It comes as no surprise that managing IT and Telecommunications spend is challenging. With constantly evolving technology, complex contracting and billing practices, and legacy or outdated billing platforms, gaining a clear understanding of this spend category can be a headache. However, an IT and Telecommunications audit can help you navigate the labyrinth that is telecommunications spend.
If this is a new concept to your organization, don’t be alarmed. While many strategically guided organizations rely on audits to identify practical recommendations to improve their infrastructure, drive efficiency, and reduce costs … it’s still not a mainstream practice, yet.
The key to a successful audit? Planning and preparation. How structured your organization’s telecom data is can help determine the ease and success of the entire process. The initial challenge is determining when you should consider conducting an audit. Not sure if it’s time for your organization to take a detailed look at your IT and Telecommunications spend? Begin by asking these three questions:
- Is your telecom budget in line with current economic conditions?
Evaluating this will begin to uncover whether or not your services are being provided at rates higher than market average. Your telecom budget may also be set based on the purchase of legacy systems. A thorough review can identify legacy technologies that are easily replaced by modern alternatives with better functionality, while often being less costly.
- Has your company been rapidly rolling out new sites and/or acquiring organizations?
Growth through acquisition creates an opportunity to perform an in-depth review of the incumbent supplier’s contract language. It’s crucial to read all terms and stipulations listed in the contract(s) with your supplier(s). Additionally, an audit is an opportunity to find any weaknesses listed in your contract that could cause challenges for your organization down the road. If your company anticipates growth over the course of the next couple of years, you should evaluate the terms of your contract to make sure you can adjust your usage and additional infrastructure, as necessary, to accommodate business changes. Conversely, there is also an opportunity to confirm there are not excess services at a location or services billing to a closed location. You want to ensure telecom services that are being billed are being utilized.
- When was the last time you had a telecom audit conducted?
It’s a best practice to perform a regular, rigorous review to validate services are billed in compliance with the appropriate contract or that service orders and surcharges are appropriate and calculated correctly. Operational needs also rapidly change. Weekly adjustments, like the hiring of new resources, can begin to have a big impact on cost if left unchecked. These operational changes affect the number of devices accessing your company network and data being utilized. Auditing your telecom services will determine how well your current services match the organization’s operational needs. The last time an audit was conducted, the telecom services you selected may have been customized. Today, those services may no longer adequately serve your company. Yet you may still be paying for them.
While conducting a comprehensive IT and Telecommunications audit may initially seem cumbersome, gaining a clear picture of your spend and making sense of it will enable your organization to make smarter investments in the future. If cost reduction is your ultimate goal, an audit provides the foundation for understanding your usage and defining your requirements, setting the stage for a successful spend under management strategy.
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