3 of the Most Overlooked Audits
Product Manager – Telecom Billing/Data Mapping
Lisa Paterson works for Visage as a Product Manager focused on Wireless Billing and Data Mapping. Her years as an industry insider make her the go-to resource for all things billing. Lisa came to Visage from a major wireless carrier, and before that managed a telecom budget of over $100 million. This week, Lisa helps us with overlooked wireless audits based on real data she sees every month in MobilityCentral.
OVERLOOKED AUDIT #1: DISCOUNTS AND SPIFFS
The first audit focuses on carrier discounts and spiffs. Discounts and spiffs fall into three main categories:
- Percent discount: A company may be able to negotiate anywhere from a 5% to 25% discount from the monthly costs for each business line of service.
- Free services: Free services such as insurance, reduced international dialing, or text messaging may be available during contract negotiations.
- Early termination fee (ETF) waivers: Some portion of early termination fees may be waived during line deactivation – usually 10% of total annual line volume can have ETFs waived.
Many companies miss out on kick-backs from the carrier because they don’t know to ask for them. Companies most at risk of missing out on negotiated discounts and carrier spiffs are those without a dedicated account representative. Businesses with as few as 10 lines with a carrier are often still eligible for these benefits—you just have to ask first.
Basic Audit To verify you’re getting your discounts, check the Plans and Features Summary section of MobilityCentral. For each category of plan and feature you can see the monthly recurring charges (MRC) and the MRC Net, or monthly recurring charges after discounts. If you see the MRC and MRC Net are the same for a plan or feature, no discount has been applied. Drill into any of these categories to compare the line-by-line MRC, Discount, and MRC Net fields to make sure you’re getting the discounts you negotiated. Keep in mind, ETF waivers are often applied at the account level, so you may need to go to Bill Details to finish this part of the audit.
Advanced Audit Plans and Features Audit is a powerful tool in ensuring negotiated discounts are applied to each plan and feature. It takes a little bit of effort, but is well worth it. Within the Plan or Feature Catalog, simply edit your entries to match the detail from your contracted rates as provided by the carrier. If you can’t find your contract, ask your representative and they’ll get you a copy. Once your rates are entered, you only need to update new entries each month. In the Plans/Features section of MobilityCentral, you’ll find Audit views in the drop-down box at the top of the page. These views help you find gaps in what you expect to pay and what the carrier is billing. These views make queuing up disputes with the carriers very easy. Your Customer Success Manager can help you get started with this powerful feature.
OVERLOOKED AUDIT #2: DATA USAGE
This audit is important on two fronts. First, excessive data usage can be an indication of malicious software abusing a company-owned device. Whether it’s a virus, malware, or general misuse of company resources (streaming movies, for example), finding high data users and turning off their access could have repercussions greater than saving some money. On that topic, however, is the second reason to audit data usage – consistently high data usage eventually becomes part of the planned data usage for the company. If your top 5 users didn’t exist, how much less data would you need to buy to keep the company going?
This audit is simple: click the Spend option on the left-navigation bar. Right in the middle of the page are your top 5 data users, with names and hyperlinked mobile numbers. There’s also a Data Usage view in the Bill Details section of MobilityCentral where you can see even more information about all data users, including average and highest usage for the last three months (this can easily be customized to any number of months in Settings), overages costs, and device types. Make sure to email your highest users and copy their managers for maximum effectiveness.
OVERLOOKED AUDIT #3: INTERNATIONAL PLANS AND FEATURES
The easiest part of this audit looks for unused international plans and features that have a monthly recurring charge. These metrics are surfaced on the Spend section of MobilityCentral and are easy to evaluate. If a plan or feature hasn’t been used in several months, it should probably be turned off. Be sure to notify the user that their international plan or feature is being removed. The more advanced audit looks at the kinds of international plans and features you’re using. For example, all the new international features from AT&T and Verizon have the word “PASS” Or ‘Int’l Travel’ in the name. If your Plans/Features Summary shows old international features, it may be time to update your inventory. Finally, if you’re a Concur Travel customer and not using International Travel Roaming Alerts, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to only have international plans and features on a line of service for exactly the duration of the trip.