Why “Not To” Call Toll Free Numbers When Roaming on your Cell Phone

Toll Free Numbers from Your Cell Phone – Not So "Toll Free"

So you’re travelling, and your bringing along that power tool …you know the one, your cell phone! Since you’ll be roaming, and wish to keep your cell phones costs down, you’ve devised a plan to outsmart your provider, you’re going to use nothing but toll free numbers on your travels; therefore by calling only toll free numbers, eliminate any roaming costs, and charges! Or maybe not…

Well this myth could be a very nasty surprise when you get home. Watch our tip of the week and learn how to curb (not eliminate) costs when roaming and what really occurs when you dial cell phones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Status Quo Kills Small Business Communication Management

TEM – Management and Reporting Saving Small Business?

Management and Reporting as part of a telecom expense management solution is one of the most critical components to successful management. The reasons are simple and obvious for larger business; however, small business often feels it is outside of their realm of needs. This is a critical mistake! Lets discuss why management and reporting can curb the biggest killer of this expense…"Status Quo".

 

This is part 2 of a 3 part series on the benefit of telecom expense management for small businesses. Click the previous video on how a cost audit benefits small business to see part 1.

Does your business suffer from "status quo" – its not broken don’t fix it syndrome? We’d love to hear from you.

 

 

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Is Telecom Expense Management Right for Small Business – 3 Part Series

Could An Audit Save Your Business 30% On Telecom Expenses?

Understanding the benefits of telecom expense management for small business is a critical component to more effective cost savings and increased profits or small business which is often overlooked.

In this short video were going to explore the first component of a complete telecom expense management solution focusing on the cost audit process, for the purpose of cost savings.

In future videos will cover the final two components of the telecom expense management solution; management and reporting, and support and procurement.

Does your small business of the telecom expense management solution and policy?

 

 

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22 percent of enterprise employees currently fall into the category of “mobile information workers”

Mobile Management

In the past few years there has been a sharp rise in the number of remote or "on the go" workers. As a result, more and more iPhones, blackberry, androids and now the new iPads, and other mobile assets are finding their way into corporate technology environments. Mobile assets have become crucial in the productivity enhancement of an organization. 

Mobile management of smart phonesA recent survey conducted by Forrester Research shows that about 22 percent of enterprise employees currently fall into the category of "mobile information workers", using a variety of handheld devices to support their day to day activities. Additionally, Forrester estimates that approximately 6 percent of the US workforce uses their own personal mobile devices for work related activities, and that number is expected to grow to 25 percent by 2012.

As mobile communications are becoming necessary and a growing number of enterprises are purchasing new phones and service plans for their workforce, it is becoming more confusing to manage and optimize these expenses for the benefit of the business. One of the most effective ways to cut costs is by evaluating your wireless expenditures.

Do you have someone in your organization that handles the day to day tasks of Mobile – is it YOU? Are you handling tasks such as updating your mobile inventory, purchasing hardware for new employees, cancelling or transferring devices of retiring or leaving employees, upgrading devices due to loss or breakage and fighting billing errors, escalating costs & unknown charges? 

Of course, you would have realized that managing the day to day mobile services can be a challenging endeavor for any organization. Determining the best optimal voice/data plans, and figuring out which devices & features suits the needs of individual employees and the organization takes too much of your valuable time.

Here’s where outsourcing mobile expense management plays a vital role. A lot of your precious time is saved when you outsource mobile device management. Mobile management is more than just picking the lowest prices or the best handsets. It simplifies and streamlines the management of mobiles within your organization.

Mobile management companies provide unbiased mobile device management and single point of contact wireless help services. They manage procurement of your mobile devices, monitor service plans and respond to calls and emails from your end users. They maintain, track and replace hardware while maintaining confidentiality and compliance with your wireless policies, procedures and purchasing authorizations.

 

As more companies are adopting Smart Phones/PDAs, it is imperative to have a mobile procurement and usage policy at the organization. There needs to be the right mix of productivity, security and cost in devising the mobile policy. Are you still thinking about developing a mobile management plan for your company?

Wireless Telecom Services and Hidden Costs

Telecom services has become such a vast category that it’s difficult for non-specialists to even understand what they’re entitled to much, less manage services for maximum cost effectiveness. It’s no wonder that business communications costs are soaring, when managers would be hard-pressed to know exactly what they signed up for, and where employee errors, misuse or poor business intelligence as to company needs might kick their costs up a notch.

Smartphone wireless cost management

How much is your Droid or Milestone phone really costing you?

Let’s take a look at five potential hidden expenses:

Apps: Smartphones have given rise to a new source for hidden costs: phone applications – or apps. iPhone, Android and upcoming Windows 7 Phone apps will not only cost money to download and install, but may make it possible for employees to eat up their data allotments at an alarming rate through services like streaming audio and video – and in most cases, these uses aren’t exactly “business critical.”

Overage: If you don’t understand your data needs, you may choose a plan that’s provides too little data per month at a preferential rate. Once employees exceed the data allotment, you’ll pay the heavy fees charged for data above the monthly threshold. Only accurate telecom audits can track your data usage, track it to business activities, and determine your true data needs.

Service Use Outside of Plans: Of course, if you don’t have a data plan at all, opening a web browser will lead to heavy metered charges. Sending texts without a text plan can be similarly expensive. In many cases, phones can still perform services you didn’t add to your plan, but instead of plan fees to need to pay much higher per use charges. Avoid the temptation to use a service that isn’t in your plan “just once or twice” and see if you can get the ability to occasionally use it removed completely.

Tethering Charges: Watch out for this if you have particularly tech-savvy employees. Almost any modern phone can be converted to a modem, but this is most easily done with 3G and better handsets. Unfortunately, most carriers charge an additional fee for tethering above and beyond standard data charges, so what looks like an innovative way to connect and get things done may end up proving to be extremely expensive.

Telecom expense management will not only help you understand your entitlements, but will show you what you really need and where trouble spots in your billing might appear. Contact us to see how we can get you started with an initial audit.

Businesses Ask – Should we handle our Telecom Expense Management Internally?

As simple as one might think Telecom Expense Management might be; be aware that there are many Challenges of Internally Managing your Communications Audits & Expenses.

 

 

  • Today Businesses seem to use multiple carriers for different services that all use different invoicing formats. With this in mind, such invoicing makes it difficult to match and allocate costs accurately and effectively.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Generally in an Organization there is one person or a department dedicated to managing the company’s mobile fleet (while they maintain their other job functions), but they may not have a complete inventory of the company’s assets including wireless devices, Blackberry Smartphone devices,  Headsets, other hardware, etc. Devices get lost, upgraded, Staff leave & sometimes take their phones, new people are hired and need new devices, units get swapped, some are just left sitting unused, the list goes on and on.
  • While using multiple carriers for different services, internal difficulties may arise in being able to apportion telecommunications costs to divisions, teams or departments with any accuracy.
  • Do you understand all of your costs? You can’t control the cost of something when you don’t understand how it is billed or what you are getting for your money. Telecom carriers have their own language and unless you can speak it, you could be over billed.
  • Not all Organizations have the resources to manually audit each invoice. Did you know in the telecom industry that 7-12% of bills consistently contain errors and/or overcharges?

 

A  full Cost Audit handled by professionals with a proven system, can identify opportunities for immediate savings and areas of improvement for the long term. Best of all, our systems and team of analysts will do the work for you, so your Organization can benefit with a multitude of savings; saving time and resources for other projects internally as well as bottom line Cost savings for your Communications.

 

Let our teams be your translator to interpret and verify your telecom charges for accuracy; today, tomorrow and the future. Along with our cloud based Telecom Expense Management solution we will give your organization the information it needs to promote cost savings with accountability, visibility and simplicity.

Telecom Expense Management & Keeping Your Communications Expenses Under Control!

With a change in economic times, there often requires a change in some business practices too. Cutting back in business expenses is often a necessity to staying cash flow positive, and what is an organizations largest expense … Payroll? Where should a company cut back? Reducing staff to lower expenses is not always required; there are definitely other methods to manage expenses without risking great employees, and team moral.

 

What other Expense is right up there close to Payroll? You got it your Telecom Expenses. Many say that the second largest expense for businesses is their communications expense –second only to Payroll. This can include; Telecom, Long Distance, Toll Free, Data, Mobility, Wireless, Blackberry Smartphone, PDAs, … the list goes on and you get the picture. Today they are a necessity and so you say, what can be done? Ah you see; that is where a Telecom Expense Management (TEM) solution can help!

 

The need for support in managing this complexity and cost has never been greater. Your Telecom Expense Management solution should include:

  • Billing & usage analysis tools
  • Easy access Reporting, with details needed to make good Business decisions
  • Management of contracts with all communications operators/carriers
  • Procurement & Management of all mobile/wireless devices / data applications / service (airtime)
  • Procurement & Management of all Telecom/Data requirements
  • Support help desk – for management and end users of all communications – Single Point of Contact

 

To start the process you should conduct a Telecom Audit. Whether you do it yourself with in your organization or you enlist a TEM specialist to do a cost free analysis, an Audit is still a good start. Essentially a Telecom Audit is an examination of all your Company’s Mobile and Telecom Accounts, Expenditures and Services for the purpose of checking and verifying their accuracy.

Telecom Audits also ensure that your wireless/telecom providers are complying with the original contracts that you put in place. In addition Audits confirm that you are not being overcharged, they identify hidden costs that you may not be aware of and of course billing errors. By conducting a Telecom Audit you are also ensuring that your organization is not being billed for lines that are no longer in use, whether they be internal land lines or lost/misplaced mobile devices. This can sometimes be a time intense task, but the savings are the end goal – a great way to cut back expenses.

 

If this is not your area of expertise, you may want to Consult an Expert on Telecom Expense Management and let them take on this daunting task.

 

A cloud based Telecom Expense Management solution gives your organization the information it needs to promote cost savings today, tomorrow and well into the future with accountability, visibility and simplicity.

Think Twice Before You Add Palm Phones to Your Fleet

Mobile management is more than just picking the lowest prices or the best handsets. Consider the case of Palm products.

The Palm Pre was an extraordinary smartphone. The Pre Plus is even better. On the surface, both are worthy executive level phones with a unique OS and look that combined functionality and style. The Palm Pixi is a fun little phone for basic tasks – not great for core business activities, but it looks like might be good as a pure perk. Right now, the Pre and Pixi are incredibly cheap, so wouldn’t it keep costs down to pick them?

Palm Pre Mobile Management

The Palm Pre is a bargain for consumers -- but not the best for business.

Well I’ve given it away in the article title, but the sad answer is “no.” Yes, the Palm Pre is an excellent phone that carriers are offering for nothing on selected plans, but Palm is ailing. Its stock plummeted 19% on Friday March 19th, and may be worthless soon. CNN Money quoted one analyst as saying Palm is in a “death spiral.” This matters to end users because if Palm falls apart, that means you’ll be left with no upgrades, up to date support or new applications – and that’s not where you want to be with a contract. That’s a serious mobile management consideration.

What happened? Blackberries were the original smartphones before there was even a smartphone category, and are still the go-to phone for business use. The iPhone is in a league of its own. It can be customized for virtually any task by loading the right Apps, though many people probably use it for style and fun, not business. A past pioneer in the dying PDA category, Palm was ideally positioned to enter the smartphone category that replaced PDAs. Despite a few hiccups in the hardware and a foolish war with Apple over iTunes synching, the Pre looked ready to make Palm a third big player, bridging the gap between the too-serious Blackberry and the style-fixated iPhone.

Then Android hit. Palm couldn’t compete with an open OS that might not have been innovative, but was cheap to implement on a variety of handsets in all price categories, right up to the Droid, (Milestone in Canada) a phone obviously competing for the over $100 digital assistant niche. Android might be a poor fit for some handsets, but it will always cost less to implement, and the wave of Android phones creates a situation where once users will become familiar with the OS on one phone they’ll be comfortable with any handset that has an Android installation.

Palm’s tried to move forward with gaming and rich media applications in the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus, but even if they save themselves, they’re doing it by attacking a niche with little relevance to business users. Either way, Palm phones aren’t the right choice for your company’s mobile fleet, no matter how far their prices drop. Good mobile management thinks about your interests across a phone’s entire lifecycle – not just at the point of purchase.

Mobile Expense Management – Keeping Up with your Wireless Fleet!

Mobile has become a critical element in productivity enhancements for Businesses. This has also lead to mobile charges becoming one of the top components of operating expenses for organizations. As more companies are adopting Blackberry/Smart Phones and other PDAs, it is becoming more imperative to stay on top of Mobile Management and Usage Policies.

What are your organization’s main Mobile-Wireless priorities?

  • Total cost of ownership (TCO)
  • International roaming costs /voice & data roaming
  • Procurement of hardware, contracts & plans for all mobile/wireless services
  • Customer support
  • Billing & Analysis tools
  • Management of devices on multiple mobile network operators
  • Remote access for staff working off site
  • Security
  • Device management
  • Exploiting unified communications & collaboration potential
  • Mobilizing data applications
  • On-site mobility
 

There is a true value in mobile expense management, along with the added support received in maintaining this complexity. Time and sanity are also saved when mobile device management is implemented into an organization.

 

Do you have someone in your organization that handles the day to day tasks of Mobile – is it YOU?

  • Updating your mobile inventory
  • Purchasing hardware for new employees
  • Cancelling or transferring devices of retiring or leaving employees
  • Upgrading devices due to loss or breakage
  • Swapping ESN’s / IMEI’s & SIM Cards
  • Keeping up with the latest accessories
  • Optimizing wireless plans
  • Auditing international roaming costs
  • Allocating expenses
  • Troubleshooting glitches and outages
  • Resetting voicemail
  • Adding new features
  • Fighting billing errors, escalating costs & unknown charges. 
Are you having FUN yet?
 

As you have guessed it or are already experiencing; managing the day to day mobile services can be a challenging endeavor for any organization. Determining the best optimal voice/data plans, and figuring out which devices & features suits the needs of individual employees and the organization are just the beginning of the managing process .

Don’t despair – it can be simplified, and streamlined.  Start with a plan of what you want to know. 

  • Start with reviewing your mobile bills for number of units being billed & used – remember some units may be expensed
  • Create a spreadsheet to track Mobile handsets, Blackberry devices, PDAs and other wireless devices currently in use by your organization as noted on your Wireless bills
  • Include in your spreadsheet, cell phone numbers, user name, type of handset, plans/features & of course costs
  • Determine Ownership of Inventory – some devices may be Company owned and others Expensed
  • Establish a Company Wireless Policy based on how you want to move forward with your Mobile Expense Management
  • If this is not your area of expertise, you may want to Consult an Expert on Mobile Expense Management
 

Cloud based Mobile Expense Management solutions give your organization the information it needs to promote cost savings with accountabilityvisibility and simplicity.

 

What is Telecom Lifecycle Management?

Telecom lifecycle management is a hot topic in companies with mid to enterprise level telecommunications needs ranging from wireless phones to landlines and internet. What is it? Why is it essential to modern telecom expense management?

telecom expense management cycle

Tele-Watch's system audits and adjusts the entire usage and billing cycle

This January, the Aberdeen Group published “Recovering with Telecom Lifecycle Management,” a report that details the advantages of this method and how it can help drive a company’s re-emergence into the economy after the last two difficult years. According to the report, best in class service resulted in a 16% reduction in telecom spend on services that covered 45% of employees with advanced communications (such as smartphones and video).

Saving 16% on some of the most expensive telecom services is certainly nothing to sneeze at! But how does it work?

A 360 Degree Approach

Traditional telecom expense management deals with everything from wireless to long distance as if its needs have “fallen out of the sky.” The client has a number of phones, carriers and services in play and it’s the job of a telecom audit to find flaws and errors, research the field for better solutions and apply them as much as possible.

Where traditional telecom expense management reacts, telecom lifecycle management acts. Telecom lifecycle management is a holistic approach that starts with sourcing and procuring the most appropriate hardware for business functions at the best price. Lifecycle management applies appropriate carriers, plans and policies, and tracks every handset and service from its beginning to end. Tracking includes traditional telecom expense management functions such as bill monitoring and cost management. When service is necessary, telecom lifecycle management gets it done. Experts plan upgrades and service changes along with the gradual reassignment, recycling and replacement of each unit.

Perfecting the Cycle

This program results in constant improvements in cost efficiency and quality. The cycle of procurement, monitoring, service and replacement includes data collection and analysis of all aspects of company communications. Telecom managers apply this information to the next cycle, selecting appropriate hardware, services and agreements based on the most comprehensive, up to date information. This virtuous cycle of self correction provides the best possible solution.

Technology Managed Through Technology

Telecom lifecycle management depends on accurate, information that can be sorted, connected and applied to management decisions. This requires a specialized application, which is why it’s the newest telecom expense management method. Tele-Watch is our technology for lifecycle management, and it not only tracks data for telecom experts, but for non-specialist managers as well.