We see it all the time. We’ll meet a CEO or CFO and explain how we execute telecom audits. They love our streamlined, non-intrusive processes. They love the subject matter expertise we bring to the table. They really love the performance based payment model that we revolutionized almost 13 years ago.
We get excited thinking we have found another company to help in the battle against inflated telecom and IT bills and then…
… the project stalls.
Usually when a project stalls in these beginning stages it is because someone – whether in procurement or in the IT department – feels threatened by having consultants come in. They feel that someone looking at their bills is “looking over their shoulder” as if they were not doing a good job.
While we understand their initial hesitation, it’s just human nature; we also know there is no reason to hesitate.
The credits, savings and discrepancies we find in their telecom invoices are STRATEGICALLY designed to be hidden from procurement and IT specialists. The carriers have been at this a long time and they know how to maximize a contract.
We know how to get some of that money back for you.
How to Audit Telecom and IT Invoices
Our mission at PAG is to help as many companies as possible lower their telecom and IT bills. We know we can’t work with every business and that is why we share so much information on our blog and in our resource center.
We help as many companies as possible by sharing some of the tactics and strategies we’ve sharpened over our 65+ years in the telecom world.
The truth of the matter, however, is that some of this stuff is just too technical. Some of the tactics we implement require the specialized knowledge we gained working at large telecom and IT carriers. Some tactics require access to databases we subscribe to and access regularly.
So while we understand the value of sharing all the information we can with as many companies as possible, in reality, some companies are better off hiring an outside expert to perform an audit.
Telecom and IT bills are confusing for a reason. The carriers know that the more confusing the invoice and contract, the less likely you are to closely examine the charges.
And that could be costing you a lot of money!
Why Progressive IT Departments Love PAG Audits
Over the years, we have worked with hundreds of IT departments. Some “departments” are a one-man show operating a small business. Other departments are enterprise level staffs operating the complex infrastructure of an international manufacturing and distribution firm.
In almost all cases, those IT departments were stretched thin, trying to do more with less and constantly putting out fires, while also evaluating, procuring, implementing and managing all telecom services, and insuring accuracy on bills which historically are incorrect nearly 90% of the time!
Auditing and monitoring telecom and IT bills requires specialized knowledge that most IT departments simply don’t have. It is knowledge that you don’t get from an IT education. It is knowledge we acquired from working for the other team and successfully negotiating contracts for organizations of all sizes, all over North America and beyond.
Progressive IT departments know that when we find savings, they just received additional resources and budget relief.
Progressive executives also realize that when we find these savings it doesn’t mean that the IT department was falling short; it only means that they shouldn’t have been assigned this task in the first place.
You wouldn’t ask your sales team to run the accounting department. Don’t ask IT to audit your telecom invoices.
The Basics of a Proper Telecom Audit
If you do decide to audit your own telecom invoices, the audit should be separated out from day to day activities and should be designated as a special project. A proper audit is much more than just looking over the bill and making a phone call to the carrier.
A well-done telecom audit is performed with an eye towards three stages of savings. It will look to the past for credits, look to the present for savings and look to the future for leverage in negotiating your next contract.
A good audit will:
- Review every line item on your invoices
- Thoroughly compare bills, contracts and tariffs
- Identify credits and refunds due
- Inventory all lines, circuits, devices and features across the enterprise
- Properly assign all services to the correct cost centers
- Review and revise all procurement policies
- Provide a blueprint for future vendor accountability
Do these sound like tasks that should be given to an IT professional?
In addition to requiring an entirely different skill set than IT executives normally possess, telecom audits should remain vendor neutral at all times. Staying neutral when you deal with the service reps of the carriers is difficult, even for someone determined to do so. Again, it is human nature.
Should You Do Your Own Telecom Audit?
At this point you may be wondering why we share so much information if performing a proper telecom audit is so difficult. The answer goes back directly to our mission – Help as many companies as possible to lower their telecom and IT bills.
While many of those companies simply can’t work directly with us, we know sharing this information can benefit them.
Some organizations may want to perform their own audits because it becomes an experience they can learn from without it costing the company too much.
These organizations are typically smaller organizations like a local small business, a private school, a club or a small non-profit. Their telecom and IT bills are typically under $5,000 a month and their infrastructures are not overly complicated.
Large organizations like corporations, hospitals, universities, national retailers, and regional distributors would be making a mistake attempting to perform the audit in-house.
Their infrastructures are large. Their invoices are too complex. Will they see some savings with an in-house audit? Absolutely, as doing something is better than just letting the carriers have their way.
The savings found in a professional audit, however, will always be greater than an in-house audit. A professional audit will also set the organization up for future savings and will create opportunities for leverage in negotiations down the road.
We are sometimes called in to do an audit after an in-house audit was performed and we find that the in-house audit, while well intentioned, has actually cost the organization future savings.
Why Progressive Companies Win
Progressive companies, those that end up on annual “Best to Work For” lists and those known for their innovation, realize the value of feedback and have open lines of communication.
Telecom audit projects don’t stall at these companies. IT realizes the benefits that can be delivered through cost reduction and they honestly know that auditing telecom invoices isn’t their area of expertise.
They don’t let internal company politics or sacred cows cloud their vision because the company does everything it can to avoid those in the first place.
Executives at these companies know that savings should be celebrated. They do not expect IT professionals, who have a very valuable and distinct skillset, to also be able to find everything that the telecom carriers are trying to hide from them.
When we find savings through a telecom audit, it doesn’t mean that somebody didn’t do their job. It just means that you have leveled the playing field with the carriers by calling in experts that know the tricks and tactics the telecom carriers use.
It says something that an entire industry can be born from carrier billing issues. Do not get caught up in finger pointing; that is when the carriers win.
Perform a proper and professional telecom audit so your invoices, and your bottom line, will never be the same.
[author_bio username=”Ken” name=”yes”]