Gaining Control of Enterprise Telecom Estates: What the C-Suite Needs to Know

By: Todd Rowan

Return on assets is a key focus of the C-suite. Yet one area often overlooked in this regard is the massive investment made in telecom estates. For multinational corporations in particular, the depth and breadth of these assets may literally span the globe.

And with companies growing ever more reliant on their telecoms and network services – whether empowering a mobile workforce, delivering business critical applications or simply communicating with clients and colleagues – telecoms services are and will always be a business critical resource.

For some multinational companies (MNCs), however, managing this telecoms estate can prove extremely costly, time-consuming and complex – in some cases amounting to a company’s second- or third-largest area of annual spend. Gartner recently predicted that telecoms spend typically accounts for between 10 and 20 per cent of companies’ total IT budgets. Coupled with more person-to-person communication using richer and more data-intensive media – telecommunication costs will continue to rise and absorb increasing amounts of organizations’ budgets.

Too frequently, the telecom estate is seen solely as a cost center.  After all, handsets, landlines, tablets, VPNs – even mobile applications – have hard costs attached to the device or service. Running vast telecoms estates encompass everything from VoIP and Ethernet to landlines and mobile communications - ultimately anything within a business that can be used to communicate. And given that many MNCs today have staff traveling the world who may find themselves surprised by data and voice charges, its easy to see why costs can be a concern, especially if the company does not have the right measures or roaming packages in place.

Best Practices Approach

Yet the reality is that, when a telecom estate is managed properly, it becomes far easier to identify all of the assets in an organization’s possession and to attach a return value to management and shareholders.  The key is creating a Telecom Expense Center of Excellence to gain visibility and control via a best-practices approach.

CIOs, CFOs, and procurement today face a myriad of concerns and challenges in both managing their global telecom estates as well as getting a clear picture of all of the components that it entails. Disparate communications spends happen departmentally and regionally; and within these silos, an audit often exposes multiple vendors, services and contracts.

Consequently it isn’t surprising to uncover fragmented and elaborate telecoms portfolios across different locations, currencies and carriers. Such disarray often leads to less than ideal conditions, including the potential to be at risk for data breaches and other forms of unauthorized access to corporate assets and IP. An ability to see the telecom estate in its entirety, and having the means to swiftly exercise control, is the surest way to mitigate and prevent such scenarios.

In fact, as enterprise communications becomes more sophisticated, diverse and increasingly  challenging to control, just 22 percent of businesses believe that their current IT and communications facilities deliver full flexibility and responsiveness today.

From a best practices standpoint, the surest way to gain visibility and control across the enterprise is to make sure that the key functional areas with a vested interest in the telecom estate – procurement, IT and finance – all work together to drive efficiency, predictability and performance.


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