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How to conduct a telecom service inventory.

An underlying theme in any business is keeping costs at a minimum in order to spur growth and increase the bottom line. As companies attempt to streamline their costs, an area that frequently gets overlooked is telecommunications.

This critical function of an organization is often times plagued with errors and inefficiencies, especially if it has not been given the proper attention. Problems include not knowing what services you have, who is providing the service, how much you’re paying, and is it too much. Recognizing whether or not you have a problem is a difficult task.

However, there is a tool that companies can take advantage of so they can fully understand their current telecommunications environment.

Just as a retail store takes an inventory of what products are on their store shelves, companies need to do an inventory of their telecommunication services. Conducting what is called a telecom service inventory enables you to proactively manage your telecom environment so you know where every penny is going and the value you’re receiving in return.

It’s very easy for unnecessary services to creep into your telecommunications mix, which in most instances go unused or provide little value. A telecom service inventory gives you a 360-degree view so you can accurately gauge your current situation, determine whether service changes need to be made, and if it’s feasible to reduce costs.

What does a telecom service inventory entail? Well, it is essentially an analysis of where a company’s telecommunications infrastructure is today and what modifications can be made to improve the organization tomorrow. There are a number of items that should be covered in a telecom service inventory by a leading telecommunications provider to uncover errors or inefficiencies. Below are a few key components.

* Location inventory: an analysis of voice, data, and video services by location

* Line inventory: a complete inventory of all voice lines

* Cost distribution by service type: cost breakdown by voice, wireless, and data services

* Vendor distribution: cost breakdown by telecommunications vendor or carrier

* Rate plan report: identification of each rate plan by usage per user

* Contract plan: an inventory of service pricing versus invoice pricing to determine accuracy

* Wireless report: a breakdown of wireless users by number

The end result of gathering this information is to help those individuals responsible for their company’s telecom environment make educated decisions about what they actually need.

Additionally, the data enables them to more effectively manage adds, moves, or changes to equipment and services as their company expands. It basically puts users in control of their services, which properly managed can reduce costs and save significant amounts of money.

Worrying about whether you’re being billed correctly or utilizing your system to full capacity will go away once a company engages a telecommunications provider that can perform a Telecom Service Inventory.

Once it’s completed, you will know what services you’re paying for, their true costs, and the value they’re delivering to your organization. In order to survive in today’s business environment, you must find ways to increase profitability, improve productivity, and obtain a competitive advantage. A telecom service inventory provides you with some additional help to achieve this objective.

Marc Agar is president and CEO of CA Communications, a Minneapolis-based provider of telecommunications, computer hardware, software, service, and support.

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