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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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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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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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?

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.

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.

 

Wireless Communication Management Rhyme – “Scrooge is in the house”

So another year has passed and a new one just begun filled with new opportunities, but survival is the one we focus on. We must justify our roles and the easy target is our communications – for with no communications – there is no business. Present day communications management has become far more complex, the costs have escalated, and day to day management is potentially the most painful part of all. As we sit around the data room, we wonder if there will be a day again where we can be the heroes we once were – in charge of all that RAM, Routers, and terminals. Enjoying our superiority of technology; however, before we get too lost in all our memory bliss, tonight is a special night– a new decade and a new fiscal year is upon us. Budgets, efficiencies, new technology, and growth all in front of us but unlike other decades past we wonder exactly what the future holds. Fear not for tonight is a special night; tonight your IT Departments will be visited by three ghosts. The first, the ghost of technology past, followed by the ghost of financial reality preparing us for the ghost of leadership tomorrow.

GhostThe First Ghost

At the stroke of midnight Johnny Menclub our old IT Manager clatters through the walls with chains dangling.

[Johnny] “Hello gentleman – and gentle ladies, it’s been a long time. I miss those old days of camaraderie and cheer. You know the ones where all the technology was so complex it took engineers to keep us on track.”

[IT Department] “Yeah Johnny, you were the best. We had awesome jobs. We baffle everyone with gigabytes, and microwave transmissions. We were gods. We could do no wrong. “

[Johnny] “Yeah boys, those were the good days – ‘they’ needed us. We were indispensible. But I’m here to warn you, be careful gentleman – the times have changed and its rough out there – I don’t want you to end up like me – you need to re-invent your place…..”

Johnny is sucked back from the matrix he came from.

[IT Department] That was creepy – poor Johnny he was a good lad. But he’s right. Technology has changed. User friendly applications are standard and that damn mouse can help solve anything.

The Second Ghost

With little time to recover Stacy Query appears our current CFO as if in a bad dream. She is the one who changed everything – now all we hear is how we must drive costs down, yet management keeps adding feature rich functionality and data costs are climbing. Somehow Stacy thinks it our fault!

[Stacy] “I can hear you, she bellows. Of course it’s your fault, you’re responsible for technology and wireless cost management is technology. You should be keeping costs in check”

[IT Department] “Our fault?!?!? How can it be our fault? We’re not accountants. We keep the technology of this company advancing giving us cutting edge solutions and keeping us ahead of the competition. How were we suppose to know your sales and marketing team would start utilizing data and cellular devices to drive growth in the company”

[Stacy] “Well if you were giving me the data I needed to know where costs were increasing, what was valid and what was abuseareas, we could curb costs while keeping your gadgets running – then I could use that information to empower our organization for growth”

[IT Department] “Wait a second since when is it our job to fill out spreadsheets – and who has the time – we’re busy supporting all the users who can’t seem to read manuals. If we had implemented some Cellular Procurement Policies in the first place, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”

[Stacy] “Well all I know is I’m not taking the blame for these rising costs. The carrier’s will just have to help us.”

Stacy melts in a pool of red ink.

[IT Department] “Anyone know why the carrier would help us reduce costs and in turn their revenue, huh! So now we’re suppose to implement new hardware, manage costs, negotiate contracts, complete spreadsheets, discover abandoned assets…..who’s getting dinner”

The Third Ghost

With a ray of light and warmth filling the room – Dave Ceokata appears…

[Dave] “Fear not my team there is a better way, a way accounting can get their wish of tighter costs, Operations getting improved efficiencies, and IT smoother day to day operations allowing for the time needed to ensure our company stays on the technology cutting edge.”

[IT Department] “But how is this possible Dave? We have tried to manage but things are changing so fast, carrier plans seem to change every month, user device application and adoption is growing weekly, hardware is getting more costly and gosh dangit – Communications is the lifeline.”

[Dave] “Your right team, communications is the lifeline, and it’s why we have to ensure our team is over seeing it. But not buried by it. We need to find the professionals who can produce monthly wireless cost audits keeping the cost under control and are independent from our carriers – thus who will work for our benefit – I know there is savings to be had! We need a support team, who can handle the day to day user queries, and get you guys off hold with the carriers. Finally we need communication management software that can provide us the Intel, to ensure corporate compliance to policies, eliminate defunct units, and produce quality feedback helping us grow maximizing our communications as the tools they were meant to be.

[IT Department] Does this dream exist?

[Dave] Ah yes the dream exists team. In fact in less than 30 days we could be saving money, have superior visibility, and user bliss with single point of contact support and procurement. Go now team, implement the solution, over see it and create bliss through our organization. Be the heroes I know you can be!