According to the Aberdeen Group, telecommunications is the largest business expense. When you add in the fact that many telecommunication expenses are in error (7 to 12%) and contract terms are deliberately designed to confuse, telecommunication procurement has the potential to become a frustrating and risky venture.
Whether you’re a newly started small or medium sized business that needs to implement telecom services or a Fortune 100 looking for a possible change, professional assistance during your telecom procurement strategy is crucial to cost savings. The “must have” during telecommunications sourcing is the request for proposal, or RFP.
RFPs Are Gateways to Change
An RFP is basically a request for bids. A company solicits possible vendors to submit proposals to meet that company’s telecom needs. The RFP will normally define need, describe available equipment, and explain goals.
They are as detailed as they need to be: a newly started company may have fewer details than a Fortune 100, as its needs are still evolving. The trick is to provide as much information as possible so vendors can submit clear bids.
RFPs may be used whether a new company needs to start telecom services or an established one considers change. Either way, the RFP is a helpful tool in seeing which vendors meet a company’s telecom requirements.
RFPs Help Pare Down the Field
Distinguishing vendors is a difficult process in telecommunication procurement sourcing. There are full service vendors (like AT&T and Verizon), specialized vendors (CenturyLink), and regional vendors (Time Warner, Windstream). Each type offers different advantages in services and price.
However, the best way to assess whether they can meet your telecom needs is to present your needs to gain their response. Just as there is not one way to draft an RFP, choosing the best vendor is also particular to the organization.
Launching Your Telecom Procurement Strategy
Before beginning your telecommunications sourcing project and drafting RFPs, consider the following steps to finding the best telecom vendor:
This includes consideration of goals, but also a straightforward evaluation of what has been missing in telecom infrastructure.
Inventory Current Services.
If you are looking for a switch, compare what you have versus what you need. This will both help keep the RFP detailed and help you discover unneeded expenses.
Identify Future Needs.
Having an accurate forecast of your evolving telecom can save expenses by not encountering surprises that require another vendor switch or changes in contracts.
Prepare Your Team.
Disruption will arise – especially during a telecom switch. Divide responsibilities and delegate chores to those who will play a role enacting or switching telecom services.
Cast a Wide Net
When submitting RFPs to vendors, start by soliciting a range of vendors including full service, specialized, and regional. While “bundling” is all the rage when it comes to telecomm services, it is not always cost effective or flexible. Sometimes customization is easier if different companies provide different services. Again, this all depends upon the nature of your business and priorities in your internal structure.
We’re Here to Help With Your Telecom Procurement Strategy
If you’re unsure how to begin your telecom expense analysis or create your telecom procurement strategy, we can help. Our RFP administration services are designed to save businesses money on their technology costs and telecom bills. Contact us today and we’ll get you started on the right path that leads to streamlined operations and cost savings.
[author_bio username=”Ken” name=”yes”]