Go with the flow

Do you have visibility of your telecommunications flow?

Read time 4min 50sec

Private and public organisations use multiple telecommunication services vendors, thousands of devices, and have services dispersed in SA and around the world. For most government and private enterprises in South Africa, fixed and mobile communications services are among the highest expenses - they often account for as much as 20% of their IT spending.

Communication costs form a substantial portion of expenses - from employees' mobile phone accounts to money spent with carriers and service providers. More often than not, businesses are unaware of the full extent of these costs, and are unable to allocate them to appropriate cost centres.

Communication costs include the money employees spend on mobile calls, data connections and fixed-line bills. These costs are often varied and numerous. Businesses either struggle to understand the full extent of their spend, or find it too expensive and time-consuming to allocate expenses to the correct cost centres.

Then there are the various service providers and ever-changing contracts and payment options. Which type of arrangement is best for which level of employee? What would the cost implications be of changing from one service provider or contract type to another? The bottom line is: how to ensure the right device is in the right hands, under the right plans and at the right price?

There is a need to implement solutions that will save companies time and money, while helping them manage their networks and bandwidth strategically.

Mobility is also putting CIOs under pressure to increase productivity and business agility by enabling a broader range of communications in the organisation. But, CIOs also need to keep device management, cost, support, maintenance and compliance in mind for a growing range of mobile devices connected via voice and data networks.

The full picture

Companies lack complete, company-wide data on some of the most basic information - including network inventory, service utilisation and trends, and total spend.

When organisations put in place the appropriate telecommunications expense management (TEM) practices and controls, this might lead to improved network asset performance not only on a one-time basis, but on a compounding basis.

Companies lack complete, company-wide data on some of the most basic information.

As a result, the ongoing landline and mobile network budget will be reduced. There are also no processes in place to manage communications spending because of resource and funding constraints. The need to streamline operations - either for competitive or budgetary purposes - places additional pressure on CIOs to contain and account for their spend. Organisations are continually searching for ways of cutting back without adversely affecting productivity or inhibiting business agility.

Companies can aggressively reduce costs and implement processes to tighten controls over operations on a going-forward basis. This can be done by implementing a scalable, low lifetime TCO SaaS-based TEM solution across both landline and mobile services. Implementing TEM would enable informed decisions on cost management by gaining visibility of the full picture of the organisation's telecommunications liability. It would also reduce telecom expenses by proactively capturing, disputing and eliminating incorrect invoice charges. Companies can also enforce contract compliance and reduce or eliminate off-contract purchasing of telecom assets.

Managing finances

If this solution is implemented successfully, and key ongoing managerial, financial and IT business processes are modified, businesses can save on the overall annual telecom budget.

Some of the benefits include:

* Enforcing expense management policies by tracking data purchases and downloads;
* Reducing operational costs by streamlining invoice processing and accounts payable processes, eliminating redundant tasks and effort;
* Using on-demand and scheduled reporting to provide visibility and accountability; accesses data analysis tools to identify savings, optimisation opportunities and areas for strategic sourcing;
* Mapping invoice charges to the cost allocation hierarchy defined by each client;
* Cost allocation;
* Identification of saving opportunities and tools to track dispute status;
* Dispute management;
* An inventory of accounts, points of service of lines as billed by services providers;
* Inventory management;
* Reducing abuse and fraud, and pinpointing wastage and inefficiencies to gain considerable reductions in communication costs;
* Developing more cost-effective procurement strategies by understanding the extent and distribution of communication spend; and
* Streamlining IT operations and reducing IT costs by using a 100% Web-based application, no capital investment needed.

With the challenges caused by today's complex communications environment in mind, the use of telecom expense management will simplify the management of fixed-line and mobile expenses. Companies will have a single view and full control over its communication costs across all local and international sites and cost centres, devices and service providers. With a complete picture of their communications spend, it's easy to make informed decisions and support the organisation's strategic objectives. This leads to more effective cost control.

Consolidated views across the entire infrastructure, including all fixed-line and mobile voice and data services, plus mobile device management services, create an all-encompassing 'true cost' per user and device type. This will also help reduce or eliminate abuse and fraud.

Organisations can also gain insight into areas of the business where the company may be over-subscribed or under-utilising infrastructure, as well pinpoint wastage and inefficiencies. They can analyse contract compliance, validate invoice contents and create, track and manage invoice disputes. This, in turn, will help them ensure maximum commitment and service delivery from all their vendors and service providers.

Lubabalo Dyantyi

Senior GM, Public Sector for Dimension Data Middle East and Africa.

Lubabalo Dyantyi is senior GM, Public Sector for Dimension Data Middle East and Africa. He was appointed to this role in March 2011 and oversees all aspects of operations and strategy, providing leadership and development to the Public Sector team, managing performance against targets and budgets. He has a proven track record of delivering growth and business results and understands both the public sector organisations and bodies in the market and region. Dyantyi joined Dimension Data in 2003 as a sales graduate from Rhodes University, and has held numerous positions within the group. He has grown into various sales roles within the business, from an account manager role developing and managing key strategic clients for Dimension Data, to various sales management roles, and now the GM role for a key growth sector in the business. His first role in the company was as a communications and public relations executive, driving increased awareness of Dimension Data in the key media, and positioning DD as a leading IT services provider in the market. He then moved on to join Customer Interactive Solutions (CIS), and thereafter, the Network Integration line of business as an account executive, consistently over-achieving year-on-year in both roles. Dyantyi was then appointed sales manager for Public Sector within the Network Integration team, in 2008, and was instrumental in growing the Public Sector portfolio within Network Integration. He then moved on to the role of sales manager of the Converged Communications line of business the same year. In 2009, Dyantyi was appointed GM responsible for the City of Johannesburg (COJ) contract. In this role he was responsible for driving the end-to-end operations with the COJ engagements, and the central point of contact for all issues relating to the City of Johannesburg. During this role, he successfully renewed the COJ outsource contract, the largest in Dimension Data public sector vertical to date. Dyantyi graduated from Rhodes University with a BCom degree in economics and management finance. He also completed a Management Development Programme with Stellenbosch University.

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