On several occasions throughout my career I have had the daunting task to oversee telecom migrations of various telecom network services from one service type to another and from one carrier to another including LD, Toll Free, PRI, and all variations of WAN/LAN. I repeat, It is a daunting task. Every telecom provider over-promises, but eventually delivers - eventually, because in every case, there have been compromises, hidden agendas, and unknown configurations that change the game over the course of the implementation. Either way, it is an adventure – and an opportunity that you may not want to miss!
Renegotiation or Competitive Tender? That is the Question.
As you ponder a competitive tender, or the renegotiation of your current contract, planning is key to success. If you are planning a competitive tender, I hope your Telecom Expense Management contract end date is 6 months away. If not you may need to accept a renewal with your current carrier or step up the planning process now. Either way there is money to be saved, but if you are truly considering changing carriers, the cost of a migration can be considerably high. Paradoxically, not undertaking a migration may be an opportunity lost. A migration may just be the catalyst your organization needs to take them from the 19th to the 21st century.
Not up to the task? Is your motto, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!” ? This may be the biggest mistake in your career. It all depends on how you define broken. The questions to ask are: Is my network right-sized? Does a 30-60% surplus bode well with my management? Can I account for most incoming lines? Are we well positioned for the next best thing? Does your organization resist change? Depending on your answers to these questions, it may be time to reconsider “broken”.
Ask yourself if you truly know the state of your provisioning. When was the last time you performed an audit? Are your MACD processes solid? Is the billing validated against your orders? Do you know what you are approving each and every month when you sign off on the invoice? Do you truly have an accurate inventory to proffer for RFP? Do you know your network intimately? Is it a patchwork of temporary (yet forgotten) patches, or a well documented and optimized configuration? Preparing your inventory and your network design architecture for RFP is key to success. You may need to finance an audit of your telecom and an architecture review of your network, while contracting your current provider to assist. You heard correctly: you may have to pay your current carrier to tell you what your telecom costs are.
To enter or not to enter into the RFP process? I tend to take an ethical stance: if you truly have no intention on changing carriers, then it would be better to negotiate a new contract with your current carrier. Either do your own research (whether you are the Procurement Specialist or the Telecom Manager), or hire a consultant to provide you with insight into what your rates should be and before you start negotiations. Remember: doing nothing may be your downfall. Determine if an RFP is the catalyst to open the books on the state of your network and/or telecom inventory and whether it is your only opportunity to progress . Your odyssey may take numerous unexpected twists and turns, but you will position your organization for a bright future of innovation.