Comms solutions vendor AKJ says an effective telecommunications strategy is critical to the success of any business.
According to the company a well managed telecoms estate with a suitable strategy can significantly enhance the business performance of your customers – enabling better customer service, delivering cost savings, improving employees’ productivity and hence increasing their return on investment. Equally, when poorly controlled, a company’s telecoms investment can quickly become a drain on funds, time and precious resources.
As more organisations realise they can gain a competitive advantage from improved telecoms management, there is a strong trend towards stringent and transparent control. Telecom Expense Management (TEM) is the practice of supporting customers to manage their telecoms costs, assets, network and usage as efficiently as possible, and a large proportion of the UK’s mid market and corporate customers are looking towards their telecoms suppliers to support them in this area.
However, it can be difficult to cost-effectively keep track of telecommunications assets, manage usage and control costs, particularly if companies have gone through mergers and acquisitions, operate from multiple locations or constantly have to adapt to market changes. Adding to these challenges are the wide choice of available technologies and suppliers, a rapidly evolving regulatory environment and frequently changing tariffs.
Unfortunately, very little benchmarking exists to help organisations follow best practice in managing telecommunications. However there are key questions you can ask your customers that can establish whether there is a valid role for your organisation to play in supporting their Telecom Expense Management requirements; helping your business to move up the value chain from telecoms supplier to trusted advisor.
1. Does your current telecommunications strategy support your business objectives?
It is important to clearly define the criteria against which to benchmark the effectiveness of your telecommunications strategy and monitor progress. Without complete visibility and analysis of assets and usage, the organisation will not be in a position to control costs and justify future investment.
2. What is the real cost of telecommunications across your enterprise?
Worryingly for their shareholders, companies often find it hard to establish a precise figure because of hidden costs or fragmented business information. The true cost will depend on current inventory, the management of suppliers and the billing process and any duplication or under-use of services/resources – issues that can all be highlighted through a telecoms review.
3. How well does your business understand the way it communicates?
Companies often fail to look past the cost of calls when provided with usage data and, as a result, overlook what this data can reveal about business operations. By introducing consolidation and analysis practices, then merging this data with your contact management database, you can build a complete picture of telecommunications and add significant business value. This transparency and knowledge puts companies in an advantageous position to identify contact levels with their most valued customers and suppliers, and to evaluate any new communication initiatives with facts.
4. How accurately and efficiently do you process supplier invoices?
Only with accurate information about infrastructure and network usage are companies in a position to allocate resources wisely, validate charges against agreed terms, apportion costs accurately and budget for the future. By taking advantage of sophisticated audit, analysis and consolidation tools these onerous processes can be streamlined and made fully accountable, significantly reducing wastage costs.
Exploit the Potential
Whatever market your customers operate in, it is crucial to review every aspect of how their organisation uses and manages telecommunications and to secure start to finish accountability, especially now in the current economic climate. Helping your customers to implement best practice processes can make a significant and measurable difference to how your clients operate, helping to promote your business as a trusted advisor, working in the best interests of your customer.
The burning question in an increasingly competitive marketplace is can your business afford not to exploit this opportunity or will your business become under threat from competitors who do?