How much are you currently paying for your voice and data services?

What services are included on your current bill?

When I ask this question to most customers, they shrug and say, ” Look at the size of this bill, I don’t even know where to begin.”

This is the result of prvider intimidation. They really don’t want you to know what you are paying for. Most customers may say, ” We’re paying 3 cents a minute.” The real question may be, how much is that 3 cents a minute really costing you?

Finding the answer to this question has now been simplified. Hutchinson Business Solutions offers a free review of your current voice and data charges. All we need is a copy of your latest bill. Trying to reconcile these questions may prove to be a challenge that your business may not be able to undertake because it is not your core business. However, most business owner’s can save money with a little research into which business telecom services are best for their situation.

A competent and informed business voice and data consultantis vital to assist your business make the right decision every time. Whether you are an existing business, a franchise, or a new business you need to ensure that your telecommunication needs are not only met, but met at a cost effective rate. There are many business telecommunications sales representatives out there who will only try to sell you the plan that gives them the highest commission. A wrong decision will see your business locked into expensive contracts for mobile, fixed line and data services that do not meet your needs.

Many businesses purchase telecommunications on the phone from an unknown sales person and are pressured to sign by way of a recorded verbal contract. Not surprisingly when this decision is pressured the end result is often less than ideal, it could be expensive, and it could cripple your business. The quality of the service provided and the quality of the telecommunications management team is imperative to your success.

Whilst many business decisions need to be made quickly, your telecommunications need to be right, they need to be suitable for your business now and throughout the consequential contracted period. You need to find a telecommunications consultant you can trust and ask them the following questions to ensure that they have the best interests of your organization at heart and are capable of supporting your telecommunications needs.

1. Can the business telecommunications consultant provide you with an independent analysis of your current bills against the plan they recommend, and other comparable plans in the marketplace?

Many times the customer has been “sold” a service which has not been quantified in an analytical manner. We know that communication costs are an ever increasing cost to doing business and we respect that it is difficult for any organisation to employ or train a staff member to work though this minefield.

The key to having complete understanding of your telephone bills and your telephone spending patterns is in the professional telephone bill analysis

2. Can the business telecommunications consultant provide you with testimonials from companies that are of comparable size to your organisation?

Testimonials are vital. You need to be sure that the business telecommunications consultant you are dealing with is from a reputable company with many happy clients.

3. Can the business telecommunications consultant arrange for the seamless transfer of your services should you need to change carriers?

Once your business telecommunications consultant has identified the business telecommunication rates and services that are best for you and these are accepted by your business can they arrange for the transfer of your telecommunication services to the contract selected by yourselves? Professional business telecommunications consultants should ensure that you are not inconvenienced.

4. What kind of ongoing support does your business telecommunications consultant provide?

A good business telecommunications consultant will not only sign you up to a long term contract, but will keep you advised of better deals available in the market place, and proactively and constantly negotiate better deals for you, the customer.

Hutchinson Business Solutions have been providing solutions to these problems for over 10 years. Our clients are saving from 15% to 40% by shopping the market and providing solutions that promote efficiencies and savings.

To learn more email george@hbsadvantage.com or call 856-857-1230

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Every company is scouring the books for potential cost savings these days. How about your telecom expenses. Do you think there is any potential for savings there? I’ll bet there is.

Stop burning money when you cut your telecom expenses.First thing you need to do is collect those monthly bills and take a close look. For starters, just pick last month’s bill. What are all those line items that you are paying for? You need to know what each item is and why you have it.

In a larger organization, you can easily drown in the detail of every long distance phone call. I’d suggest just a quick scan to see if what sticks out like a sore thumb. Are a few users running up bills that are ten times everybody else’s? Do they have jobs where you’d expect that?

Especially be on the outlook for services that were ordered a long time ago but aren’t being used anymore. Do you have a special FAX line with no FAX machine attached? Are there a dozen phone lines coming into a building that has only a hand full of employees? How about dedicated point to point lines that link to locations you don’t even own or lease anymore? Cell phones that are sitting in drawers unused but still activated? All of these things are candidates to cancel immediately.

Highlight the rest of your telecom line services and how much you are paying for them. Generally data lines have a fixed cost per month. Telephone lines have both a fixed cost and a per minute cost. You want to know the bandwidth and cost of each data line and the per minute rate and number of minutes for each voice line. Why? So you can comparison shop, of course.

Oh, but isn’t that a painful and horribly time consuming process? Not anymore. Hutchinson Business Solutions is an independent voice and data management consultant. We represent all the major providers presenting cost saving solutions for you business. We offer a free analysis of your existing charges and will provide a solution that will premote efficiency and provide savings available thru an array of competitive voice and data line and networking services. There may be several options available for each of your needs.

All we will need is a copy of you latest provider invoice. To learn more email george@hbsadvantage.com

Verizon is up to their same old tricks …

We have been getting feedback from our clients that they have been receiving telephone calls recently from Verizon representatives asking to review their bill and promising savings.

 First, they will ask for a copy of your bill so they can provide you with a comparison of your charges.  Here is the old “bait and switch”, the comparison is incomplete. The base line charge ($15.00 per line) is listed but what they don’t show you are more important — all the fees and taxes associated with those charges. All carriers must charge these fees and taxes. What initially looks like a savings is nothing but deception. To do an apples to apples comparison ask them to give you all the fees and taxes, as they would appear on your bill.

 Buyers beware …

They are also pushing an offer of unlimited calling. This is the hook. You need to drill down and look at each individual line and examine the calling patterns for each phone number you have and all past invoices. Most likely, some of these lines have minimal usage and you will end up paying more for this feature.

 We have seen several examples of inaccurate phone line count.  Verizon’s proposal only indicated 6 lines when in actuality the client had 10 lines. Obviously, the bottom line of the Verizon proposal was going to look much better to the client, until he receives his first bill.

 More than you expect …

If you receive a call promising savings from Verizon, don’t be fooled! Please give us a call and let HBS review the proposal for you. Otherwise, you may end up paying much more for your basic services based on a false proposal.

 Hutchinson Business Solutions is an independent voice and data solutions consultant. Thru our strategic partnership, we represent over 50 of the major providers currently providing these services for business. We provide a free review of your current services and will shop your account to our providers, presenting an overview of the current market opportunities available for your business.

 To learn more about finding savings in the deregulated voice and data market, contact george@hbsadvantage.com or call 856-857-1230.

Find out more information by visiting our website www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

3 Ways a Telecom Management System Will Save You Money
By Steve J Murphy

As reported in Ezine Articles

A telecom management system is first and foremost a money saver. If the telecom system cannot provide a clear reason for you to invest your time and money (but, you may not need to pay for the system, more on that later), then why would you pursue it as a strategy? The return on investment, both hard dollar costs and time and energy invested, needs to be clear before the investment is made.

So, where do telecom management systems generate their payback? Telecom systems certainly create efficiencies in terms of automating manual processes within the IT and finance organizations, but our focus is on the hard dollar savings telecom management systems are renown for delivering. These hard dollar savings are in the “indisputable” elements of the telecom program. The hard dollar savings create a solid business case that managers can take to their executives for concurrence to move forward. If the investment element of the telecom system is low or free, then the only expenses that need to be covered before generating a clear return to the company is the set-up effort.

Where do these returns come from? Hard dollar savings can only be generated buy lowering the telecom bills of the user. This lowering can occur one of 3 ways: 1) by reducing the rates that the existing carrier is bill, 2) by changing the services the user is paying for so service is maintain or even enhanced while costs go down, and 3) by introducing new carriers with superior value propositions. A comprehensive telecom management operation will accomplish these three things and more.

Reducing rates charged by an existing carrier can be challenging. After all, you are typically bound by a contract or tariff, reducing the flexibility that the carrier has in changing what is being charged. Getting rates changed is possible, but it requires work on your part and may also force a contract extension. If you are happy with your carrier, a contract extension may be tolerable. The telecom expense reductions seen in this scenario typically range less than 10%, Telecom carriers in a re-negotiation proceeding do not have a significant incentive to reduce rates, so some sort of loyalty discount is typically rolled out. The two remaining methods of reducing your telecom expenses, however, are preferred.

Changing carrier’s services is a very effective means of lowering current spending without interrupting or interfering with an existing telecommunications carrier contract. Evaluating the specific services at each of your locations, determining whether you can simply disconnect a service, consolidating service to more efficient facilities, or up-grading to a newer technology can yield savings of 10% to 20% if the network has not been optimized for quite some time.

The best savings are usually obtained by actually using new telecom service providers to replace existing services with much more competitively priced services. There are many quality service providers that supply similar quality to the larger carriers at rates in excess of 30% below what the larger telecom carriers charge. Strategies are available for every comfort level, so using an alternative carrier to lower your cost can be extremely beneficial.

Consider using a telecom management platform to tie these three strategies together. Platforms that detail telecom inventory, analyze billing trends, as well as provide flexible analytics are best suited to support cost containment and reduction initiatives.

Our perspective:

If left unchecked, voice and data cost can become a major business expense. As the industry continues to evole, the cost of voice and data have become more competitive while the increase efficiencies will take your business to a new level. For too long business has settled for the mediocresy of service provided by the major carriers.  Significant savings can be found by shopping your account.

Hutchinson Business Solutions provides corporate financial solutions. We are an independent broker who represent over 50 of the major voice and data providers.

Each business is unique. We will work with you to find the right provider that will allow you to increase your efficiencies and address your needs.

To learn more contact george@hbsadvantage.com

Reign in Your Telecom Spend

February 6, 2010

Telecom spending is in on the rise, which raises a critical question: are you in control? For most companies, the answer is no. Today’s changing competitive landscape and increased telecom cost management pressures mean that even the smartest companies must examine their spending to avoid overpaying millions of dollars each year in billing errors, unused services and vendor noncompliance.

Hutchinson Business Solutions (HBS)  give efficiency and visibility to the purchasing, billing and contracting process, ensuring you never overpay for telecom and take full advantage of every available telecom cost reduction opportunity. While billing, contracts and rate structures can be overwhelming for even the most experienced,  for over 10 years HBS’s visibility has given us the insight needed to give you telecom cost control, while increasing service levels from your vendors.

Whether you need guidance justifying a purchase or full-scale telecom auditing, HBS ensure you’re always paying fair market value and maintaining vendor relationships that are compliant with your contractual engagements.

Our clients are finding savings from 10% to 40%. Should you like to know more about your opportunity for savings and efficiencies email george@hbsadvantage.com

Tame Your Telecom Spending

November 2, 2009

As Reported by National Business Association

Copyright (c) 2009 Nermine Shaker
The Sygnal Group

Telecom spending can be a very large part of a company’s operating costs. Companies are always looking to keep their costs under control and telecom spending is one of the more difficult areas to manage.

Even with the increase in value and flexibility from new technology, companies have also seen an increase in their telecom costs. Mobile phones, remote network access and broadband solutions have simplified our workspaces, but have complicated the telecom accounting procedures.

Although you can’t just forgo your telecom services to cut your budget, you can curb and control them. Here are a few ways to tame your telecom budget.

Assess Your Inventory

What do you have? What do you use? Sometimes you don’t use what you have. Take an inventory of all your lines, services, hardware, mobile devices, and contracts. As you do this you may find that employees have left but you are still paying for their cell phones, or departments have closed and you are still paying for their phone lines.

Wireless devices can be a huge drain on your company pocketbook. Sometimes employees are given mobile devices that the company pays for and sometimes they use their own and are reimbursed. Organizing and setting up a company policy for wireless devices takes time but can save you money in the end.

Audit Your Bills

Check your contracts and see if the pricing in the contract matches the pricing on your bill. If not, you’ll need to apply for a credit for those overcharges. If you were promised a refund or rebate in your contract, make sure you received those. If you’ve done a complete inventory, matching bills to the inventory is a great way to identify problems.

Assess Your Usage

Now that you know what inventory you have and that you are paying correctly for that inventory, you need to look at your services with an eye to how your company is using them. Is your company growing or downsizing? Don’t just cut back to cut back. Look at the value the services provide to your company.

Employee personal usage of business telecom services should be addressed as well. If you provide perks like home broadband, business mobile devices and WiFi access, boundaries should be addressed with employees in a telecom company policy. Managers must take responsibility to enforce whatever controls the company puts in place.

If your business has multiple locations or if many of your employees work from home, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) might be a cheaper option. VoIP can connect offices and remote workers and could offer big savings.

Renegotiate Your Contracts

After you have reviewed your contracts and current usage, it might be time to renegotiate your contracts. If it’s been a while, you might be able to get a better deal. Or, after looking at what you have, you may decide to consolidate or cancel some services. Carriers would like to have all of your business, so in consolidating with one, you may get a higher discount. Shop around to make sure you are getting the best deal. Sometimes, it may be better for your business to use flat rates and per-user or per-month services. This will give you a predictable monthly payment.

If it is possible, you many want to consider adding a “business downturn” clause when you renegotiate your contracts. This clause will allow you to renegotiate your contract if there is a downturn in your business, such as having to close one of your multiple offices.

Automate Your Telecom Bill Paying Process

Many businesses use multiple carriers for all of their telecom services. These carriers each send a separate invoice and sometimes they charge extra for sending a paper invoice. Automating your telecom billing and payments can save you money, both in internal processing costs and in staffing resources.

When you automate your billing, you can still have the opportunity to review all your charges. You will have access a variety of reports that can break down the charges by service, circuit, department, location, or carrier.

Consider Hiring A Telecom Management Company

For smaller companies, the business owner is often in charge of telecom spending. As the size of the business increases, telecom responsibility moves from one person to a group or a department.

A telecom management company can help assess your spending and inventory, provide automated billing and can negotiate contracts for you. Since they are familiar with all the telecom carriers, they will be especially helpful in finding you a good rate and negotiating the contract. They can even apply for refunds on your behalf for services that were incorrectly billed.

Dealing with one telecom management person is always preferable than having to deal with 10 different service providers. And, when you work with a management professional, they will always be looking out for other ways to save money in your telecom spending, something you can’t always do.

It’s tough to tame your telecom spending. It takes time and effort. These days, cost cutting is a must and we are all trying to do more with less money. Getting organized, especially in the telecom area of your business will help you to see where you can cut costs and make sound telecom business decisions.

Our Perspective:

Telecom is a very important expense for any business. It represent the companies tie to the public, where service is king.  All things being equal, your ability to respond and meet your client’s needs ranks first. It all begins with communication.

How are decisions made to insure this success?

In speaking with many clients, there is intial hesitancy to examine this process. The fear of disruption lingers. What if we start having problems? Everything seems to work fine now?

But what is the real cost for the staus quo?

You might be surprised!

With recent advances in the telecom industry, savings and efficiencies can be found. We are working with a client right now that has 3 different providers in multiple locations. In reviewing their existing bills we have been able to consolidate these services to 1 provider and provide a savings of close to $50,000 per year.

Where was there existing provider? Why did they not reach out and reviw these options with their client?

Do not be complacient!

Your ability to be successful in today’s business climate relates directly to your abilty to be competitive, control cost and continue to service your clients.

Hutchinson Business Solutions has great success in this area. Contact us for a no cost review of your voice and data expenses. Email george@hbsadvantage.com

As reported in Midmarket CIO News

Tips for cutting costs on telecom spending

By Karen Guglielmo, Executive Editor
20 May 2009 | SearchCIO-Midmarket.com


Telecom spending accounts for more than half of all IT spending worldwide, according to Gartner Inc. That’s why it can be worth the time to scrutinize bills, identify areas for cost savings and shop around for new providers.

 

More IT spending resources
Five key best practices for reducing telecom expenses

IT spending and budgeting

So say consultants and CIOs with telecom experience, who offer the following tips for cutting telecom spending:

Assess your telecom inventory and audit your bills.

To effectively manage telecom spending, the first step is to find out exactly what you have and use, by analyzing your inventory and contracts. Take inventory on all lines and services; you may find that though your company has shut down offices or lost employees, you continue to be billed for those services.

“You always want to consider utilization,” said Michael McCauley, a Project Management Professional at TelPlus Communications Inc., a third-party telecom service provider. “You are paying for all these lines, but are you actually using them all?”

McCauley provides auditing and telecom expense management services to companies that want to outsource these tasks. He said that in working with customers and reviewing their telecom spending and bills, he finds that up to 30% of pricing reflected on bills is incorrect.

“Much of the time the discrepancy is something simple, like a contract pricing code not on the account,” McCauley said. Because of this, companies are often eligible for discounts and credits for overcharges.

At Mannatech Inc., a $333 million developer and provider of proprietary nutritional supplements, weight management products and skin-care solutions, CIO W. Jerome Oberlton conducts a quarterly audit on telecom billing and services in-house. “We actually do a match of our telecom inventory to our bills. It helps to manage costs,” he said.

Automate the telecom billing process.

Most companies use multiple carriers for their telecommunication services and thus receive multiple invoices. Automating telecom billing and payment can save companies money because most telecom carriers charge additional monthly fees for paper invoices. Automation can also lower the internal costs of processing each invoice and free up staffing resources in IT and accounting.

Who’s in charge of telecom expense management?
Who manages spending on telecommunication services differs depending on the company’s need, size and budget. For instance, a global IT director is responsible for managing telecom spending at Mannatech Inc., a developer and provider of proprietary nutritional supplements, weight management products and skin care solutions. This person works for IT but also coordinates closely with the billing specialists in accounting. 

David Williams, vice president of product management and marketing at Covad Communications, said he sees the same type of people in charge of telecom spending for his customers.

“At smaller companies, it’s often the business owner [in charge of telecom spending],” Williams said. “As the size of the company increases, the responsibility shifts to the IT department, starting at the VP level and moving down to the director or manager level, depending on the size of company.”

Other companies outsource their telecom expense management to service providers like TelPlus Communications, which offers multiple telecom expense management services. –K.G.

Automated billing still gives you the opportunity to review your charges, through either a Web portal where you can access inventory and pricing information or through monthly management reports that break down charges by service/circuit type, location, carrier, etc.

Midmarket companies can either set up their own automated telecom billing process and system, or they can partner with a service provider for it.

Consider hiring a third party to manage your spending and contracts.

Third-party telecom providers like TelPlus Communications can help assess spending, automate billing and negotiate contracts on behalf of the customer. These service providers are especially helpful in contract negotiations because they’re already familiar with the telecom carriers, their offerings and where they’re most flexible for cutting costs.

Telecom service providers give companies a “one throat to choke” option for billing, according to McCauley. “Whether you’re working with 20 or 100 telecom companies, you just have one call to make,” he said. “All of your inventory is in one place, and there’s one project manager to call. That alone is a huge time and money saver.”

Renegotiate contracts.

In this economy, it’s a buyer’s market. Customers can demand the services they want or move to another vendor. So this is the right time to closely review your telecom contracts and renegotiate if needed.

Telecom carriers want all of your business, not just a piece of it, according to McCauley. And the benefits they offer for getting all of your business are higher discounts.

For instance if you have 50% of your business with AT&T and 50% with Verizon, you can include a clause in a renegotiated contract with AT&T saying that if you give the company 90% of your business, you receive a certain rate and higher discounts. This is a win-win for both you and AT&T. The telecom carrier gets your committed business and you get better service and rates.

“We’ve even seen some cases where small-to-medium businesses cancel contracts with the Bells and absorb the cancellation penalties because the savings they get with us more than offsets the switching costs,” said David Williams, vice president of product management and marketing at Covad Communications Group Inc., a national provider of integrated voice and data communications.

Another consideration in renegotiating your contracts is the addition of a “business downturn” clause. This allows the customer to renegotiate the terms of the contract if there is a downturn in its business — such as losing a major client or closing multiple offices.

Don’t overpay for wireless — shop around and consider new converged network technologies.

Wireless is a huge area of misuse and a big area for savings.

“Wireless can be a huge money pit,” McCauley said. “Customers are often put on incorrect plans and are overpaying for services.”

We actually
do a match of our telecom inventory to our bills. It helps to manage costs.

W. Jerome Oberlton
CIO, Mannatech Inc.

There are many ways to save with telecom wireless and data services. One is to move to other types of data networks or new technologies, such as Multiprotocol Label Switching, which can typically carry data and voice traffic at lower costs, or Session Initiation Protocol, which customers can employ to consolidate local voice, long distance and data services onto one network.

Oberlton recently renegotiated his mobile contracts. He switched vendors to gain cost savings.

“By moving from one vendor to another, we got rid of some servers on-site,” he said. “This helped get costs down and receive more volume discounts.”

Oberlton did caution others, however, to beware of penalty clauses for switching vendors, which some telecom wireless carriers are including in contracts. These clauses come with steep fees and should be addressed early in the contract negotiation process, he said.

Our Perspective:

When was the last time you took the time to review your current telecom cost and provider? We find that many companies fail to look at these cost. They know what their monthly cost are and they budget that cost for the future.

Don’t get caught up in this fallacy. There are great opportunity for savings by shopping your current cost. Our clients are finding from 15% upto 40% savings. What would this mean for your company?

Would you like to know more? Call us @ 856-857-1230 or email us and ask about our free evaluation george@hbsadvantage.com