October 26, 2020
By Chris Lee
The telecom audit business is booming. Many MSPs and channel partners now want to offer their enterprise customers telecom expense management (TEM) or auditing services, in addition to their technology-based offerings.
It makes sense. The market for TEM is forecast to grow by double digits over the next three years. Increasing technology complexity and the need for enterprises to generate cost savings in an uncertain economic environment has generated demand for auditing of telecommunications costs. Many enterprises are adding services to support new work from home (WFH) initiatives. In this environment, CFO’s are hungry for every dollar savings they can find. There are now software tools available to help channel partners provide these services. For partners this means new revenue streams and building stronger relationships with enterprise C-suite executives.
But providing telecom audit and management services is different than selling hardware, software or traditional telecom services. However, there are back-office business challenges MSPs, resellers and other channel partners need to be prepared for.
“Onboarding” customers’ expense data. Enterprises never have their telecom expense data ready to be audited. Not only is the data often hard to find, it usually exists in the form of telecom carrier invoices. And, these come in different formats and media (e.g., PDF, web-based, EDI, paper). Thus, when a consultant starts a new telecom audit, it usually requires a laborious process of finding, formatting, consolidating and organizing this data.
Finding money-saving recommendations quickly. Once the data is available, you need auditing tools that can perform a standard set of data analysis routines. An example would be the ability to automatically flag duplicative services, or charges for services that are no longer in use. If you rely on spreadsheets and manual analysis, you’re essentially recreating the wheel each time you perform an audit, and you can never grow your services cost-effective.
Reporting and dashboard capabilities. Key is having the ability to easily share data with enterprise customers. Once the onboarding of customer data is done, reporting and dashboard capabilities let channel partners share data with their enterprise customers. Providing this type of cost visibility can become a value-added service to customers and set the stage for regular “expense check-ups.” Acquiring these capabilities requires some upfront investment. Good news – there are excellent SaaS telecom lifecycle management solutions available. They provide the functionality needed to support a telecom audit business offering. With the right solution, they can reduce the revenue collection cycle by at least 25% to 40%.
From vendor to “trusted adviser.”. We all want to become our customer’s trusted adviser – someone they go to solve important issues. What better way to make that transition by providing actionable data and visibility into their telecom expenses? Imagine the opportunities created to offer recommendations on migrating to new services or offer advice on network transformation initiatives? With a strong back-office foundation, the possibilities are endless.
Chris Lee has more than 20 years of experience in telecom network design, optimization and expense management. He is founder and CEO of Cloud Age Solutions, a provider of telecom lifecycle management software for MSPs, service providers and telecom resellers. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Old Dominion University and an MBA from The George Washington University. Follow him on LinkedIn or on Twitter at @cloud_solved.
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