Have you optimized your conference calling services?
Conference and web bridges represent a significant telecom cost saving when you consider the alternative – the convergence of several people in a common location that do not normally reside in the meeting’s location. My colleague Patricia Turchyn in our July 18th blog identified environmental concerns for choosing TEM software. Conferencing is another environmentally sound product to reduce travel and carbon emissions, but is your organization using these services correctly?
Most organizations today have some form of PBX (Private Branch Exchange) or phone system with expanded functionality but frequently left in the hands of untrained staff. It’s just a phone after all - right? And then some! Phone systems are sophisticated computers with enhanced functionality including audio conferencing. Most advanced systems can accommodate from 3 to 6 way conference calling, and if you daisy change that functionality, many more people can be enabled on a call using existing resources.
Consistently, I see training, or lack thereof on company equipment, contributing to the rise in costs for 3rd party conferencing services.
Have you a line of visibility to how many 2 and 3 way calls are made utilizing a third party conference bridge? A TEM can provide visibility to the end user as well as management into conference use. CDR or call detail records are readily available from most conference providers and can be easily loaded into a TEM.
Here are my recommendations:
- Assess the conferencing functionality on your current phone system and train staff to maximize the use of the conferencing tools already available to you.
- Develop policy for 3rd party conference use including local and toll free dialling; the rates, depending on your contract may vary and providers often have local presence in major centres precluding the use of more expensive toll free services. Reduce the use of 2 and 3 party bridges that can be enabled on your current phone system.
- Assess opportunities relative to your business model, where both audio and web conferencing can be used to offset travel costs.
- Assess your needs and negotiate a contract that considers your current usage patterns, potential for travel avoidance, and future needs.
- Review recurring usage – a TEM can automate this process, and a line of visibility will allow you to take corrective action.
Conferencing is an environmentally and economically sound alternative to travel, but ensure your organization is using it correctly and realize even greater savings!