies to assist telecom professionals in implementing operational and financial management best practices,” says Kawalek. “The Mosaic Company success story is just one of many.”

Adds Walton, “The education I gained from the course will have positive implications on our telecom spending for many months to come.”

Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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