Earlier, I recommended evaluating reports in order to eliminate unnecessary ones, which can only lead to lower operating costs. Another area where big savings can be gleaned with relatively little work is in telecommunications.
Telecom might come in the form of standard telephone lines for voice calls or fax, mobile lines, Internet access or WAN connectivity to join various branch offices together. I can say with confidence, however, that just about every company out there is overpaying for these services. The reason boils down to this: Charges for telecommunication services inevitably follow a downward trend as providers recoup their initial investments or face mounting competition. While this does not happen overnight, the trend is definitely noticeably over the course of as little as a year.
The unfortunate situation is that as long as there are no anomalies, accounts departments will happily continue paying for telecommunications without question. And how are the hapless accountants to know, anyway. The onus is on IT to negotiate for better rates based on prevailing market rates. And yes, this applies to the SMB as well.
In a previous SMB organization where I worked, I successfully negotiated a new package that gave us faster Internet lines - at half the price. In addition, I identified a pool of phone lines that were no longer in use, but for which the company was footing the monthly subscriptions. In addition, the savings can be even more substantial if the situation on your end is like what we have in Singapore, where the cost for a "business" phone line is at a premium to standard non-business lines.
I nagged at the accounts department, which finally produced a number of invoices reflecting the fairly impressive number of overseas (IDD) calls that the company makes on a given month. This was sufficient to convince the sales manager of a competing provider to offer us IDD call rates that were substantially better than what we were getting.
By doing some research and relatively light work spread over two to three weeks, I was able to save the company literally thousands of dollars per month. The hardest part, ironically, was the management - which spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out the catch. Bt that's for another blog post.
Why not try out my recommendation, and let me know how you fared.