Even with the worst of the financial crisis behind us, it is always a good idea to look out for ways to lower the operating costs of your organization. Here, I'm going to examine telecommunications costs and highlight some areas where they possibly can be reduced.
Optimize your communications cost
Admittedly, few companies will foot the mobile bills of their employees in their entirety anymore. Organizations that still practice this however, will be well-served to examine its communications bills for obsolete plans or overcharging. Indeed, a report in Computerworld last November highlighted how one firm saved $33,000 a month simply by renegotiating unfavourable contracts. Another company reportedly hired a former billing agent from Verizon, who promptly uncovered $300,000 worth of overcharging.
The above examples clearly highlight the importance of ensuring that communications costs are examined and optimized from time to time. Obviously, the utilization of sophisticated Unified Communications platforms can allow clearer insights into usage patterns, and also open the doors to alternative solutions such as the use of VoIP.
Where mobile bills are concerned, a more practical method of handling mobile communications bills would be for companies to pay a fixed monthly stipend instead. This has the advantage of giving workers the opportunity to subscribe to mobile plans or devices of their choice, while eliminating "wor" phones that simply get left at home for heavy users. Another advantage here is setting a cap on mobile bills, while also empowering workers to be stewards of their own mobile usage.
Renegotiate any contracts for Internet connectivity
Not surprisingly, Internet providers are content for companies to continue using previously negotiated tariffs and plans. With the cost of Internet connectivity on general decline though, it is downright foolish to continue relying on obsolete arrangements.
Personally, I was able to successfully renegotiate the Internet connectivity costs for a couple of the organizations I worked in. In the cases I encountered, the market rate for Internet connectivity has diminished substantially in the couple of years since the previous contract was signed. Because the contract has already lapsed when I took over, I was able to negotiate for a sharp reduction in Internet connectivity costs, and simultaneously bolstering the bandwidth capacity of the existing pipe.
Some ways to reduce overseas data consumption
Organizations with executives who travel overseas should also examine ways to lower their overseas data consumption, and associated tariffs which are often exorbitant. It should be noted that not all push email technologies are created equal. Unless configured correctly, Windows Mobile (WM) smartphones or the Apple iPhone can consume a fairly large amount of data checking for new mails. (The iPhone utilizes the same push technology as WM when synchronized with an Exchange server.)
In a nutshell, BlackBerry smartphones actually use a more data efficient protocol. Even for BlackBerrys, it makes plenty of sense to have executives tweak their devices to disable HTML e-mails (and their associated images) when travelling.Conclusion
Lowering one's telecommunications costs is hardly rocket science. While a detailed analysis in a large corporation might be beyond the abilities of a single administrator; I hope you are able to see from the above tips that even a general appraisal can bring about a tangible reduction in operating costs.
Have you encountered (or rectified) cases of overpaying in the telecommunications bill? I look forward to hearing about your own experiences and tips below.
Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.