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Telecom Expense Management Improved by Better Internal Communications

According to a recent Aberdeen Group study, 7 to 12 percent of telecom service charges are in error. Such billing errors on the part of the carrier can be caught when accurate Call Data Records (CDRs) are kept. However, there is another area of over-billing that occurs as a result of lack of coordination between a company's departments and can affect telecom expense management.

The IT department, for example, orders services that are paid for by the finance department. The two departments seldom liaise to make sure that the bills correspond to what was ordered and received, and that the best rates were obtained. With improved communications and liaison, these obstacles can be overcome.

Another potential area to eliminate waste is to ensure that the carrier stops billing for discontinued services. This happens with upgrades as a result of expansion, as well as when layoffs occur.

For example, according to one source, a carrier overcharged a company by $50,000 after that company had sold several of its locations. The carrier had omitted to transfer the charges for those locations to the new owners.

A computerized Telecom Expense Management (TEM) system can vastly improve the situation, but the best computer system cannot function properly with inadequate or incorrect data. Therefore, it is vitally important that there be a centralized point where the relevant telecom data is gathered and processed.

Some internal reorganization may be necessary to make sure that any time resources are moved, added, changed, or disconnected (MACD), this fact is recorded in the system's database. In many cases, it would make sense also to centralize telecom approvals so that the best deals may be negotiated with carriers.

While creating an accurate and complete database of existing inventory is vital, continued vigilance is needed to ensure it stays that way. Many companies, for example, inadvertently continue to pay for the cell phones, pagers and phone cards of employees who have left. Good interdepartmental communications and periodic inspections are needed to help keep the telecom records up-to-date. With a complete and accurate database in place, a telecom Expense Management (TEM) system can realize significant savings and pay for itself in short order.

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