Telecom Expense Management: Ain't Life Fun? - Page 2

May 8, 2007

Allen Bernard

Where he spends most of his time with pouring over analytics to see where he can do a better job at getting into the 30% he can't see or control.

"What we do have is very strong procurement capability," said Tarhanidis. "We get best-in-class rates; we do a fantastic job with that and we definitely have strong relationship practices. And now when it becomes an issue of auditing or validating those contract rates or discount plans that you have, that's where we have challenges."

In other words, getting what you paid for. For this he uses Avotus as well to make sure the company's bill are accurate and they are getting the services they signed up for.

He could develop this expertise in house, of course, but he doesn't want to when it's easier to outsource the function.

Interesting, it would logical to think that with telecom meaning more things, costing billions per year and having a more important impact than ever on how, when and where companies conduct business, this segment of the outsourcing world would be taking off … right? Not necessarily, said puzzled industry analyst Jeff Kagan.

"It's seems as though there's a big opportunity that's been out there and getting bigger for the last five, ten, fifteen years and there seems to be a real need, but there just doesn't to have been an explosion of interest from the customers," said Kagan.

Convergence and fewer carriers is definitely part of the answer but, ultimately companies may not care enough at this point to do more than they are. After all, the No.1 concern for most managers is keeping people connected, he said.

"The issue is telecommunications is getting bigger and more important and more pervasive and companies have more bills and more services to manage," said Kagan. "There's just bill after bill after bill and the manager of the company who handles this is typically overwhelmed trying to keep the services running and doesn't really have the time to manage the costs."

Of course, that will probably change as new services become old hat and more reliable. At least that is the hope of Avotus' Chief Marketing Officer Alan Gold.

"It's one thing if you've got five cell phones and two offices and Betsy down in accounting; she can spend half a week when the bill comes in to get it all sorted out," he said. It's another if you've got a 100 times those numbers.

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