All too often companies rely on their carriers to provide them with expense management. Talk about letting the wolf run the hen house.
It’s almost a tacit admission of how bad carrier invoices are that they need to offer, and charge for, software tools to make it possible to understand their bills. But in the quest to get their fingers in every possible revenue pie the carriers are now in the telecom expense management industry. They do this typically by white-labelling products from major TEM vendors.
There are other major issues with them providing this service. A few of them are as follows:
- Carriers are under intense pressure to grow line revenue.
One of the most important number that telecom providers report to shareholders is “average revenue per unit” (ARPU). Basically, it’s how much they make per line per month. They want it to go up, you want it to go down. See the problem?
- Carriers want to expand units.
Ever notice how quick your “account manager” calls back when you want a new line, but how slow they are for anything else? Read on.
- Carriers want to stop “churn” (aka cancellations)
You probably have lines and services that you don’t need. The telco software will tell you it’s billing properly, but will it tell you if you really need it?
- Telco’s don’t want to spend time finding savings
The onus is on you to find problems. They sure aren’t going to audit it for you just to cut their revenue. Do they want to move you to VoIP when they can charge you more for landlines?
It’s a clear conflict of interest isn’t it? It’s a good sign that carriers are beginning to offer solutions for their clients to monitor their usage. The problem is that you’re often missing out on other savings because you’re not being benchmarked against other competitors. Many of the carrier platforms can even import usage information from their competitors which puts you at a disadvantage because they can see the pricing you are getting from their competition.
Don’t believe the hype from your carriers. An independent expert is the only way to ensure that your interests are served and you are receiving the best value from your telecom spend.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t some amazing carriers and dealers out there. The strong relationships I have with all of them is a testament to it, but there are often conflicts that are hard to overcome and this is one of them.
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