Way too often I am surprised to hear that a client or prospect is unaware of the variety of telecommunications audits that is available in the marketplace. For the purpose of this post, I will focus only on savings related initiatives. But wait, is that not the only kind? No, it's not.

Let's first look at breaking down telecom savings audits into two categories: Cost Recovery and Sustainable Savings. Even at this most basic level, there is a significant disparity between these undertakings; the first may provide some reimbursements from providers for misbillings, but no real value beyond a one-time result, while the latter offers a great deal more value and typically includes the former as a component of the process. So first we will examine more closely the Cost Recovery category.

Cost Recovery Audits are typically one of two types: Contract Compliance and Bill Audits. There may be some overlap here, but the primary differentiator is that a Contract Compliance Audit, is concerned exclusively with ensuring that all services are being billed at contracted rates, and if not a recovery effort will be made in order to secure a credit from the carrier. The second, Bill Audit, is more pragmatic in that this audit focuses on ensuring everything that is billing should be billing, is billing in the right place, and is billing as the correct product or services. Again, there may be some overlap between the two but the important takeaway is that the primary outcome of these types of audits are for recovery which means a potential budget correction but not a true reduction and no guarantee of sustainability.

The second category is Sustainable Savings. Initiatives that produce sustainable savings are those that dig deeper beyond billing and contracts and seek to identify opportunities through analysis, utilizing the information that is developed through creating inventories and network diagrams, reviewing voice and data configurations, and having strategic discussions with vendors, stakeholders, and end users. These initiatives inherently take the client through bill and contract audits to uncover billing recoveries, but also embody a strategic perspective that allows the consultant to identify opportunities to take advantage of alternate carriers, technologies, configurations, etc. to which they would otherwise have little or no exposure. The result of a savings initiative of this type typically includes cost recovery, significant go forward savings, optimized configuration, a clear inventory of resources, cleaner simpler billing, and a better business continuity plan in the event of an outage.

Despite the stark contrast many organizations are under the impression that they have recently concluded an audit and there is no reason to have a consultant review telecommunications. Depending on the scope of the audit, it may make sense to take a deeper dive where the real meat, significant go forward savings, resides. Or, even if a complete audit was done, it usually is not a bad idea to have another consultant review their work, especially if the audit was 18 or more months prior as many deals will have reached mid-term by that point (especially if the consultant works on contingency!). For more information on how to ensure your telecommunications spend is correct and optimal visit www.sourceoneinc.com
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David Pastore

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