Author: Patricia Turchyn
The following scenario...The boss hands you the task of cleaning up the wired and wireless lines in your company. You have no idea how many services there are – the boss gives you an idea, but the company has been around for so long and no one has ever done this task before. Hmm, where to start? Bills from Finance? Excel spreadsheets from different sources? Ok, the bills seem like the wisest place to start – hopefully there is online billing.
Having received access to the various providers’ sites, and after figuring out how to extract data what I need from them, I decide to work one provider at a time – exporting the 800-page spreadsheets from each ones’ online billing. OH MY! How can we have so many lines? And, the cost! I don’t think I have ever seen a number that high on a bill before! Maybe the billing is correct, after all, we have been paying it without questioning any details for years on end. It’s my job to check so let’s get to it.
Progress takes time?
Export bill to spreadsheet – make sure all the correct fields are there – if not, restart. Ok, done. Maybe printing it is a good idea – print preview indicates 800 pages – ok, we’ll work with it on the computer. Using spreadsheets from finance detailing our “company locations”, I match some phone numbers. Possibly 35% - after 5 weeks working on it.
Progress report to the boss: I got some done – it’s going to take time – a lot of it.
I select numbers and send them to my provider’s customer service representative. “Can you please give me the service address of these numbers?” – Reply from customer service “Sure, but it will take a while.” And, so it goes, week after week, identifying lines – my job gets quite boring and monotonous. Slowly I am discovering we are being charged for lines that, when I call, are out of service or belonged to an ex-employee who never told his former employer that they were still paying for his “home office” line. Service addresses come in from the provider: Oh! Look at that – we are still paying for lines for our old warehouse (which we moved out of 8 years prior). It looks like I will be saving the company some money – suddenly, my job is getting more interesting!
To make a long story short, after 8 months of manually analysing Wireline and Wireless billing, the company saved a bundle on lines that:
- Were never disconnected (we could have saved more money if we could have proved having issued orders to disconnect, but we had no trace of the old orders)
- Were disconnected but we kept on being billed
- Were not even supposed to be on our corporate billing in the first place
Yes, we all know “To Err is Human” but to waste company funds is crazy. Think about the time spent untangling these telecom services, bills, questioning everything, and the cost of my time, everyone else’s time. Now that it’s done I have a handy-dandy telecom inventory spreadsheet which I hand over to my boss. As all other companies, we have a dynamic inventory – especially on the wireless side. Who will manage this spreadsheet? Who will keep track of what is being ordered? What plans are put in place? What is being spent? In one month, this spreadsheet will be out-dated – it is probably already out-dated simply due to the fact that 8 months have passed since I started the process. The boss will probably have to hire someone just to manage these services.
These were the days when Telecom Expense Management Software barely existed.
Zoom to today: find a TEM provider that meets your needs, have them take care of setting up everything. Then, manage, order and report all from one place in a matter of minutes!
Having managed thousands of lines using Excel, Access or any other creative way I could have come up with, nothing beats an all-in-one TEM software!