The late Dick Kuehn was a telecom consultant and longtime columnist for Business Communications Review magazine, the (also late) industry journal from which both Enterprise Connect and No Jitter grew. Dick was fairly legendary, the most feared consultant in the industry—feared by carrier and vendor salespeople who knew that when Dick walked into the conference room and sat across the table from them for a negotiation, their ability to make their quarterly numbers had just taken a serious hit.
Dick’s best story was about the audit he did for a company with dozens of offices across the nation. He identified the Sacramento office as a source of potential savings.
We don’t have a Sacramento office, Dick was told. One phone call later, the management team learned that they did, in fact, have such an office. Some time after that, Dick received a phone call from the manager of the Sacramento office, furious that his existence had been revealed to the corporate bean-counters.
You can’t please everybody. But one way to please a lot of people, including yourself, is to do some old-fashioned cost management within your communications operation. And while it’s not as sexy as technology for technology’s sake, the savings it can produce might be able to fund some cool new technology initiatives.
We’ve got a fantastic cost management article on No Jitter this week, from a consultant who may be channeling our old friend Dick. In his post, “Telecom Expenses Ballooning? Get Your Pin Ready,” Tim Proctor of Delta Consulting Group has a list of ideas and best practices that you can use to save money. And as with Dick’s story about the mystery Sacramento office, a lot of Tim’s advice revolves around institutional memory, documentation, and other factors that remain relevant regardless of the technology or service for which you’re paying. It’s about dealing with organizational change, and about understanding whether your users are actually doing what you think they’re doing—because your procurement of products and services is supposed to reflect that reality, as opposed to assumptions that may be outdated.
We’ve also got a session at Enterprise Connect Orlando that tackles these issues. Another experienced and savvy consultant, Marty Parker, is presenting a session entitled, “Harvesting PBX Budgets to Fund the Future: Make the Money Follow Your Priorities.” Marty will have practical advice on where to look for savings that reflect the changes in how your enterprise really uses communications, and how you can repurpose those savings to make new, more modern investments.
We’re in a time of major technology transition, which means we all have to learn about how this new stuff works, and then make judgments about how relevant it is to our individual situations, in both the near and longer term. That means not only understanding how the technology functions, but how people use it to do their jobs—or how they could use it if given the opportunity and incentive. Then it’s about how to give them the opportunity and incentive.
With all of that going on, auditing bills from service providers and similar work can seem prosaic. But given the amount of change, this type of cost management is arguably more important than ever, because it’s more likely than ever that you’re paying for services that no one uses any more, while not investing in technology that might give you an edge.
You may not have an office in Sacramento. Then again, are you sure?
I hope you can join us for Marty’s session and the rest of the incredible Enterprise Connect program. We just announced Rany Ng, director of product management at Google, as our fourth keynoter, with one more keynote announcement coming next week that I’m incredibly excited about and can’t wait to share. There’s tons of great stuff on the program, so I hope you’ll check it out, and can join us in Orlando the week of March 18.