Plans with No System Access Fee – Good thing or Bad thing?

Plans With No System Access Fee Under Fire

The debate over the system access fee being a government fee that was simply passed through to the government or another channel for the carrier to simply increase their revenue is as old as cell phones. However, the powers that be (you and me) have finally won the battle with many carriers in having plans that no longer encompass a system access fee, or have we?

At first glance that may be the way that it looks, but as many things go when it comes to telecom expense management, not everything is as it seems or for that matter is so cut and dry. Carol from our Analysis team explains; Clients would have to change to one of the new plans in order to see this charge dropped from billing. In most cases, a comparable new plan is only slightly more expensive (less than the former encompassing the SAF charge), but has increased OOB (out of bucket) and LD (long distance) charges.

 

 

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Reverse 411 Phone Number Look Up Charges

EIiminate 411 Phone Number Look Up Charges

I can’t recall who, but someone (famously rich I believe) once said "count your pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves". Truly great words, and frankly when we’re speaking of 411 charges, we’re not just talking pennies! In fact some cell phone companies charge as much as $2.50 per single 411 directory search. The sad part of all of this, is the information you get is limited (just the number) and is fully available for free if you tap into the right strategy based on your current plan and features.

 

Three Strategies to Eliminate or Reduce This Cost

 

In this video we discuss three separate strategies, which can either eliminate this cost or almost eliminate the cost depending on the strategy you deploy. As this week’s Tip of the Week, we would appreciate any comments you might have. If you have any topics you would like discussed in the future, just let us know in the comment box.

 

 

 

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Telecom Expense Management for Small Businesses – Part 3

Single Point of Contact Support and Procurement

In part-3 of this 3 part series focusing on telecom expense management for small business, we look at single point of contact support and procurement. Dealing with the carriers can be especially challenging for small business as they are stuck between being treated like a consumer by the carriers, yet trying to run a company much like a mid size or larger business.

Therefore understanding how a single contact point where a small business can channel all of their communication needs can be extremely beneficial. Discover just a few ways outsourcing communication management support even for the small guy – is a good move.

 

 

 

 

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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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Telecom expense management is a multifaceted process

Telecom expense management

Corporate communications networks are costly and difficult to manage today than ever before. It has been found that the telecommunications spending area is wrought with inefficiency among organizations (the difference between ‘average’ and ‘competitive’ rates is as much as 40%). A staggering 80% of telecoms bills include hidden charges or incorrect billing.

Incorrect billing results in 10- 15% overcharges – Gartner Dataquest

In this competitive world, it is important for businesses to carefully manage their telecommunication costs. Telecom Expense Management (TEM) is a comprehensive approach to controlling what is one of the greatest expenditures in many businesses. It is a business approach to manage telecommunication service expenses (voice, data, and wireless) with a combination of software tools and manual auditing.

Telecom expense management is actually a multifaceted process. The basic telecom expense management activity is a cost audit that determines possible savings. This cost audit reduces the monthly service costs of your organization by up to 50% (average 32.8%). In manual auditing the auditor performs research and comparisons himself, while utilizing software applications like Tele-Watch to assist. Software auditing involves the use of specialized software tools designed to aggregate usage and billing data. In-cycle analysis involves ERP-class analytic tools to automatically reconcile detailed billing elements to service inventories and contracts/tariffs prior to payment processing.

A complete telecom expense management solution looks at the industry as a whole to find the best carrier for your needs. For example, one carrier may provide excellent rates for fleets of phones providing basic talk and text service, while another might be the best for 3G wireless Internet. Telecom experts need to keep up to date on the latest rates and agreements available from every carrier to provide the best possible savings. They are involved in detailed tracking by unit to detect employee misuse and inactive units. This helps in cutting down the unnecessary expenses.

Telecom expense management helps reduce the costs by finding cost effective sources for new hardware and upgrades such as smart phones and Bluetooth headsets. TEM provides you a detailed review of all your communication costs to keep your organizations telecommunication costs in control on an ongoing basis. It provides visibility into your costs enabling you to perform informed business decisions.

There is no risk involved in using the services of a TEM firm as it guarantees net savings for your company. It goes a long way in reducing the operational costs and improving the efficiency of your organization.

 

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 Lifecycle Management (TLM) – A good Business Decision!

Telecom Lifecycle Management (TLM) is being able to offer businesses more than just cost management.

  • Businesses need to understand their current communications infrastructure and capabilities.
  • Next they need help in road-mapping their telecommunications structure with emphasis on the technologies they would like to encompass to keep up with the growing demands of their organization.
  • With the investigative details taken care of; it’s then easier to align those communications technologies wants and needs with an ongoing strategized program including Telecom Expense Management (TEM). 

The lifecycle management of telecom in simplified terms is the complete management of companies’ Telecom Communications from beginning to end. Companies today need to have complete visibility to their telecom and network inventories to make appropriate communications decisions.

When outsourcing for Telecom Lifecycle Management solutions your organization should be looking for a Solution that offers your business the following:

  • Unbiased ordering/procurement of quality telecom services
  • Auditing, for current & future savings, along with billing errors (past, present & future)
  • Contract negotiations/re-negotiations
  • Expense management tools and reporting
  • Procurement & Implementation
  • Client Care support / Help Desk support
  • A single Point of Contact to work with your providers/carriers, the interconnects/technicians, and your team to provide, plan, implement & maintain the management of your telecom lifecycle.

No other service like telecom expense management can keep your organization costs in control on an ongoing basis, 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.