Managing telecoms used to be easier. Most businesses of a certain size used a PSTN switchboard, had a leased line and had a contract with a mobile network provider. Businesses still use these services. However in addition to these services they are now also using Broadband, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), Session Internet Protocol (SIP), wireline and wireless data.
This makes cost control hard. The increasing complexity of organisations' telecom usage is driven by changing work patterns. More people work from home and need to work on the go. A mobile workforce demands network availability anywhere and at anytime. The use of telecoms for more business activities also necessitates telecoms infrastructure expansion. More companies are getting Fibre To The Premise (FTTP). This is a direct fibre line straight into the building providing much greater bandwidth.
Not surprisingly billing associated with telecoms is one of the most complicated that a business has to cope with. Organisations often miss obvious cost savings. For instance they lose money because they are still paying for unused lines. So what can be done to manage telecoms spend?
Larger businesses are likely to outsource to telecoms service providers. Companies benefit from their more sophisticated in-house platforms; gaining greater visibility and high quality management information. With this they can identify unnecessary services, and services that they are being overcharged for.
Businesses can also try to streamline operations. They should consider having one telecoms service provider for both fixed and mobile communications. This allows them to take advantage of discounted bundled packages.
Technology developments may help companies keep better control of telecoms spend. Cloud computing (delivery of computing as a service rather than a product) could reduce costs by providing a more flexible and scalable IT environment. However it could also mean more hidden costs. For instance, companies will be charged for storing data on the cloud even if this data is not being actively used. Cloud computing also increases demand for bandwidth. This may mean you have to spend money on improving your current connection. Therefore, if you are considering going down this route, careful consideration of cloud vendors is essential.
Whatever strategy a company chooses, the most important task is to gain visibility into telecoms usage. If you don't know which services are still active and which services internal customers are using, you are likely to be wasting resources. Your system is also vulnerable to employee abuse.