An interview with Tim Salik, Expense Reduction Analysts Telecommunication’s specialist. Tim has indicated that major developments are expected in the telecommunications area in the next five years and that organisations should be prepared for the change.


What would you say are the biggest risks for organisations in the telecommunications arena at present?

I believe that companies are complacent when it comes to assessing the competence of their telco account managers that are assigned by networks to provide support & advise. Account managers generally have about 100- 150 clients, all of whom are very different, and it would be naïve to expect that they are devoted to any one account.

Most telco companies expect their account managers to maintain & increase the revenue from their clients, not to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. They will personalise their service to their clients and keep billing on an even keel wherever possible. IT managers should be ensuring they are not lulled into buying the newest products which are the flavour of the month if they are not a good fit for their needs.

Organisations need to ensure that anyone handling their telco accounts has KPIs to reduce costs & introduce efficiencies that match the company’s future growth strategies. The danger of not auditing the work of the Account Manager that is assigned to the networks is too expensive.


What do you mean by “decluttering your telco plan”?

Organisations should constantly be

  • reviewing their needs and usage in International calling costs
  • reviewing their needs and usage in handset/hardware costs
  • reviewing their needs and usage in data consumption & charges
  • reviewing their 3-5-years plan and the integration of telecommunications in the organisational plan
  • reviewing current products & their suitability for the organisation’s primary goals

Network assigned account managers have entirely different goals given to them as compared to what the client’s business objectives are.

Expense Reduction Analysts can advise on structure and inclusions, and advise on the current products on an ongoing basis which will be the best fit and which will reduce costs & maintain/improve operational efficiencies.

Expense Reduction Analysts can also do an audit to review historical pricing. In the past, we have found frequent instances of incorrect billing which we have recovered for our clients. We would also review the presence of unused products/lines which are still attracting charges.


Where are the opportunities for companies to reduce their costs?

I would suggest companies review their technology and costs with the help of an independent advisor such as ERA.

Where complacency is the enemy of cost reduction, being proactive is the best weapon in the fight against rising costs.

Challenge the telco account manager to help you achieve best practice and lower costs! All networks have cheap plans – do some research to see if any would be appropriate for your business.


What do you see happening in the telecommunications industry over the next five years?

The key areas which are developing rapidly, are data and the convergence of voice, along with value-added services in the shape of AI enhanced apps. Naturally, NBN is the hot topic at the moment, but with 5G also coming online, it is essential for companies to ensure that they optimise their usage and align the products to their organisational plan – the cost difference, flexibility and efficiencies will be massive.

Companies should be using experts to work with them in preparing for future technologies because they are across new developments. We believe that data is the infrastructure of the future. An example is how the IOT (Internet of Things) will affect all of us.


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