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Great time to review Telecoms Costs

Having just completed a Telecoms Audit with 53% savings for a local business, we want to share some insights as we are always amazed by the double-digit savings diagnosed during Telecom Audits, with 20/30/40% savings the norm during each review. Telecoms bills can be unjustly inflated as businesses are impacted by unused fixed lines, restrictive ISDN’s, inappropriate mobile bundles, new Internet Telephony technologies or simply draconian Tariffs.

While, there never has been a better time to initiate a review of your Telecoms Costs, with;

 

  1. 3’s recent acquisition of O2 expected to drive increased competition in the Irish phone market, especially for business customers
  2. Mobile phone rates in Ireland dropped significantly in the last 2 years, with this trend expected to continue for the remainder of 2015. In essence this was triggered by eMobile’s introduction to the market, where the previous Meteor had little impact.
  3. Last year, we extensively covered the merits of VoIP/Internet Telephony for businesses and with improving networks and technologies, this trend is continuing with additional benefits for Hosted Telephony and ultimately significant cost savings
  4. All network operators are committing to improve data coverage while the infamous ‘superfast 4G’ network is more than a myth, with 5-10 times improvement experienced (during this simple test I undertook in the past 6 months: Vodafone 4G v O2 3G)
  5. A warning for all Telecom Operators – Google aims to create a global network that will cost the same to use for calls, texts and data no matter where a customer is located.

 

Google’s ambitions above are not as far-fetched as one might think, as operators in Ireland such as VTSL, are now offering Irish Businesses, competitive hosted IP Telephony, with;

  • No install or set-up charges
  • All Local National & Mobile calls in Ireland are free
  • All Local National & Mobile calls in the UK are free

 

So as we stated from the outset, there is no better time to initiate a review of your Telecoms Costs.

Contact us today to discuss how we can reduce your Telecoms Spend in 2017.

5 Procurement Recommendations for 2015


Recent industry and media reports indicate that the Economy will continue to improve in 2015, while optimism amongst business owners / managers has grown to its highest level since 2008. Higher expectations of business conditions, sales revenues and availability of credit will lead to plans to create more jobs, spend more capital and increased investment across most spend categories within an organisation.

5 Procurement Recommendations for 2015

As we migrate from a backdrop of recent economic pressures to the rosier outlook of 2015 and beyond, it is vital that effective procurement practices are not forgotten but instead implemented at every available opportunity. In recent times, most businesses ‘cut their cloth’, drastically reducing overhead costs so as to survive. These practices should continue to ensue profitability is maximised as the Economy grows over the next 12 months.

 

While considering your Procurement Objectives for 2015, take note of the following cost-saving and value-generating Procurement Recommendations;

 

  1. Invest time in Effective Contract Management

With expected growth and expansion across most organisations, no better time exists to invest resources in effective contract management. With the arrival of new employees, new customers, new processes, new office/site/store locations, new technologies and new suppliers, it is paramount that contracts are correctly managed to mitigate risks while taking advantage of procurement opportunities. While trawling through complex documents is a time-consuming exercise, the greater visibility and understanding of goods/services bought, will lead to significant savings opportunities when armed with accurate information. In its most simplest form, effective contract management is priceless when renegotiating contracts with existing suppliers based on larger volumes or while extending favourable contract terms to new locations.

 

  1. Invest money in New Technologies

Heraclitus was probably talking about Information Technology in c. 500 BC when he said “the Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change”. We are all striving to keep up-to-date with the Internet of Things, Big Data, 3D Printing, the wireless connected world and the explosion of mobile plus wearable devices. Companies are being dragged along on this journey by workforces that are tech-savvy, globally aware and demanding of flexibility in their lives. So whether your IT investments are forced externally (by the likes of Microsoft licenses expiring) or internally from the previously alluded to demanding workforce, when investing money in New Technologies in 2015, ensure;

 

  • Information security, risks and vulnerabilities are addressed by all service providers as transactions will be mobile, remote and over unsecured public networks.

  • Consolidation is key when replacing legacy systems, operations and processes; leading to reduced administration, training, support, vendor management etc.

  • Do not forget the purpose of the IT change. Technology features often distract from the core business so ensure the solution fits your business, enhances your processes while providing greater transparency and business insights than available before.

 

  1. Invest with Others [Group Buying]

Since the Stone Age, multinational businesses have benefited from central procurement contracts across some (not all) spend categories. With increased buying power, better prices can be negotiated plus the added benefit of buyer expertise for each category. Similarly, group buying ensures all businesses can be orchestrated into consortia that are responsible for sourcing and managing aggregated contracts on behalf of a discrete group of companies. In fact, this was the first step undertaken by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) when formed in Ireland in 2013. As with the success of all Procurement activities, ensure quality and performance are paramount as a criterion, not just price, when making final selections, while the following commodity categories should be considered when Group Buying;

 

  • Utilities: electricity, gas, oil and telecoms

  • Common Services: training, health & safety, professional services etc.

  • Delivery related purchases: stationery, workwear, H&S products, logistics, document storage etc.

  • Facilities Management: cleaning, security, lift/alarm/fire maintenance, landscaping etc.

 

  1. Divest from higher cost economies

With economies springing back to pre-2008 statuses, increases in wages, operating costs, prices and inflation will follow. Therefore, when the business case exists, it makes sense to globally source specific products and services from lower cost economies. Undoubtedly significant due diligence needs to be undertaken when sourcing such suppliers but ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’ and utilise the expertise from global online marketplaces, niche third-party sourcing companies plus trade bodies such as Asia Trade Forum, Enterprise Ireland, European Enterprise Network, the Ireland-India Business Association etc.

 

  1. Avoid investing in long-term energy contracts

Energy prices should be at there lowest point in over a decade after crude oil prices more than halved and wholesale gas prices dropped by 27% in the past year. Driven by a global reduction in demand plus gas producers need to relinquish excess Crimea-related stock, energy prices are expected to continue to tumble for the foreseeable future. Businesses throughout the country should be considering variable pricing coupled with shorter-term contracts, to maximise the benefits derived from lower energy prices. We have seen client’s Energy prices drop by 12% in 2014, ensure your business achieves similar discounts in 2015.

 

Additionally, many companies have prospered by following the advice of Tom Peters, the US management consultant, who encouraged businesses to “do what you do best, outsource the rest”. This unrelenting focus on core competencies provides repeatable and scalable returns for organisations that make that commitment. While outsourcing non-core and distracting activities will drive growth, profitability and success. Have you identified core and non-core activities within your business?

 

Finally, feel free to share your Procurement Objectives for 2015 with Arvo as we would be delighted to help you;

  1. Improve the effectiveness of your purchasing capabilities

  2. Reduce the administration associated with your purchasing activities

  3. Enhance your purchasing techniques by introducing world-class eProcurement technology

  4. Identify significant bottom-line savings to drive profitability for your business in 2015

2014 IT Trends Affecting ICT Procurement

Thankfully the global economic recession of 2008 seems to have bottomed-out with plenty of optimism and economic growth indicators visible during the latter half of 2013. Positive business and consumer sentiment is vital to kick-start the economy so hopefully 2014 ignites this trend for all SME’s.
One industry which should expect significant growth is the IT Industry. Even though the Software Industry has largely ignored the recession; the Hardware Industry can expect a bumper 2014 due to the availability of capital funds and factors such as;

 

1. End of Windows XP Support

April 2014 saw the end of support for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Exchange Server 2003, Small Business Server 2003 and Office 2003. This will impact most businesses with the primary result that there won’t be any more security patches for those products, and the likelihood of your PC attracting a security threat will increase, no matter how good your anti-virus software is. Online support documents could disappear too as Microsoft force/migrate businesses to Windows 7 and 8.

 

Purchasing Tips!

  1. Consider upgrading your old PC’s to Windows 7 or 8, yourself or via professional assistance, taking note of your licensing and RAM requirements.
  2. Undertake sufficient research to ensure you will not have a software compatibility problem i.e. a peculiar application that will not work on modern operating systems.
  3. Ensure you have a detailed migration plan to ensure business continuity
  4. Consider investment in new PC’s, Laptops and/or servers, with modern operating systems and specifications

 

2. Cloud this, Cloud that n Cloud tother!

Every business has at least some data or application in the cloud, with varying business cost drivers highlighting the efficiency and effectiveness of Cloud Computing. This trend will rightly continue in the future while business start-ups in particular “have everything in the cloud”. However, with the previously mentioned Windows Server and XP expiration, this may be a good opportunity for your business to start saving with Cloud Computing.

 

Purchasing Tips!

  1. Cloud Compatible? Make sure your peculiar applications are ‘cloud-friendly’ or if not, ensure you identify a suitable alternative e.g. www.getapp.com
  2. As part of your Total Cost of Ownership analysis, do not forget to calculate the cost of migrating your existing applications and data to the cloud. Cloud data is cheap – getting there (and back) is not! Again, speak to an IT expert.
  3. Thereafter, identifying, sourcing and negotiating a suitable cloud hosting package for your business can be challenging. Speak to us about an IT Audit, which will assist.

 

3. Mobile Mad

In 2014 Mobile technology, will continue to create more opportunities for businesses to connect, engage and sell to more clients on the move, while improving internal communications and processes too. Online orders are now placed while clients watch TV at home, travel to work or waiting between meetings. Is your business prepared for these buy-from-anywhere clients?

 

Purchasing Tips!

  1. At the very least, ensure your website has a responsive web design so it will work on every device and resize in a way that is appealing to the end user. If you need professional assistance with this, please contact us.
  2. Similarly, what about an internal or external mobile app for your business? Thankfully the costs of mobile apps have decreased but its still good practise to ‘shop around’ and get various proposals to compare
  3. Having a mobile app or responsive website is a great start but what if nobody knows about it? Make sure you are found and consider the benefits of hiring a Digital or Social Media Marketing expert

 

4. Increasing Internet Security Threats

Once you are connected to the Internet, your pc/laptop/mobile device is under threat from hackers. Your email, credit card details and company data make very interesting reading to cyber criminals, researchers, competitors and even others within your organisation. A fellow member of [email protected], Smarttech revealed a simple Wifi hack within Irish Hotels recently, with devastating results attainable within 20 minutes. These Hotels operate as ‘business-friendly’ Hotels with lots of Wifi usage. If these Wifi connections were insecure – how secure are your Internet IT Networks?

 

Purchasing Tips!

  1. Make sure you have up-to-date and effective Internet and Anti-virus software
  2. Consider a Penetration Test from an IT Security expert where an IT Security Audit will reveal your existing threats
  3. We have assisted in the purchasing, negotiating and implementing of lots of hardware, software and web development projects over the past 10 years. Recently a client renewed their Virtualization licenses with a €190,000 annual savings identified by keeping abreast of market trends and procurement opportunities.
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