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Telecom Billing Woes:
Are billing mistakes costing your company $ -- You can bet on it!
Dell Crill
 

As a Network Administrator many of you are wearing two hats these days. You are not only responsible for the Data, but the Telecom side of the house as well. In this time of corporate cut backs and IT/ IS department downsizing itís a real advantage to find an area in the company where you have the power to save them money instead of spending it. Your companyís CEO/CFO will smile with joy when you walk into him or her and confess that you just saved the company thousands per month on their phone bill.

     I started overhauling our companyís telecom and leased data services and stumbled into a massive gold mine of savings. I first looked at how we were using the services and what types of services would best suite our means for the result we were trying to obtain. I found many services ordered many years prior that were being billed at much higher rates than were obtainable for better services today. Since most of the commitment contracts were out of date, it left me free to start shopping around for less expensive services with more flexibility. I then enlisted the help of our IS department and our IS Director / Network Administrator who helped me identify the services being used and the locations they belonged to. As I started looking further into our vast array of billed lease lines I found circuits and telephone numbers that were no longer being used and had not been used for many months, in some cases over a year. I found one instance where the phone company had upgraded a service from 56k dialup ISDN to a full T-1 private line and never turned down the old circuit. The phone company was responsible for the old circuit to be shut down since it was an administrative upgrade solicited by them. The change was never forwarded to the billing department. We continued to be charged $451.00 per month for months to come.  I immediately contacted the billing department of the major carrier and had these services turned off. After our first month of combing the phone bills I managed to disconnect many services and save our company over $2,000.00 per month in charges we were not using at all. Then I proceeded to look at down sizing our services and consolidating phone and data networks. Though it has been an on going project for many months we will start to realize the savings and these numbers could go as high as $60K the first year. I will say though, you must be persistent with the phone company or they will let your credit requests and disconnection notices go on for months without perseverance. Remember, your asking them to turn off services or change services that were making them large amounts of revenue with out having to provide any of there systems resources. This makes them uneasy and hard to work with. You will need to find a trustworthy phone company representative whom can help you with your changes and process your requests for new services. Remember, these sales people work on commission so have a game plan and a direction for your company before they get the chance to talk you into services you donít need. Hire a consultant if necessary, it will be well worth it in the end. They have experience dealing with the pushy phone company sales staff and can bring back to you only what your company requires.

     In the nut shell, most large companies can save enough on their telecom and data bills to pay for a full time on staff Engineer. This person will prove to be very valuable to the firm, not only as a telecom billing specialist but also an in house consultant repair technician and network engineer. However, the person you find to fill this role must have several years experience in the telecom industry and have dealt with major phone companies in the past. They should also have above basic knowledge of LAN, WAN and Networking criteria. They must also be very familiar with todayís T-1, T-3, IPVPN, DSL and other high speed network and telecom medium. The bottom line here is to keep all your communication costs in line and continue to monitor them monthly for changes. I urge our readers to take a few hours out of there day to really look over their telecom bills and contracts and see if there is room for improvement? I bet you can find a billing mistake right away!    

If you have any questions, or need help in determining your company's billing issues contact

Dell Crill at DellCrill@thenetworkadministrator.com 
Tele-Systems Engineer 

 




 


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