Opinion

Telecoms are out of control, scream ICT managers

Telecoms: you can't live without them, but you can cut your bills quite easily.

Or maybe you can't, if you're a dim-bulb IT manager.

Seven out of ten IT and Telecoms managers think their telecoms cost are out of control says a new report by MDS. Four out of ten want to save money. Six and a half in ten of every ITC managers says they're under pressure to save money.

Well, why don't they do something then?

Here's an interesting statistic. Four out of ten are spending money on lines, phone and internet access they don't need.

Can you see the answer, boys and girls?

For more context, here (below) is the original full fat piece with all the sclerotic attention blocking cliches about "the lifeblood of the organisation"

Recently conducted independent national research of 200 IT and telecoms managers by customer experience management experts, MDS, found that gaining control of telecoms costs was the biggest priority (69%) for most telecoms and IT managers, followed by reducing overall spend (43%). Worryingly, in the last 12 months, 43% have paid for lines, telephones or internet access they no longer need, while 24% have been locked into contracts they don't want or need. But one of the main issues facing these managers is that they simply do not have the time to analyse their telecoms usage, and monitor where savings could be made. With telecoms managers dealing with an average of three Communications Service Providers (CSPs), and only 66% regularly checking their bills, there is a lot of progress to be made in simplifying billing outreach.

In addition, with 65% of telecoms managers saying they're under increasing pressure to cut costs, it's become more important than ever before for businesses to be able to effectively monitor employee communication usage. One of the key issues is that businesses are putting themselves at risk of breaking the law, as over a quarter (28%) of all UK businesses are struggling to separate employee's work and personal calls for VAT purposes, resulting in unnecessary time and expense expenditure for companies.

Employees are also happy to let their employers pay for calls wherever possible - 59% of telecoms managers believe that employees will do this, creating a huge impact on businesses at a time when many are tightening their belts. If employees are seemingly 'out to get' whatever they can from their employers in 'undisclosed perks', how can companies fight back? Not through rules governing telecoms usage - as surprisingly there is a detailed usage policy in place in less than half of companies (47%). With over three-quarters of telecoms and IT managers (79%) believing that employees are failing to disclose personal calls on mobile bills, this represents a huge potential revenue loss for businesses.

How can businesses regain control and ensure that they are back on the right track?

It all boils down to the same solution - being able to get a clearer, real-time overview of what's happening in your IT and communications estate. Businesses are keen to understand how their company operates, with a particular focus on business analytics and customised online dashboards. As many businesses are looking to consolidate their communications, a single consolidated dashboard offering an online overview of employee usage will be a key service differentiator - something that many communications service providers are now starting to offer.

Online dashboards enable employers to have a complete view of telecoms usage across the business, regardless of size or number of employees. Employers will then be able to flexibly manipulate the data for analysis in almost limitless ways, for example breaking down calls to specific regions, or to flag users who have charged an excessive amount in a given month. Employees themselves can update the system to exclude personal numbers they have called, thus rendering the previous problem of call separation null and void.

In addition, businesses should make it overtly clear to employees what acceptable behaviour is, regarding their telecoms usage - distribute clear guidelines to ensure that there are no grey areas and confusion about what is acceptable.

With the right steps taken, telecoms and IT managers will be able to regain control and put the power back in their own hands through powerful on-line analytics.

This was first published in April 2011

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