PFM 20 7 - Page 29



Technology
NEWS
How to Handle the Challenges of Telecoms
F
acilities Managers have a tough insist on full itemisation so you can
job in that they are expected to regularly audit what you are paying for.
the expert on a wide range of
topics covering building regulations Other favourite dirty tricks include:
through demanding tenants to
utilities. One of the more complex of
- Raising prices after contract
these is telecoms as it presents a
has started – how many check
number of unique challenges.
the invoice against the original
contract?
The fast changing pace of the
technology itself
- Hidden charges such as call set
-
-
up fees, minimum charges or
rounding up
The dirty tricks many suppliers
play
The general poor technical
infrastructure within the UK
Telecoms technology is constantly
changing and the way it is used by
individuals.
The proportion of calls
made by mobile has increased
dramatically.
Consequently, many
companies are paying for more services
than they need. One simple check is to
divide the number of call minutes made
by the number of lines. If it is lower than
15 then you probably can save money
by reducing the number of lines. It is not
just lines, but also mobile devices and
features. We regularly find clients
paying for services they no longer used
or had cancelled and as a result wasting
thousands of pounds a year. It is worth
noting that if a supplier makes an error
– retrospective refunds can be claimed.
From 2020 no new ISDNs can be
ordered and by 2025 they will all be
turned off. That means organisations
must start planning for the world of IP.
Do you keep the phone system and use
SIP or go to VoIP? There are many
arguments either way unfortunately most
resellers are biased according to their
product portfolio.
Probably the only
clear cut situation is if you are
responsible for a building(s) with multiple
sub tenants. Assuming they do not
supply their own then the flexibility of
VoIP to enable different users to have
different levels of functionality e.g. call
recording, call centre etc does give it an
advantage along with the ease of moving
tenants about.
Unfortunately, too many suppliers within
the industry utilise jargon and complexity
to mislead customers.
There is a
general trend of providing less
information on invoices and it is
becoming just totals. You should always
-
Misleading customers
contract end dates
-
Looking customers into long
term deals with the lure of
cheap set up fees or the
infamous “free PBx” which turns
out to be a long term lease hire.
over
There is an onus on the supplier to prove
the contract end dates. One client near
Sheffield was told their contract had
renewed two days before they enquired.
A possible coincidence but they could
offer no proof of that being the renewal
date. Reasonable proof would be a call
recording or a copy of the original signed
contract.
Also check what are the notice periods
– whilst they may not be only on the third
Thursday before Pentecost – there can
be great variation from 30 days to 6
months. We even saw one contract that
was a three year rolling contract.
The final challenge is that of how to deal
with
the
UK’s
poor
technical
infstrastucture. Recent reports have
shown we rank
-
54th in the world for 4G coverge,
-
Bottom of Europe for FTTP
(Fibre
to
the
Premise)
broadband
-
31st in the world for average
download speeds.
It is not as if we are even close –
Sweden’s average download speeds is
2 ½ times that of the UK and Lativia has
FTTP to 1 in 2 premises whilst we barely
have one in 50.
Dave Millett,
Equinox
This presents a challenge for Facilities
Managers as businesses are moving
more and more to cloud based
technologies which demand even more
bandwidth and speed.
Due to past
policies of BT favouring residential areas
for rollout of fibre broadband many
business parks, city based locations as
well as rural areas suffer from slow
broadband.
If you are moving offices it is essential
to check in advance what speeds and
services are available at the new
building.
We have seen many
businesses move and then find they are
having to buy dedicated circuits so they
can continue to operate. The good news
is that the cost of these circuits has
fallen dramatically over the past 3 - 4
years. So any business with a large
dedicated data circuit older than this
should get the price rechecked. We
recently found a business in St Albans
that could get a 33% reduction in its cost
but their incumbent supplier had not
offered it to them.
It is also worth remembering that the
pricing of these circuits is affected by
who has the nearest access so if you
manage multiple buildings using a single
network supplier may be costing you
money. A review we did for an Academy
with 42 schools throughout country
found that by moving to 3 suppliers
would save them £1m a year in data
connectivity costs
So in a challenging world it pays to be
vigilant and constantly check for better
deals and ensure full itemisation of bills
is investigated at least once a year.
Reader Reply: 207012
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