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Telecoms expense management needed to reduce comms costs

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While telecommunications costs are rapidly climbing into the top 10 of a typical organisational expense list, a significant proportion of these costs can be attributed to a paucity of telecoms expense management within the organisation.

That’s the view of Graeme Victor, CEO of Du Pont Telecoms who says international research house, the Gartner Group, noted that “years of neglect and waste brought about by inefficient procurement and governance policies” were driving growing demand for Telecom Expense Management (TEM) solutions in the United States.
In its June 2007 report on TEM, Gartner noted that the absorption of telecom charges at the enterprise level without proper charge out and accounting “will continue to put undue pressure on IT and finance departments to control expenses, implement changes in end-user behaviour and pursue more stringent methods".
“If telecoms expenditure is becoming a major issue in the US where telecoms costs are a fraction of what they are in South Africa, imagine how more local organisations could benefit from closer scrutiny and more effective management of their telecoms expenses,” he adds.
According to Victor, many organisations are unable to pin point high cost contribution areas.  Because their infrastructure is unmanaged, they often pay for services that are either not being used or not used optimally.  
“Businesses also tend to have multiple telecommunications products and suppliers –  Telkom, Vodacom, MTN and others – resulting in having to deal with multiple tariffs, and invoices and statements in multiple formats with multiple billing cycles.
Billing errors and supplier invoice inaccuracies as well as unnoticed supplier price increases are not uncommon. Neither is employee misuse of the infrastructure.
Du Pont Telecoms, a specialist in the provision of tailored voice and data communications solutions, recently established a stand-alone, supplier-independent division to assist companies to examine every aspect of their telephone expenditure and thus make solid, justifiable, facts-based decisions within their telecoms environment.
Utilising a best practice methodology for optimal telecommunications, Du Pont analyses an organisation’s fixed and variable costs for equipment, line rentals and number of contracts – including discounts and call charges for all suppliers – and identifies underutilised equipment, contracts and line rentals.
“We also analyse call patterns to help understand the numbers being dialled and what they cost, including identifying the top dialled numbers by cost, duration and number of calls.  Understanding call durations, call counts, minutes used and minutes billed can ultimately help organisations to improve the effectiveness of their communication processes,” he explains.
“Du Pont understands the total voice environment in South Africa and is supplier independent. This is important as technology in all segments of the market advances at a rapid rate.  As it does, suppliers usually attempt to position themselves in such a way that they are most favourably aligned to on-sell their solutions to their customers, often with no real business case that clearly and accurately defines the customer need.
"Effectively, our toolset gives businesses the ability to manage, monitor and measure their telecoms strategy, from conceptualisation through to implementation, ensuring that they maximise the benefits they get from their investment in telecoms equipment and solutions,” he concludes.