Telecom Cost Management

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Telecom Cost Management Featured Article


February 25, 2008

Achieving Control over Communications Expenses with Telecom Cost Management

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor


One of the definitions of a well-run company is that all resources and expenses are accounted for—that there are no big surprises at the end of each billing cycle for the services needed to serve customers and operate efficiently. One of the biggest expenses for today’s companies is communications services.
 
Although the cost of some communications services—notably, telephone—have dropped, other types of services (like connectivity for mobile devices and broadband Internet) have been added. As a result, communications expenses overall have risen, making the task known as “telecom cost management” (though it encompasses far more than just telephony) more vital than ever.
 
Telecom cost management is utilized by both public and private companies and organizations, ranging from multi-national corporations to small and medium-sized businesses to government agencies. Telecom cost management is conducted in order to save money and also to comply with regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley.
 
At its most basic level, telecom cost management is a method of determining how much an organization spends on communications assets. That might sound straightforward, but it’s not. Determining costs involves asset inventory and management, invoice analysis, contract negotiation, dispute management, and a variety of other aspects associated with expense tracking.
 
One of the most cumbersome parts of telecom cost management is simply keeping track of all the invoices, many of which continue to be delivered in paper form and for large corporations may involve hundreds or even thousands of pages each billing cycle. Ensuring that the company procures and pays for only the service it needs, and that there are no billing errors or late fees, can be huge task. If it’s not centralized, it may be nearly impossible to complete.
 
Keeping communications expenses to a minimum requires knowing what assets the company has in its inventory, which means both performing a one-time, baseline analysis and then keeping it up-to-date. The activity of inventory can help uncover unnecessary expenses, such as subscriptions to cell phone service for employees no longer with the organization.
 
Because telecom cost management is such a huge task, many organizations are outsourcing some or all the job to firms that specialize in this area. Telecom cost management providers have deep and wide knowledge of communications expenses, and can help with initial inventory and asset analysis as well as ongoing tasks like invoice management and periodic contract negotiation.
 
One reason why telecom cost management firms can make the task of tracking communications expenses more affordable is that they offer tools for automating many aspects of the process. For example, a telecom cost management firm might provide software that can analyze digital invoices (which providers are increasingly offering as an option) and combine that information with other data available in a centralized administration center with various dashboards that make it easy to see at-at-glance various summaries of the organization’s communications expenses.
 
To learn more about how organizations can more efficiently manage their communications expenses, please visit the Telecom Cost Management channel on TMCnet.com, brought to you by Optelcon.
 

Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers whitepapers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is The “BRAIN” Model of Intelligibility in Business Telephony, brought to you by Polycom (News - Alert).

 
Mae Kowalke is an associate editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae’s articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.


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