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Telecommunications can be costly and complex for the enterprise. As businesses grow ever more reliant on telecoms and network services, we take a look at steps that can be taken to meet enterprise needs without incurring unnecessary expenditure.

Keeping a global workforce connected is no mean feat. Sprawling telecoms estates spanning across Ethernet and VoIP, as well as fixed and mobile communications, fuel today’s mobile and global workforce; but managing this can prove time consuming, complex and costly for multinational organisations.

The complexity of using a mix of providers in multiple countries can leave enterprises struggling to maintain control of telecommunications; highlighted by a recent Gartner report predicting that telecoms spend typically forms between 10-20 per cent of overall business IT budgets.

Increasing amounts of information and data are being shared between and across businesses and richer, more data intensive media are entering the communications framework every day. This makes it all the more important for multinational organisations to deploy an effective Telecoms Expense Management (TEM) strategy to maintain visibility, control and management of telecommunications resources.

While TEM has traditionally been focused on the processing of bills, payment and the costs of individual items, companies have increasingly expanded into new regions; meaning more people communicating across more countries.

To control rapidly rising global communications costs, companies have managed expenses at a regional level, with local executive officers assigned targets to cap regional spend. The consequence is that usage policies have become disparate, restrictive and in some cases arbitrary – with executives opting for substandard services to curtail costs.

So, what steps can enterprises take to meet telecoms needs without overspending?

1. Consolidate and collaborate

Telecoms bills can be unpredictable, particularly for businesses growing and operating across multiple markets.

By establishing a detailed inventory of baseline services, enterprises can develop benchmarks for managing services and costs. One way of doing this is consolidating the number of suppliers and services used in different regions through centralised telecommunications management.

This enables organisations to not only apply global purchasing power, but helps to streamline the procurement process. As a result organisations can achieve economies of scale and better negotiate contracts that serve the business as a whole, rather than at the regional level.

2. Improve senior level visibility

Once suppliers and services are consolidated at a global level, enterprises can immediately benefit from greater visibility of the telecoms estate as a whole.

This is especially relevant to senior level decision makers, who, by gaining a clear financial view of the full telecoms estate, are able to develop informed communications strategies and longer-term budget forecasts.

3. Stay accountable

Billing, invoicing and payments need to accurately reflect the services delivered. It is therefore important to educate those responsible for costs to take personal accountability.

Only when budgets are regularly reviewed can an organisation properly manage and optimise the total telecommunications estate and turn it into a strategic asset.

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