Validate Your Expenses

By John Shea  |  Posted 2009-08-13 Print this article Print

No. 3: Validate your expenses

Ideally, your telecom expenses should be checked against either current employee lists or locations. There are too many situations where companies continued to pay for wireless devices belonging to former employees or for locations that are closed. Look at the high-impact areas first on the invoices, such as the most expensive circuits, long and expensive calls, "high talker" wireless users and zero-usage devices.

For example, one Fortune 1000 retailer found they had over 50 devices with no usage, but monthly charges of close to $40 each. Upon investigation, it turned out that the charges stemmed from phones procured for a department that did not need them. No one cancelled the phones and they were billed monthly for over a year before the discovery, which totaled over $26,000 in wasted dollars.

No. 4: Negotiate contracts better and monitor expiration dates

Knowing what telecom assets you own and leveraging the information for volume discounting is only half the battle. The other half comes from smart negotiation tactics and an awareness of when contracts are up for renewal. Pay attention to the fine print for auto-renewal clauses, which are easily removable but often overlooked.

For example, a local store of a large retail chain contracted circuits from a provider without notifying IT, and filed the paper contract away in a desk. No one was tracking the contract expiration date and it wasn't until it resulted in a $23,000 per month overage on the invoice that the contract was renegotiated and tracked.

There are many tools and services available just to help with contract negotiation with service providers. Take advantage of technology and "reverse-auctions" where carriers can bid for your business in an online session. Better negotiation of contracts can produce significant savings, often in the millions, depending on telecom spend.

John Shea is Chief Marketing Officer at Rivermine. John brings over 17 years of high technology experience to Rivermine. Prior to Rivermine, John served as vice president of product marketing, management and corporate strategy for Nuance. John joined Nuance during its early stages in 1998 and helped ramp the company from four customers to over 1,000 during his six-year tenure. He was also heavily involved in Nuance's initial public offering, which resulted in a market valuation of over $5 billion. Earlier in his career, John was a member of the initial Intel Pentium Processor marketing team that helped ramp product shipments from zero to over 10 million units per quarter in two years. He has also held marketing and technical positions at OnLive Technologies and Booz, Allen & Hamilton. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a Master's degree in Business Administration and Management from NorthWestern's Kellogg Graduate School of Management. He can be reached at

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