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Driving Results Beyond the Telecom Audit

In reality, auditing is little more than a Band-Aid with few, if any, sustainable results.

Channel Partners

July 13, 2012

5 Min Read
Driving Results Beyond the Telecom Audit

By Scott Levy

Most likely you have met with prospects that were thrilled with a recent telecom audit, bragged about the “savings” it uncovered and how pleased they were to have paid for it on contingency as a percentage of the savings.” If you think you’re too late to help them, ask these questions: Was there a plan to sustain the savings” realized over time? If the answer is no, there’s still an opportunity to engage them in a long-term business relationship providing telecom life cycle management.

In reality, auditing is little more than a Band-Aid with few, if any, sustainable results. Looking at billing is like looking in the rearview mirror; it’s not about looking forward. In a column, “Establish Value With Life Cycle Management,” for the March 2012 issue of Channel Partners, I offered two scenarios about disconnects and lines to the same facilities billing differently. In an audit, both problems would be found and presented as savings” when, in fact, they are recovery. There are absolutely no savings to be had from an audit when the problems are process driven.

It’s easy enough to find out if the problems are process driven with these questions: Did you have any visibility into your environment prior to the audit? Did you have an inventory of your services? Were processes and procedures for managing telecommunications from MAC to mobility to disconnect, etc., defined? Were performance of processes and procedures being measured? What were the agreed upon success metrics for the audit, e.g., save X percent, consolidate services, reduce bill count, build a services inventory? Without defined success metrics, it is hard to say what was actually achieved against the starting baseline. 

So how do you drive sustainable results that benefit your client beyond an initial audit? Improving results year over year takes a strategic approach instead of the standard tactical one. Most telecom and IT professionals think tactically, not strategically. They do not consider how what they do affects growth of the companys bottom line. Even when they acknowledge that technology can enable business growth, they don’t consider the impact on people and processes that can impact total cost. Here are some examples:

  • Company A determines that deploying iPads to field personnel will increase productivity. However, no plan is made for managing devices, data usage, security, etc. So the productivity gains are canceled out by the management mess on the back end.

  • Company B’s four-person IT department regularly orders and disconnects lines in between other duties with no formal process or procedures for making sure it’s done correctly, which results in billing errors.

  • Company C directs HR to collect cell phones from employees that leave the company, but then the phones sit in a drawer and continue to incur monthly charges while IT orders new phones for new hires.

In this way, Telecom Life Cycle Management drives strategic, rather than tactical, thinking. It encompasses people, process, technology, services and costs. That alone sets a stage for far different approaches, expectations and outcomes than just talking about service and price. It also lays the foundation for telecommunications executives to forecast technical, financial and operational needs against changing business demands.

While discussions around this approach still may wrinkle a few foreheads, they open up conversations around uncharted paths. Here are some questions that can help you determine if your prospect is thinking strategically or tactically about telecommunications:

  • How do you gauge success of projects, installations, changes, etc?  And who is accountable for that success?

  • Are you utilizing business and performance analytics to make strategic decisions?

  • How are you using technology to drive business growth and profitability?

  • How are you measuring success beyond cost savings?

  • Are you identifying the root cause of problems?

  • What are you personally doing to make a positive impact on the business not just the department?

  • How do you mitigate risk in your decision making?

Select the questions you’re most comfortable with; this is a discussion, not an interrogation. You are trying to get them to tell you what their pains are. If your prospect cannot answer the questions, consider whether you are talking to someone who is not the decision maker or, if they are, whether their answers indicate they are open to help in these areas.

How do channel partners benefit and make money from a more holistic approach? Telecom Life Cycle Management involves defining where process breaks down, building a plan to fix it and measuring performance going forward. You can be paid to help them with this on the front end and also be part of the process going forward. This may involve telecom expense management, help desk services and more.

But there are other ways that it can help you build your business:

  • Showing concern and providing successful outcomes differentiates you from the field, builds long-term relationships and opens up opportunities to sell more products and services.

  • Discussing the interrelation between different parts of your clients’ businesses shows them you are not just pushing products which establishes credibility and trust, putting you ahead of other vendors that are focused on quoting prices.

  • Getting to the root causes of problems and resolving them provides your clients with real business value, gaining you more trust and more business.

While some of these things may not seem as important as billable hours, remember that customers dont write checks larger than the size of the relationship.

Scott Levy is  vice president of enterprise development at

AOTMP
, which is a resource for enterprises on telecom management. Levy is responsible for building and managing enterprise client development and is also actively involved in the development of new products and setting corporate strategy. Levy is a subject matter expert in telecom expense management (TEM), wireless mobility management (WMM) and fixed and mobile telecom environment management. His domain expertise in the TEM and WMM spaces extends more than 18 years which enables him to provide insight and business options to clients and prospects.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Hear more from AOTMP’s Scott Levy in the session, “Building New Revenue Streams With Telecom Life Cycle Management,” at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, Sept. 12-14, in Orlando.

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