Reducing the cost of IT services. Mobile and landline communications

    In the continuation of my publication on reducing the cost of providing access to the Internet , in this post I wanted to discuss the possibility of reducing the cost of mobile and landline communications.
    These expense items are interrelated, in my case I started with mobile communications, as it is much more flexible to changes and, in total terms, significantly exceeds the costs of landline communications. Also, when implementing activities with this expense item, it is possible to significantly reduce costs for another.
    So is there any way to reduce the costs of these items more than double ?!

    1. Mobile communications.
    What are these activities? They can be divided into two large blocks - these are administrative (orders, instructions, reduction of limits) and technical (providing additional services by the provider, the use of technical means).
    First of all, I would like to suggest that you once again hold negotiations with available mobile operators, but prepare for them and raise some questions differently.

    How can operators reduce prices for their services? The main requirement of the operators is a large number of subscribers and guaranteed large monthly payments for using corporate communications.

    1.1. Analysis
    Before starting, we need to analyze the number and direction of calls of our employees, the share of using additional services (sms, mms, gprs, etc.) This can be done approximately, for example, by looking at the information on the operator’s website, and for more detailed analysis and modeling use the download option billing into a simple database with the ability to generate OLAP reporting on the measurements contained in it (enterprise, phone number, connection type, etc.).

    Example of obtaining information on the operator’s website

    Example of database data with the possibility of forming OLAP reporting

    The second option is of course more preferable, as it will allow for more detailed tracking of any changes in the future and promptly correct their consequences.

    Having completed this stage of work, we should have an understanding of issues related to the main directions of calls, the main organizations of the Company and its divisions, which contribute to the costs, the number of subscribers.

    1.2. Receiving new conditions from a telecom operator
    Having the information described above, we begin negotiations with mobile operators. In different organizations, the mechanisms are different, for some it is the opening of a tender, and for someone it is enough to simply write a letter or call the operator. In a friendly relationship, we can give them information on our main areas of communication costs and ask them to develop or choose the best rate for us. But we are able to significantly reduce it by resorting to the following leverage:

    1. Increase the subscriber base
    We increase the subscriber base of the company tens of times and at the same time significantly reduce the costs of the company.
    Typically, the organization uses employees with mobile communications, for the performance of their duties which is necessary. These employees have a certain total limit for its use. Since the corporate tariff is definitely more profitable than the tariff of private individuals, to increase the subscriber base, we make the following two moves:
    - We connect all employees of our Company to the corporate tariff .
    - We connect relatives and close people of employees working at the enterprise to the corporate tariff .
    The questions immediately arise: how will the bills be billed, how will the company pay for them, who will track the deductions and how to deal with relatives?
    Currently, all these points are implemented in billing systems of mobile operators.
    All connected employees are divided into different bans, with different calculation options:
    - employees with a fixed limit on the use of communication. The established limit is fixed in the billing system and upon reaching it, the subscriber receives an SMS notification that he carries out further payments as an individual.
    - employees without a set limit, relatives and close employees of employees. Each employee who has connected his relatives and friends creates a mini-corporation and is responsible for its members. Accordingly, its participants, like employees without a set limit, independently pay for communication services as individuals.

    And so we significantly expanded the subscriber base, and the load on the organization (calculation of deductions, etc.) was completely removed. The organization pays only those amounts that were spent within the established limits, the rest of the calculations with the mobile operator, people carry out as individuals. It should be noted that operators have various ways to motivate timely payments, for example, providing a deferral of payment and in the future going to the postpaid method of payment (first you say, then you pay).

    2. Using a more complete range of services provided by the operator
    In addition to voice transmission, operators provide many other services: access to the Internet, long-distance and international communications, providing VLAN communication channels, etc.
    Why not analyze their suggestions? After all, if you take the services in the complex, their cost will be significantly lower.

    3. Closer, mutually beneficial cooperation.
    Often, not only are we consumers of the services of mobile operators, but they also need our services. It all depends, of course, on the lines of activity of your companies, for sure there will be some common ground. A universal way of cooperation can be the construction of cell towers in the territory of your enterprise. In this case, your expenses will be reduced by the amount of land lease. It is clear that the more such points of mutually beneficial cooperation, the better for both you and the mobile operator.

    I am sure that when carrying out the measures described in this part, it will be possible to get a significantly more favorable job offer. Do not forget about the “bonuses” of operators - these are various unlimited SIM cards that they provide to the company management in case of connecting a certain number of subscribers. But do not rush to give them to the management, they can be used much more profitably, more on that below ...

    1.3. Administrative impact
    It would seem that we received new favorable conditions, significantly reduced our costs and you can already reap the benefits of our success, but I assure you that this is not so! Another way to reduce costs lies in administrative functions.
    It is necessary to note the negative side of the majority of workers, to consider that it is they who make the main contribution to the work of the enterprise, their functions are poorly assessed, wages are not sufficient. And since mobile operators allow real-time tracking of the amounts spent by each employee, they will purposefully choose their limits to the end. An example is the analysis of billing, in which more than 80% of employees accurately fall within the established limits and if they decrease, this picture is repeated.

    We conducted an analysis and now we understand which departments, which employees make the main contribution to the costs. Their costs must be reduced, but at the same time, a middle ground must be observed so that the reduction of these costs does not adversely affect the business. For example, we will reduce the limit on the use of communication to a sales representative, and he will make less calls to customers. This cannot be allowed!
    There are many administrative ways, I will describe the one that was used.
    We decided to approach this issue individually and did not divide people into posts, setting each position with its own limit. For example, the Head of the Supply Department and the Head of the System Administration Department - how can they be leveled in the limits of cellular communication usage?

    Using the billing analysis software described above, we carried out the following work:
    - calculated the average amount spent by the subscriber per month.
    - 10% of the received amount was taken away - personal calls.
    - the resulting table was provided to each head of the structural unit at whose disposal the employee is.
    - further reduction is carried out by the head of the structural unit, the task of the Company's management is to put before him only the amount or percentage of cost reduction for his unit.

    Having calculated the average consumption over the period, we cut off its peaks, thereby already reducing costs. Further, the immediate supervisor, as a person more familiar with the specifics of the activities of his subordinates, will be able to further reduce costs more competently and painlessly. But the main thing here is not to go too far.

    Carrying out the complex of the above measures, in my case, allowed to reduce the cost of mobile communications by more than 40%.

    2. Fixed-line communications
    Unfortunately, this item of expenditure is not as flexible and amenable to impact as mobile. Due to greatly reduced tariffs, at present, the use of IP-telephony, etc., has lost its relevance. The payback period of equipment is much more than a year, which does not allow making such long-term investments.
    However, there are several ways to reduce costs, some are achieved through the use of mobile operators. We also need to reduce risks due to a rashly large reduction in mobile phone limits, as in this case, employees will begin to use stationary more.

    About 5-10% will help us reduce new negotiations with the provider.
    Tariff reduction is possible in the same cases as I do for mobile communications. The main thing is the volume of conversations of our organization, respectively, which we cannot increase without increasing the costs of the enterprise. This is not part of our plans.
    According to the old scheme, we conduct an analysis, only not the billing of the mobile operator, but the logs of the PBX. In this task, a small database with the ability to generate OLAP reports will also help us. Do not forget about using a more complete range of services and mutually beneficial cooperation. But I don’t think that there can be expected any huge percent reduction. In any case, this will not be a big decrease, achieved only through competition between operators and the choice of a better offer for the most active areas of calls.

    What will help us achieve significant effectiveness? At the moment - it's using a GSM gateway! In my opinion, one of the most effective tools, below on the chart you will see it.

    GSM gateway for 8 SIM cards

    Fixed-line communication is divided into local, long-distance and international. Which in turn is divided into calls to landlines and mobile phones. Using a GSM gateway in conjunction with an office PBX, as well as SIM cards of various operators with optimal tariff plans, we can significantly reduce costs in the following areas:
    1. Using our corporate SIM cards
    - Calls to corporate mobile phones . In the corporate tariff, these calls are either free of charge, or significantly lower than the tariffs of local city communications. For example, in my case it is 0.00 rub. within the network and 1.50 rubles. when calling from a PBX.
    - Calls to all subscribers of our mobile operator. The cost of these calls is also significantly lower than the cost of a city telephone exchange. Again, for example, 0.95 rubles. against 1.50 rubles.
    - Calls to subscribers of a certain group of regions . Mobile operators have roaming-free spaces (Volga zone, etc.)

    2. Using SIM-cards of other operators
    - Calls to subscribers of the corresponding operator . It is clear that within the network of one operator, the cost of a call is always lower, we redirect calls from the office PBX to the network of the operator we need (Beeline - Beeline, MTS - MTS, Megaphone - Megaphone).

    3. The use of SIM-cards with an unlimited tariff plan .
    Unlimited TPs are the most profitable option, at least it eliminates the long setup of the PBX and GSM gateway for filtering calls, etc.

    4. The use of "gold" SIM-cards received from the mobile operator. We talked about these SIM-cards above, I don’t know how legitimate it is to use them in this particular version, so I consider it exclusively as an option ...

    I’ll give you some small calculations that show the effectiveness of using a GSM gateway.
    The cost of a GSM gateway: 85 thousand rubles.
    Percentage of the amount, in any case, going through a fixed-line telecom operator (faxes, international calls): 30%
    Cost of one SIM-card with unlimited TP: 6.5 thousand rubles. in month
    The number of SIM-cards, depending on the average payment for landline communications per month: at 10 thousand rubles. in month - 2 pcs., 20 - 2, 30 - 3, 40 - 3, 50 - 4, 60 - 4, 70 - 5.

    We get the following graph showing the effectiveness of using a GSM gateway, depending on the average payment, using stationary communications per month.

    The use of a GSM-gateway allows up to 60% lower costs for fixed communications. For example, if you paid an average of 50 thousand rubles. per month, then for the year of operation save the Company 190 thousand rubles. (including equipment costs) or 31% of the total amount for the year, for two years - 480 thousand rubles. (40%).
    Of course, in the case of using “golden” SIM cards, we have a more joyful picture:

    I hope the post was useful. There are still many services provided by IT departments at our enterprises, I am sure that we will discuss them in the future. I will be very glad to discuss!

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