Cell Phone Expense Management

Last week I talked about our core telecom auditing process, but I left out one important area: cellular service. Mobile phones are GILL Technologies’ specialty; we handle everything from cellular expense management to procurement. I held off on that topic because I wanted to talk about it in detail — and that’s what I’m doing today.

We use the same three step process (cost audit, expense management plan, customer service presentation) for cell phone plans as we do for other telecommunications items, but a cell phone cost audit includes several unique factors:

Basic Plan Features: I look at basic inbound and outbound charges along with core features like texting and Internet. Modern cellular service plans are feature-heavy — and charge-heavy, too. Service providers present these packages individually, but I use our internal clues to audit them from a global perspective. That way, I can compare the costs per service for various combinations.

Data/Smartphones: Blackberries, 3G Phones and other mobile data devices go beyond the traditional role of the cell phone as a land line analog. I fit the capabilities of different devices and carriers to the client’s needs.

Pooling Cell Phone Plans: I track pooled minutes, down to the minute — something carriers often rely on you not doing. We find pooling plans where clients use their minutes efficiently.

US Roaming Charges: Roaming charges are always important, but they additional complexity in many US states. Roaming plans can cut across a host of carriers, each of which have distinct benefits and drawbacks.

Once I have all the information, it’s time to match it usage trends. Cell phone plans are complicated, but the complexity can be an advantage. Service providers set the standard of counting charges down to the minute. Thanks to that, I can track use patterns with precision. Once I estimate what a company’s needs are I can pick appropriate plans.

In many cases, the ideal solution will change depending on the department or individual, but we know how to manage multiple carriers and plans for our clients. One of the advantages of cell phone expense management is that your company can save money using methods that would be too logistically challenging to implement in-house. The best solution is the easiest — when you get us to take care of it for you.

About the Author: Ted Washburn is a telecom expense management analyst at GILL Technologies.

How Telecom Audits and Telecom Expense Management Work

Everyone can take simple steps to reduce their personal phone expenses but when it comes to business telecommunications you need expert help. I perform telecom audits according to a procedure GILL Technologies has perfected over years of analysis. Telecom expense management is a multifaceted process, but to give you a look at how we do things in the office I’ll break it down to three primary steps:

Telecom Audit

The first rule of an audit is “get the data.” We keep an up to date record of available telecom service packages from all major carriers. Core telecom expense management focuses on these services (and more – like I said, it’s complicated!):

Landlines: What are the client’s basic service options? Is it in his best interest to go VoIP? We don’t just blindly choose the cheaper option because every client has particular service needs. At the same time, once we do know those needs, it helps us zero in on the most cost-effective solution.

Long Distance: There are so many long distance packages around that it’s hard to find the right choice for even basic consumer needs, much less those of a busy corporation. Once again, the answer lies in the client’s usage patterns. (This aspect of our process is so important that we developed proprietary software to master it — but that’s a story for another post.)

International: Don’t confuse this with ordinary long distance! Businesses’ international usage patterns aren’t the same as their continental long distance habits, and the fees are quite different, too. For some companies, international service is a non-issue; others call the other side of the world more often than locations in their home city.

Internet: Once again, usage and available services determine the best strategy. Some companies are web-centric enough to make this an entirely separate communications item — even the biggest communications expense of all.

Telecom Expense Management Proposal

After we compare available services with the clients needs and usage patterns, it’s time to formulate a plan. I create at least two proposals for every client. One of these is typically a conservative plan that sticks with the existing carrier. The others are a bit more adventurous. Even a basic plan can include room for improvement, however. We might tweak an agreement slightly or discover billing errors.

(Actually, I find a lot of billing errors on the job. To err is human, but to really screw things up, you need a phone company. Since 2006 we’ve discovered over $170,000 in erroneous charges. Strangely, the phone companies rarely make the mistake of charging too little . . . )

Telecom Customer Service Presentation

At some point, somebody has to turn my gigantic spreadsheet, a sheaf of printouts and a collection of research notes into a something that keeps our clients informed about their options. That’s where our telecom customer service experts come in. They distill the telecom expense management audit into a strategy proposal everyone can understand. Once the client knows his options and picks the one that fits his business best, we move to the ongoing management phase.

Hey! What about Cellular?

Cellular expense management is actually our specialty, so next week, I’m going to give it its own article. Stay tuned!

About the Author: Ted Washburn is a telecom expense management analyst at GILL Technologies.

GILL Technologies Unveils Its New Web Presence

Website emphasizes Visibility, Accountability and Simplicity in Communications Management

Peterborough, Canada, Tampa, FL and Auburn, CA: GILL Technologies’ new website went live today. The site significantly expands and reorganizes information to help current and potential clients explore the company’s services.

The new site sorts information according to GILL Technologies’ overall mission. The “Visibility” browsing stream explores the company’s telecommunications expense management and auditing services, explaining how the company saves clients up to 50% on their telecom, cellular and IT expenses. The “Accountability” category presents GILL Technologies’ proprietary Communications Management software, which allows clients to trace telecommunications expenses through a simple, web-based interface. The “Simplicity” stream takes browsers through the company’s Customer Service program. They can learn how GILL Technologies provides client care and procurement services for every major brand and carrier.

[Read more…]