Next, consider the impact industry trends and challenges of the last few years have had on your business. Here are 5 key areas to look at:
- POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service)
Recent articles have discussed the demise of legacy POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) lines, which include copper-based, voice services (including T1s and PRIs), fax lines, and alarm lines. In reality, these traditional services are not going away any time soon, but if you use them, your business will be impacted by cost increases and availability.
A recent FCC ruling removed the requirements for carriers to provide analog, copper-based services at competitive rates. These services include voice-grade analog lines (such as fire and burglar alarms, elevator lines, entry systems, and backup circuits), T1s, PRI circuits, and others. This does not mean your services will suddenly stop working, but recurring costs and the availability of new circuitry may be changing dramatically.
These changes have been on vendors’ radar for several years. The copper-based infrastructure has been the lifeblood of their revenue, but it is aging, becoming more expensive to install and maintain, and technicians trained to repair these systems – which are being replaced by fiber-based services – are retiring. In general, this means that these outmoded services will become a headache for IT and telecom managers.
Regardless of the organization’s size or the number of lines involved, you will be impacted by these changes. Here are 3 key facts you need to know to get prepared:
- Costs will continue to rise.
If you have copper-based lines that are not covered under a contract, compare costs of those lines from six to twelve months ago and you will see a significant rise in costs. We have seen costs increase by more than 200%. One client’s costs have increased from $274 to $890 per month. You cannot assume that you’ll be able to renew the contract at its current rate at the end of the term.
- Repair times will get longer.
Carriers are deprioritizing the maintenance of these aging services. Parts and materials to maintain the infrastructure are not kept on hand and as the labor force that knows these systems ages out, it is not being replaced. Intermittent service issues will be difficult to get addressed and resolved.
- New copper services won’t be available.
Although current copper-based services won’t be turned off, it is probable that new services will not be available. Carriers will stop taking orders and instead will propose fiber-based services.
- Post-pandemic and the remote worker
Analysts predict that up to 30% of workers will continue to work from home, at least part-time., which has changed the course of many planned IT/telecom projects. In many cases, only mission-critical projects will be completed. Collaborative technology tools like video conferencing must be at workers’ fingertips. In the past, these applications were reserved for only very large companies and elaborate conference rooms.
Organizations sent home entire workforces and IT staff had to spin up collaboration platforms to support remote workers, literally overnight. Projects that might have taken years in the past were completed in days. But these projects were often undertaken in a quick, crisis-driven manner. Cost considerations were left to be sorted out later.
Abilita can help you assess your IT and communications infrastructure to determine whether:
- Services that were needed previously are still necessary
- IT expenses are being duplicated or overbilled
- Current vendor contracts need to be reviewed or modified
- Wireless and mobile devices
In June of this year, some providers added a new charge to wireless bills. Verizon calls this an “economic adjustment charge” and is shown in the Other Charges & Credits section of your bill. The non-negotiable charges are $2.20 per month, per line, for each smartphone and data device and $0.98 per month, per line, for each basic phone and tablet device. For an account with twenty devices, the increase will be about $42 per month. For a large account with 250 devices, the increase will be $550 per month.
AT&T is also applying a new charge, attributed to inflation. This increase is added to their share plans and, depending on the plan, the increase will be either $6 or $12. The new charges may not be significant enough to switch vendors or make drastic changes to your users or usage but may signal that it’s time to do a complete audit of your wireless services.
We often find that organizations don’t monitor the wireless usage patterns of their employees. This often results in overage charges and inconsistency in group plans. Review and optimize plans and services to lower monthly spending.
Whether you have a few, or thousands of devices – in your office or around the world – device management and costs can quickly get out of control! We have the tools and expertise to recommend the wireless equipment needed to keep your staff productive. Watch this short video to learn how we can help.
Most organizations have multiple telecom vendors and associated contracts. They all have different terms, conditions, and end dates. It’s important to develop a contract management system that details all these important dates. It’s also important to note automatic renewal clauses, potential business downturn clauses, and early termination charges.
- E911 services
Although recent 911 compliance requirements don’t come with a direct cost, it is important to review whether the processes you have in place ensure compliance. Remote workers and wireless devices are now subject to 911 laws. It is estimated that 85% of all 911 calls are made from mobile devices.
Coordination and verification of compliance with Kari Lay’s, RAY BAUM’s Act, and other laws are not just the responsibility of IT. Compliance includes your organization’s HR and legal departments and needs executive buy-in to ensure that you provide a safe workplace.
Telecom and related services usually represent one of the top expenses for most organizations and are typically the costs most often paid without a thorough review of usage patterns, contract terms, and necessity. What isn’t monitored can’t be effectively managed.
Abilita has the resources and experience to help organizations of all sizes and industries manage telecom costs and services, reduce telecom expenses, and ensure that the business has the right services at the right prices. Contact us to discuss the right fit for your needs.