There has never been a better time to be a consultant who audits and manages technology expenses like telecom, mobility, and cloud.
Increasing technology complexity and the need for enterprises to generate cost savings in an uncertain economic environment has generated explosive demand for consultants and consulting firms with expertise in auditing telecommunications costs. Many enterprises are adding services to support new Work from Home (WFH) initiatives. In this environment, CFO’s are hungry for every dollar savings they can find.
But with this opportunity, consultants face several “back-office” business challenges.
You need to “onboard” customers’ expense data faster.
Enterprises never have their telecom expense data ready to be audited. Not only is the data itself often hard to find, it usually exists in the form of telecom carrier invoices that come in different formats and media (e.g. PDF, web-based, EDI, paper). Thus, when a consultant starts a new telecom audit, it usually requires a laborious process of finding, formatting, consolidating, and organizing this data.
You need to shorten the time needed to analyze that data and make money-saving recommendations.
Once the data is available, you need flexible reporting and auditing tools to accelerate analyzing the expense data. If you rely on spreadsheets and manual analysis you are essentially recreating the wheel each time. This approach lengthens the time it takes to analyze data and make recommendations.
You need to deliver services in a way that builds a profitable business relationship with customers that last long after the initial telecom audit is over.
The best approach is to leverage the data and process you have, not just for the initial audit, but also for follow up services or check-ups. Consultants who often rely on spreadsheets as their database, BI tool, dashboard, and analysis engine, will be able to share data for the audit, but is less efficient for future services based on the audit data. You will quickly outgrow spreadsheets as the number of customers grows. This approach is good to get started but hardly the way to scale a consulting business.
Not Just Efficiency – Bottom Line Benefits
If telecom expense and audit consultants optimize these back office challenges, they not only improve efficiency and productivity, they also can achieve tangible cash flow and revenue impacts.
#1 – Accelerated revenue collection. A paper-driven, manually intensive telecom audit that relies on spreadsheets and data entry is not just inefficient – it’s slow. And the more time it takes for a telecom audit to generate findings for a client, the longer it takes to collect client billings. By automating some of the most time-consuming aspects of the audit, it can typically reduce a consultant’s revenue collection cycle by at least 25%-40%.
#2 – New revenue streams. Wouldn’t it be great if every one-time telecom audit could lead to an on-going stream of revenue through a quarterly or six-month “audit check-up”? With a streamlined and more automated audit process, consultants can cost-effectively offer clients this type of service, thereby increasing lifetime customer value.
#3 – From Consultant to “Trusted Advisor”. Telecom expense auditing is a competitive business, so what every consultant aims for is to become their client’s trusted advisor – someone they go to solve important issues. What better way to make that transition and show real value to clients by providing them actionable data and visibility into their telecom expenses? Consultants can help their clients spot issues and opportunities for cost reduction proactively, but they can also provide more strategic recommendations on migrating to new services or offer advice on network transformation initiatives. This can result in additional consulting fees or even commission fees for new services.
From Spreadsheets to Scalability
Now is a great time to “graduate” from manual processes and spreadsheets to a solution designed for telecom expense consultants. Whether you develop your own homegrown solution or a commercial platform, there are several key features and capabilities that are essential to success:
Analyzing telecom invoices is one of the most important – but often painful — parts of any telecom audit. Telecom carrier invoices must be converted and consolidated from PDF, EDI, CABs, etc. into a single easy-to-understand, easy-to-analyze consolidated format. It also needs to validate telecom carrier invoices for completeness and match between summary and detail charge data, and it is continually updated to reflect changes in telecom carrier invoice data fields and formats.
You can’t audit an enterprise’s telecom expenses if you don’t know what they are paying for and if they really need it. The platform must have an independent and comprehensive network inventory module that:
- Provides a 360° degree view of network elements, services, sites, and hardware
- Provides a complete view of the costs associated with telecom network inventory;
- Quickly flag cost reduction opportunities by reconciling inventory and invoice mismatches
Dashboards, Reporting, and Business Intelligence
Enterprises want actionable data – and they value partners who can provide it to them. Therefore, your platform needs to have a flexible and easy to use reporting engine that can deliver:
- Pre-configured reports, visualizations, and dashboards
- Easily created custom reports
- Auto-scheduled delivery of reports and visualizations
- The ability to Integrate with leading BI applications and to “private label” the platform as a new, revenue-generating product.
One example of a commercially available platform that includes these capabilities – and more — is gpxcloud™, Cloud Age Solutions’ SaaS platform. It reflects all that we have learned from decades of experience and is built on a highly scalable “cloud native” software architecture. But most importantly, it has capabilities that make doing audits easier and faster, and help consultants generate new revenue streams.
Want to learn more about gpxcloud? Check out our blog posts and these additional resources.