Over the last few years, two industry leaders -- AT&T and Verizon -- have expanded their wireline offerings far beyond traditional local and long distance phone service to include a broad portfolio of telecom solutions and consultative services.
That's a good thing for enterprises that want to outsource non-core functions like telecom, but it comes with cost risks -- these non-traditional services, ranging from cloud services and VoIP to managed security -- are high-margin for the carriers. However, with the right due diligence, they can become a savings opportunity for your business.
To make sure you're paying a fair market price, do the following:
- Have an accurate inventory of your requirements and consumption. Conduct a company-wide inventory of telecom assets, usage and spending to understand what you're currently paying for (and if you should be).
- Eliminate service overbilling. Once you understand your usage profile, review areas where you may be paying for more service than you need. Do you really need to buy a T1 port?
- Source competitively. Don't rush the carrier sourcing process. AT&T and Verizon are notorious for creating complex service packages and pricing that make it difficult to compare against the competition. Creating a level playing field and comparing services "apples to apples" requires some specialized expertise -- but it will be well worth the effort.
- Don't commit full spend to a single carrier. It's hard to retain leverage in a carrier-customer relationship when working with a single provider. By keeping two or more carriers in the mix, you can keep all carriers motivated to provide pricing, discounts and incentives.
- Confirm that you're paying fair market value. Many companies are not able to verify whether they're paying a fair price for wireline services. If you're not sure, bring in outside pricing expertise.
-- Jeff Muscarella, EVP of IT, NPI