The current state of the economy has made it more important than ever to control costs. Finding capital to keep your technology infrastructure as competitive as possible has become a mission critical function. Fortunately, the same economy that is giving you heartburn has also created opportunities -- the telecom carriers need business just as much as you do.
There are three methods for leveraging telecom carriers in order to clear up both operating and capital budgets:
- Renegotiate your carrier services contracts: If you are close to the end of your term, you should absolutely do a full analysis of what you are spending and renegotiate with or change telecom carriers. You will save, on average, 30% of your current telecom spending if you know what you are doing or if you work with a good agent. This operating expense reduction can go into either operating leases or additional services.
- Consider hosted and managed services: More and more carriers are offering managed and hosted services that, as recently as last year, required very expensive network buildouts. Many of these services will tie in very nicely with whatever unified communications goals you have and, as an added bonus, they reduce internal costs to manage and maintain. Some of these services include:
- Hosted PBX
- Managed PBX
- Managed WAN routers
- Hosted messaging (Exchange and others)
- Hosted IVR services
- Hosted Web conferencing
- Software as a Service
- Hosted voice bridging
- Cloud computing
- Hosted video conferencing
- Smartphone network integration
- Ask carriers what plans they have to tie into your goals: Some carriers have actually developed programs where they remit a certain percentage of your bill to the leasing company of your choice. In those cases, there is a direct reduction in either capital or operating expenses, depending on how you structure the deal.
Overall, whether you are working directly with telecom carriers or with an agent, it imperative that they understand your long-term goals and help you put together a telecom carrier strategy that works. If you don't have a trusted advisor, find one. Let them work for you. And don't be afraid of looking at some heretofore unusual solutions. You will be pleasantly surprised by what is available to you.
This was first published in January 2010