While you may currently be using a direct-to-carrier model for your telecom needs, there are some drawbacks to this approach. Instead, consider a telecom partner that is vendor-neutral for your organization. Why? There are many benefits to using a telecom partner, most notably significant savings, unlimited options, and not being “pushed” into a partnership you don’t want.
Different Options for Suppliers
Many managed telecom partners are successful today because they’ve built relationships with a multitude of trusted suppliers. A managed telecom partner will always make you their number one priority by opting for a vendor-neutral approach, partnering you only with suppliers they trust and are the most cost-effective for your company.
Using a managed telecom partner will set you up for success because all of the legwork will be cut off from the vetting process. You can trust your suppliers and they’ll ultimately be a better fit for your company in the long run.
Managed service providers are not amateurs. Every MSP you work with will be dedicated and focused on catering to your needs above anyone else’s, giving you peace of mind and highly personalized solution planning.
Your needs are placed above your competitors or another client’s, meaning your MSP will strategize and construct the perfect plan for you. The plans will take into account both your specific needs and the optimal budget. In fact, many MSPs today have contact with hundreds of trusted partners, which means that they can easily provide your company multiple quotes from all over the industry.
Going supplier-direct may seem like the simpler and cheaper option, but supplier salespeople will only be trying to close the deal which works for them, which nets them the most commission possible. A managed service supplier, however, will not have quotas and will not be worried about “closing the deal.”
They’re working with you and for you to provide you the best suppliers in the industry. Far more important to them are your loyalty and repeat business. Rather than focusing on a one-and-done approach, managed service suppliers emphasize customer satisfaction and continued business for years down the road.
Foster Better Relationships
The worst kept secret in the industry is that carrier sales reps tend to jump around from one company to another. They have no loyalty and won’t bring you to a supplier with whom you can trust and foster a long-lasting, mutually beneficial business relationship. However, vendor-neutral suppliers are often more ingrained in the companies they work for.
Your team and company can greatly reduce overhead and costly time expenditure by partnering with a vendor-neutral supplier and nixing the pesky “account representative.” In this path, you’ll become a partner, and your vendors will become an extension of your team, working with you and for you. They know the top trends and have invaluable knowledge of the industry at their disposal, which becomes at your disposal when you hire them.
Not only will you combine multiple services, but you’ll also be able to reply to your resources in a more effective and efficient way to fit your organizational strategy. These savings is immense, as wages are rising for people based in technological fields.
In addition, hiring, firing, and rehiring multiple people for the same role is always exasperatingly expensive, but you can skip the hassle and headache by moving straight to a vendor-neutral supplier. This way, you’ll be pushing the ‘easy to outsource’ work to another source while focusing your more expensive resources to focus on what’s most important to your organization!
Get Started With a Vendor-Neutral Telecom Partner
Remove hassle and headaches and save money and time, by partnering with a vendor-neutral service, like ours at BlackFin Square. With over 20 years of experience and being completely vendor-neutral ourselves, we’d love to help you get started! Schedule a free consultation anytime!
Telecom billing is costly, complex, and confusing. It can at times, feel like it is impossible to get a complete grasp on your telecom invoice reviews. However, if you take the proper steps to get a handle on where your organization’s money is going and why it is going there – you will be able to save yourself and your business a great deal of time and expense.
Why Are Telecom Invoices so Difficult to Process?
Processing a telecom invoice is a labor-intensive task for enterprises. There are lower standards in the billing formats of telecom service providers, so it is challenging for organizations to process bills in electronic format without custom software. Due to the complexity in carrier billing platforms, they are not able to process EDI and other forms of electronic billing media. There are also continual changes in carrier billing platforms that make this task much harder to achieve as time goes on.
By automating and converting bills to electronic media, it helps to reduce the costs of manually processing paper bills. This also makes it easier to avoid data entry errors and time to process bills. The savings depend on how many people are processing bills and the roles that are performed after TEM automates this function.
There are many components in telecom expenses, so it’s important to audit them carefully. It is critical to review your invoices often to ensure that you have a good understanding of them. In doing so, you can get rid of services you’re no longer using and renegotiate contracts that aren’t working for your business. There are a couple of reasons as to why the costs are so high and how you can avoid it.
Avoiding Costly Mistakes
- Offices move locations, and sometimes services for locations no longer in use can stay on your company’s expense list by mistake.
- Service providers can change contracts or service levels without notifying you so that you’re paying for something either you don’t need or didn’t even want in the first place.
- Companies often aren’t leveraging the full weight of their purchasing power when negotiating or renegotiating these contracts. There are often loopholes, packages, or deals that can save your company money that service providers would rather keep under wraps.
- Service providers usually offer credits in exchange for outages or maintenance disruptions called Service Level Agreements or SLAs. Tracking and following up on these credits will bring in the revenue you previously didn’t have.
Once you have examined your telecom expenses in full, you can unite your services under one account if applicable, end contracts that you don’t want or need anymore, switch to services that better fit your needs, renegotiate contracts that aren’t as economical as they could be, and find the money you didn’t know you had, such as unclaimed SLA credits.
Not only will a telecom invoice audit streamline your accounting and save you money, but it will also allow you to see what you’re truly spending on telecom services. Once you have this number in hand, you can create comparisons between different service providers that include information like proposed savings, opportunity costs, migration costs, and install base.
Comparing these providers with a realistic conception of your telecom budget in mind will allow you to switch to a better service provider if you so choose.
After your audit, consolidate, and streamline your telecom expenses, you will want to convert your paper bills to paperless media and automate your billing procedures. This will cut down on paper, human error in manual data entry, and time spent by staff processing and sending payments to service providers. This step will ensure your company saves even more time and expense on unnecessary analog processes when it comes to telecom bills.
However, due to differences in carrier billing platforms and changing protocols within service providers, it can be difficult to electronically process all of your bills in one place. This is where Telecom Expense Management, or TEMs, comes into play. TEM providers come in all shapes and sizes; some are software-as-a-service, others are firms to which you can outsource every aspect of your telecom billing process. TEM helps to provide new revenue as well as income that is consistent. Curious if a TEM is right for your company? Schedule a free consultation below to learn more.
Complacency is the silent killer of even the best companies. While complacency feels great at the moment, there is a myriad of problems that arise from not being proactive in furthering the interests of your business. One of the most important areas to combat complacency is with your service providers and long-term telecom contracts.
It’s possible that your company is using the best providers for the best price there is, but there’s only one way to know for sure – consistent audits. You should take a comprehensive look at your expenses on a frequent basis to ensure changes in your budget, changes in the market, and changes in the economy are all being accounted for. Maybe you don’t need a service you’re still being charged for, but the only way to know for sure is to check your telecom contracts.
When you run your audit, there’s no reason to do it alone. There are many managed telecom suppliers who can help guide you through the best practices and save you money in the long run. There are many different components of any good audit, and you’ll want to secure a well-experienced partner that knows where to look from the beginning of the process to the end: billing errors, missed disconnects, annual price hikes, missed SLA credits, and more. All of these areas can be cleared up and improved in your audit, and your job as CIO will inevitably become easier with someone at your side during the process.
Focus on the Important Areas
As one of the primary leaders of your company, you can’t afford to sweat the small stuff. There are many problems that should be beyond your purview. The audit will help you focus on problem areas while you work on your daily tasks and duties. Once the results come back, you can set up a team to focus on improvements while you continue to address on the priorities of the company first and foremost.
Don’t waste your or your team’s time by making them comb through your operations; if you do, you’ll be missing out on potential profitability and the flow of your work will suffer as a result. Instead, trust a managed telecom partner to magnify the details and operate on multiple fronts. This leaves you the time and energy needed to focus on broad strokes and make sure your team is in the loop and on track at all times.
Perform First Invoice Reviews Frequently
Although billing can be a hassle at all times, most errors happen at the beginning of this process, while both companies are learning the others’ preferences. It’s imperative for your company to perform frequent and comprehensive first invoice reviews to ensure your clients are sending you everything agreed upon at the outset.
This is especially true when your company is growing rapidly. This growth can lead to multiple errors across several different billing processes and hinder the performance of your company as a whole. When you check your invoices, make sure all services you’re being charged for are being utilized, and all services you’re using are being paid on time and in full.
Start with Long-Term Telecom Contracts
A great rule of thumb to keep in mind is that the longer a contractor has been in place, the more it’s probably costing you. Many contracts today are auto-renewed; this can be fantastically convenient for your business, but horrible for your bottom line, as many new technologies are emerging every day which can do the work of your auto-renewed companies faster and more cost-effectively.
Expensive MPLS networks, for instance, are easily replaced with SD-WAN solutions which can save your company thousands a year. There are countless other examples that can be unearthed with a proper company audit.
Convenience and complacency feel great when you’re in the middle of them, but they can bite you in the long run. Repel them with an audit of your company’s services and practices. Partner with a managed telecom supplier like BlackFin Square to ensure every penny is accounted for and no corners are being cut.
Before you know it, it’s that time again. Time to renegotiate your telecom contract or begin the process of looking for new telecom vendors if you’ve been unhappy with the level of service. It can be a stressful time as you are focused on getting the very best deal.
But, it is also a great opportunity to save money and improve service, if you have the right strategy. With decades of successful negotiations under our belts, we know how to manage telecom contract negotiations to get the best deal for your company. And we want to share our secrets with you as you prepare to sit down at the negotiation table.
The first step is to determine if the service structure you have in place is correct. You want to make sure you right-size your colocation environment, bandwidth, or voice services to what you actually need to be buying. You don’t want to be paying for services you don’t need, the number of locations, users, or size of spending can also have a big impact on the negotiation. Larger organizations certainly have an advantage when it comes to economies of scale. Even if the scope of a single project is small, it is to your advantage to bring to the attention of the potential providers the overall scope of the entire organization.
Next, obtain competitive quotes to know the current landscape of service terms and costs. This process should start with an engineer or technical contact who will determine the correct services that need to be procured. Once the request gets handed off to finance, it’s important to search out multiple bids from across the services landscape, not just the companies you’ve worked with previously. When positioned properly, there doesn’t need to be a lot of back and forth during negotiations. Make it competitive, select a small set of acceptable options, and ask for the best and final. If the companies are aware that it is a competitive process, you will get a fair offer quickly.
Finally, once you get all bids in, you’ll want to understand the contractual terms that can be negotiated in your favor such as waived install fees, non-auto-renew clauses, free months of services, extended payment terms, and any others that come up. This will allow you to negotiate the perfect package for the right price for your company. Remember, at the end of the day, a good deal is a favorable total cost. This won’t necessarily be the lowest total cost, especially if security, quality of service, technology, and reliability are important concerns for your organization. Simply put, you want the best technological fit at the best price available, with the most agreeable terms.
We Make Negotiations Easy
Working with our team can save you the headache of telecom contract negotiations altogether. We have the ability to source all available options for a client, even those that are not well known. This exposes the providers to a far more competitive landscape. A competitive solution drives costs down, and responsiveness up. Providers who work with us understand that they must present aggressive pricing and agreeable terms upfront, or run the risk of losing the opportunity to win your business. Learn more about how we can help you by scheduling a free consultation.
As anyone who deals with telecom knows, it’s a very difficult category of spend. Companies that try to reduce telecom expenses are often presented with a harsh reality: It takes a lot of time and resources.
So the question is this. How do companies reduce their telecom expenses? Which tactics yield the best results, and give them the best bang for their buck?
There are four primary areas that a managed telecom partner can help you save big on your telecom expenses!
Optimizing Your Contracts
Optimizing your prices, discounts, and business terms is very important. If you haven’t done so in the last 18 months it’s time to reoptimize your carrier contracts.
Subscriptions And Services
Provider and vendor plans based on actual usage is an optimization that you should perform monthly. Not every business does this, some only do it quarterly or semi-annually, but it’s best done every month.
Invoice auditing to check billing errors is very important. There should also be monitoring of different incentives, discounts, and other contractual terms.
These telecom costs need to be monitored in real-time. A managed telecom partner can help you with your compliance monitoring, and make sure that all your money is going into the right places.
Optimizing internal policies like service usage and demand management is another service that should be performed monthly. A managed telecom partner will look into all rogue spending, and look into company policies to make sure there are policies in place that prevent rogue spending. They will also focus on the four areas and yield the best results so get you the best bang for your buck.
Learn more about how you could be saving big on your telecom services!
As a CIO you don’t have time to go through bills and perform an invoice audit. You need the right managed telecom partner to help you perform these audits.
With the right managed telecom partner in your corner helping you and fighting for you, you can save thousands. How?
They Can Help You Review Your Invoices
People often review bank statements, and credit card charges to make sure everything is in proper order. But do people review their other bills as well?
Electrical, telephone, and other utility bills can also be filled with overcharges. The bills you’re going to see this on the most are the first bills when you modify or add services.
You may see that first bill and think that the price is just the cost of switching over and may not think anything of it. You can easily lose money here. A managed telecom partner can keep you from making this mistake.
They Can Check And Make Sure Your Services Have Been Properly Cancelled
Sometimes even after you cancel a service, you can still be charged for that service. After canceling a service people generally believe that’s the end of it, and cease to check if they’re still being charged.
You might be paying for several different services in which you no longer use. A managed telecom partner can check and make sure that every canceled service, is actually canceled.
Matching Contracts/ Taxing
There are times when your invoices don’t match your contacts as well. You might sign for a certain service and get charged for another one. The managed telecom partner can check this and make sure that you’re being charged for what you contracted for.
Taxes and tariffs change over time and sometimes those changes aren’t reflected in your contracts. You may be overpaying this way as well.
Your contract can get multiplied sometimes, and you end up paying twice as much as you should be.
These are some of the reasons that having a telecom partner can save you thousands. You’re busy and you don’t have time to check on all of these things to make sure that you’re billing is correct.
Engaging with a partner saves you money, time, and resources. So don’t try and do all of this yourself. Get yourself a great partner and start saving money.
Learn more about how you could be saving big on your telecom services!
Streamlining and being cost-efficient with your telecom service isn’t easy. It’s a complicated, fast-moving field that is absolutely necessary for your company to remain competitive, but usually comes with a significant cost. It’s easy to fall into a situation where your billing and invoicing are decentralized and you have multiple contracts for the same service in different locations. Even if you’re with the same carrier, services and prices may be different depending on the location.
Enterprise organizations have a unique opportunity when it comes to telecom expense reduction: leveraging their locations and size to lower costs. You are a big organization and you’ve worked hard to achieve that. You use your size and reach to provide a higher level of service to your customers and clients, and you should use that same size and reach to negotiate better prices on the services you need to do business.
The same contract and invoice audits that ensure that you are receiving all relevant services and aren’t overpaying can also be used to ensure that all relevant accounts are rolling under the master contract. By moving all accounts to the master contract, you can realize savings that come from realizing your true purchasing power.
Telecom service providers are loath to provide any sort of enterprise discount on a contract for just one location. But if you are an enterprise organization with multiple locations, that same service provider will be much more willing to work with you on a reduced price in order to guarantee your business.
By leveraging your full purchasing power, you may also be able to identify migration opportunities you didn’t think were manageable. One way to realize network cost savings is by upgrading your services as an enterprise.
Telecom and network services is a field where the technology it provides is growing by leaps and bounds every year, if not every few months. This means that the services you purchased two years ago are probably out of date.
One way to save money, and provide better service to your employees, clients, and customers, is by upgrading those same systems. It may seem like the more expensive endeavor but, by purchasing as a unified enterprise, you will be able to negotiate even more savings in the short- and long-term.
BlackFin Square also uses our relationships and global partnerships to secure savings for our clients. As a leader in the field, we’ve worked with service providers around the world for years. We’ve carefully cultivated these relationships so that we can secure the best services at the best prices for our clients.
If you haven’t consolidated your telecom and network services contracts under one master account, now is the time to consider such a move. It will save your organization money and allow you to provide a higher level of service for all of your stakeholders.
Learn more about how you could be saving big on your telecom services!
Now that you know how to save money on telecom services through a contract audit, you’re probably wondering why you’ve been overpaying so much for these services. The answer is an easy one.
You’re not reviewing the first invoices. You probably are in the habit of reviewing your monthly credit card statement for fraudulent charges because you know the danger that credit thieves pose. But do you also review your telephone, electric, and other utility bills, especially the first invoice after a change has been requested? Probably not.
The thinking goes that these are contracted services, so I’m just being billed for what I signed up for. This kind of thinking tends to leak over into the professional world as well. And we wish it was as simple as “I signed the contract so that’s what I’m being billed.” But, unfortunately, it’s not.
35% of all telecom invoices have some sort of hidden error and 85% of those errors are in the provider’s favor. An invoice audit that compares contracted costs to your first invoice costs can find these errors so you can ensure that they are corrected.
Some common invoicing errors that we see are:
- Unprocessed disconnections: When you decide you no longer need a service and inform your provider, it’s common to assume that the service will come off your bill. However, there’s a chance that you’re still being charged for services you’ve asked to be disconnected.
- Contract compliance: Many times the invoice doesn’t match the contract.
- Taxes/Tariffs: As taxes and tariffs change, your invoice may not be up-to-date with the latest taxes and tariffs.
- Multiplicity: It’s not uncommon for companies to be billed more than once for a service.
Our invoice audit can find these errors so they can be disputed, allowing you to save money. This invoice audit also allows us to track the SLA credits that you are owed, as well as providing additional billing reviews for anomalies.
At the end of this process, the information collected can be used to create financial reports that outline the amount that your spending on telecom and network services, as well as a breakdown of that, spend, so you can make data-driven decisions about how to cut your telecom costs.
As obvious as it may sound, an invoice audit is the easiest way to find real places where you can realize almost immediate savings.
Learn more about how you could be saving big on your telecom services!