Switching To a New Telecom Carrier Is NOT The Solution

Published by: Peter Dobbs

Businesses and governments waste millions every year on excessive hardware spending and unused wireless services.

Taking your business to a new vendor is a tried and true strategy to get a better deal. Consumers and companies use this approach every day. In fact, just mentioning that you are looking at competitors sometimes encourages your supplier to offer a better deal.

 Is this strategy a smart move to cut your mobile phone expenses?

 Not always. Switching wireless vendors to reduce your bill is often a strategic and costly mistake.Your annual wireless spend includes much more than the monthly bill; It also includes purchasing many wireless devices, staff to administer the contracts and all of the effort required to try to organize and optimize usage of both the devices and the wireless subscriptions.

 One or more telecom managers are necessary to manage the contract and control purchasing. They need support staff who deal with day-to-day operational matters such as assigning devices and managing invoices. These tasks are usually performed part-time by a variety of people who aren't engaged in keeping costs under control and don't clearly understand the process. 

 In this context, switching to a new telecom carrier is not easy, especially when your processes, policy, and governance isn't well established. Add to this the costs of selecting a new vendor. Creating an RFP, then evaluating responses and negotiating the details can take months of efforts and legal expense. Even if that effort pays off with a better contract, your overall wireless costs likely won't be significantly lower. Why?

 There are three mistakes when it comes to managing business wireless expenses that nearly every organization makes. Unfortunately, these cannot be solved by switching to a new carrier. Let’s take a look at the most common problems organizations face with their wireless expense management.

1. Switching to A New Carrier Doesn’t Solve Your Governance Problem

Moving to a new wireless vendor only optimizes one variable in the wireless expense portfolio. By focusing exclusively on the telecom vendor selection as a strategy, it is easy to ignore the broken processes in play at your company. Here are two ineffective processes we see in nearly every firm: 

  • Reliance on a disconnected inventory management system or Excel spreadsheets: Keeping track of your organization’s wireless devices using these tools is better than nothing. However, this error-prone process requires manual effort to maintain. That effort quickly becomes overwhelming with larger wireless portfolios. A telecom administrator has to access several systems, read invoices and contact other people in the company, then manually update the system. The effort required means little or no time is left to ask deeper questions about cost optimization
  • Manual Reconciliation and Investigation. Do your telecom administrators spend much of their time reviewing invoices and reports? Wireless carriers provide billing data and some ad hoc reports. A telecom expense management system can provide better insight, but neither the wireless bill nor the TEM can tell the whole story. They don't know what's happened to the devices you've purchased or who made changes and when or if they were completed. Assuming your administrator detects a problem, investigating it could easily take a week. In large organizations, it may take even longer. Many organizations don't even bother, the cost to find and resolve issues is higher than the cost of the issue. The fact is, your administrators don't know what's going on because they don't have the right control systems.

Moving to a new telecom may reduce the base monthly service fee for individual lines, but it doesn't address the need to manage and control wireless operations. Without proper process and policy, you’re likely to continue to suffer from invoice waste and lots of unnecessary man-hours.

2. Moving To A Different Telecom Carrier Doesn’t Stop Invoice Waste

Negotiating a telecom contract suited your organization’s needs and obtaining the best pricing available is difficult. And even if you negotiate great pricing, you'll still have rampant waste.

How would you answer these basic questions about your wireless portfolio?

  • What is the average number of months during the term of your contract that your wireless subscriptions and devices are deployed and being used by employees?
  • How quickly can you identify call and data usage excess, research who is responsible and takes steps to eliminate the issue?
  •  How much time is spent each month on invoice analysis and validation? 
  • How many wireless subscriptions and devices do you have that are not in use and how quickly can you redeploy these?
  • How quickly can you identify new wireless subscriptions and changes that have been made to your account that haven't gone through appropriate approvals?
  • How many wireless subscriptions and devices do you have that are not in use and how quickly can you redeploy these? 
  • Is your purchasing, inventory management, and bill reporting in one consolidated system that gives you instant reporting that tells the complete story? 

Here’s what you are missing: You need consistent and highly reliable operational processes, policies and governance to guarantee that your telecom costs are under control and that your wireless fleet is optimized. 

 Your process also needs to identify improvement opportunities where you may be wasting money on services or excessive hardware purchases that you don’t need. Unfortunately, your staff may not have the training and tools to perform this kind of activity.

 Bottom line, your monthly wireless expense is more significant that you may think and it's not the carrier's fault. Reducing the cost of each subscription doesn't get to the heart of the issue. Think of it as a tax on your organization. A tax that you can minimize with better tools and proper operational process.


3. Switching to A New Telecom Provider Doesn’t Eliminate Excessive Device Spending

Let’s say that your organization has hundreds or thousands of mobile devices in service. If you transition to a new wireless carrier, your focus will probably be on ensuring uninterrupted service. Therefore, you will either have to purchase a lot of new devices or spend time and money to unlock each one and replace their SIM. You'll also need to port over every number and, getting the transition to go smoothly is no easy task. It's going to be very expensive and time-consuming regardless of whether or not the carrier is subsidizing the cost of hardware (amortizing it in your contract and adding it to your monthly fee).

As soon as you've switched, you'll be back in the world of day-to-day operations management. Employees leave, devices end up in drawers, subscriptions in-contract sit idle while you pay for them every month and redeployment is not straightforward because it's difficult to know which devices are available and what subscriptions can be re-assigned when the information is decentralized, and visibility is not there.

Your telecom carrier can't help you with this, it's a single point of failure of the whole system, and it ends up costing you an awful lot of money both in wasteful spending on new devices and subscriptions and in the time needed to try to keep it organized using disjointed systems and processes.

What To Do Instead to Optimize Your Wireless Portfolio

Don't expect your telecom provider to solve this problem for you, take control of your wireless operations and do it for yourself using a complete wireless operations management system. Contact Simplify Wireless for a complimentary audit of your wireless landscape and to review how a wireless operations management system will impact your bottom line. Our process requires minimal time from your staff. We've successfully helped large organizations from law firms and home healthcare companies to cities and provincial governments save as much as $400,000 each month on wireless waste. You'll be amazed at how much money you can save.