When you take your car in for service, do you typically let them do any work that they see fit without your authorization? Chances are, you ensure that they give you a call first with a price before they start rebuilding your transmission. And, when you get that final invoice, you carefully inspect it to make sure everything is correct.
However, do you know the last time you looked at your business’ telecom invoice? Chances are your bill gets paid every month by Accounting, and you don’t even take a look at what services you are getting or think about why it costs so much. It’s important to understand your telecom options so that you can get the most out of your communication, reduce business’ expenses, and don’t over-spend on unneeded services, which ultimately helps your bottom line.
Here are a few factors to consider when analyzing telecom options:
1. Shop Around
Just as there are many mechanics and auto shops where you could service your car, there are many carriers out there today from which to choose, including Comcast, Verizon, Allied, Level 3, Windstream, CenturyLink, AT&T, and XO. Each carrier offers a variety of different solutions and, in order to choose wisely, you need to understand what objectives your business is trying to meet with its telecom solution. Do you need Internet, WAN connectivity, voice-over IP (VoIP)? Are you looking for solutions to assist with audio, video, and web conferencing? You should also consider your company’s preferences and needs with regards to downtime, uptime, and redundancy to ensure the solution and carrier options you select fit your business’ needs.
2. Negotiate Your Contract
Once you decide on a carrier and what services your business requires, it’s important to take a close look at all the elements of the contract, especially the terms and conditions (T&C) and service level agreements (SLA). Just as you should understand the work being performed on your car before paying for it, you should have a clear understanding of the expectations, responsibilities, and metrics of the carrier, such as network availability, latency, and repair time. You should also analyze all the fees outlined in the contract, such as hardware configuration and inside wiring fees. If you come across something in the contract that does not make sense or that you do not think you need, do not hesitate to ask questions. You may find it’s something that your business will not utilize, and removing the service could save you in the long run.
3. Understand Support Options
Ongoing support is essential, from the initial solution design through to the implementation process and utilization. With the right solutions designed to fit your specific environment and management by an experienced ISP, you can focus your energy on managing your business. A couple things to also consider with you solution is scalability and determine; for example, if the need arises, how much does a bandwidth upgrade or additional support cost? As your business grows, you will want to ensure that your carrier solution can grow with you and continually fit your needs.
Managing and understanding your telecom bill and service may be a tedious task, especially when you are trying to run a successful business. If, like many, you do not have time to contact all carriers and compare their proposals, you may want to consider utilizing a telecom consultant. Telecom consultants typically have access to over 40 carriers, and know which carriers perform best with each technology and business requirement. They also have contacts and partnerships they know and trust that can help ensure your business receives the right price. From discovering the best carrier and solution that aligns with your business’ objectives to negotiating the best pricing, telecom consultants can do the heavy lifting for you and help save you money in the long run. Interested in learning more about telecom and how the right solution can lead to cost-savings for your business? Contact us today for an assessment of your current telecom state and to discover if your telecom is costing you too much.