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Telecom Reporting: The key to an efficiently managed telephony environment

Globally, “telecom expenses represent a massive portion of the IT budget, with Gartner forecasting $1.6 trillion in telecom expenses with a 1.6% growth rate last year.”

Modern day Telecom Reporting solutions add significantly more value than just providing bright, fancy dashboards for management to include in the monthly board pack. The solutions have evolved significantly from what they used to be just a few years ago. Many of the newer offerings are cloud based solutions [deployed via a SaaS model] that offer high level insight as well as detailed analytics into every single invoice line item within the telephony environment, both voice and data, fixed and mobile, irrespective of the number of locations, providers and or technology mediums in place.

In addition to providing analytics across the entire telephony environment, many solutions also offer additional components that aim to reduce the burden on company resources whilst also adding controls to the overall telecom procurement and vendor management processes.

The most common question that new customers ask us during our initial engagements with them is “How much do we stand to save by implementing a telecoms reporting solution?” when in fact the more pertinent question that these organisations should be asking us is “How much do we stand to loose by not implementing a telecom reporting solution?”

Below are some of the common pitfalls that we frequently see within organisations that have not deployed any form of effective telecom reporting.

  • No insight into usage, expenditure, infrastructure, services and or products.
  • No benchmarking of usage, expenditure, infrastructure, services and or products.
  • Budgeting, forecasting, monitoring and controlling telecom expenditure and associated usage is not possible.
  • Unused infrastructure exists and is paid for on a monthly basis.
  • Wastage especially in terms of pre-purchased bundles is common.
  • There is no visibility into adhoc costs such as interest charges, third party costs, once off costs, etc…
  • Duplication of costs and services is prevalent.
  • There is a significant and unnecessary investment of time and resources into managing a non-core business activity.
  • Telephony related decisions and road maps are uninformed, subjective and rely heavily on guesswork and assumptions.
  • Monitoring the migration from one provider or technology to another is impossible and duplicate charges often occur as a result.
  • There is no way of ensuring that vendors are delivering on their SLA’s.
  • Ensuring that commercial terms are being implemented correctly is not possible.
  • Internal cost recovery & cost allocation is a manual, time consuming process that often contain errors.
  • There is no way of identifying and stopping erratic behaviour mid-month and bill shock often occurs as a result.
  • Managing and tracking commercial terms and contractual obligations is a manual process often overlooked.
  • No central inventory of telecom infrastructure, products and services exists.

The key to ensuring that reporting works for your organisation is to ensure that the correct stakeholders have access to the appropriate information, at the right time. That makes the difference between proactive and reactive management.

Being able to process huge complex volumes of raw telecoms data, across multiple providers and report on the basics is one thing, but being able to link that data back into the organisational structures in a meaningful manner makes the data more insightful, more actionable and more relevant to the stakeholders is paramount. We have achieved this by adding a layer of BI over the traditional telecom reporting set – says Neil Buckley, MD of Apex BI.

Some key questions to ask when sourcing a reporting platform.

  • Can the reporting represent your business structure correctly?
  • Can the reporting be adapted to suit your unique business needs?
  • Is the software locally owned and developed?
  • Does the reporting provider understand the local market and can they back this up with their CV’s?
  • What experience does the providers staff have in the South African telecommunications sector?
  • What IP plays a role in the reporting itself, IE: do the reports purely represent data or is there meaning behind that data.
  • Does the reporting provider offer a level of analytical integration, which takes the data beyond the obvious?
  • Is the reporting hosted on site or is there a cloud / hosted version available?
  • Does the reporting vendor have any alliance to a particular carrier / provider or are they agnostic, IE: can they [or more importantly, do they currently] report on all providers?
  • Is the reporting limited to a particular type of technology, IE: only desk phones, or only mobile phones etc…
  • Does the software incorporate both daily billing as well monthly invoices?

The telecoms environment in any organisation is a living environment with many variables that change from month to month and for medium to large sized organisations, telecom reporting is no longer a “nice to have”.

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