An Accurate Telecoms Inventory Stacks Up with Veropath
Have you ever needed to pull together a business case for an asset refresh, a change of technology or upgrade, or a maybe a change or consolidation of supplier(s)? Or perhaps you’re involved in a merger/acquisition scenario where you will make important decisions based on the state of your telecom estate.
The first thing you need to understand when building your business case is what your current estate consists of – quantities, locations, costs, any linked products/services as well as the business benefits your programme will bring.
Without an accurate telecoms inventory this information can be extremely difficult and time-consuming to obtain; even if you do manage to pull much of the data together, can you be certain that the information you have is 100% accurate? And how up-to-date will it remain without having to go through the lengthy process again?
Many large organisations keep their inventory records manually on multiple excel spreadsheets and/or internal databases, with the responsibility for recordkeeping split amongst various departments/regions. Or sometimes, just one person holds the key information about the estate in his/her head – a major risk if that person were to leave or go off sick, for example.
The Risks of an Inaccurate Telecoms Inventory
So, why is it so important for organisations to keep an accurate and up-to-date inventory of their telecoms estate? Below we’ll take a closer look at some of the major pitfalls and outcomes of not keeping an accurate current Telecoms Inventory:
- Unreliable data sources – offline databases quickly become out-of-date if not regularly maintained; furthermore, often there are multiple databases/sources reporting on different asset categories and/or with differing values which makes it hard to understand the true situation. This will result in the financial reporting not reconciling with the inventory data held.
- Ad-hoc Inventory builds – here, resource either needs to be recruited or constantly diverted internally from other areas in order to build an inventory to support new projects/business cases. In large organisations, it is time-consuming and arduous to try to build an inventory baseline from multiple suppliers/geographies/sources, and even more so to try to maintain these accurately going forward.
- Fragmented processes – often, provisioning or decommissioning activities do not automatically link back to the inventory records so they remain unchanged and incorrect, leading to inaccurate records arising once an order is completed or an asset switched off.
- Inaccurate Business Decisions – how can decision-makers know they are making sound decisions for the business if there are inaccuracies in reporting the point of departure (POD) position, incorrect ROI calculations being presented and a lack of proof on reporting the point of arrival position (POA)/proof of ROI on completion of a project?
- Creeping Cost Base – without control and visibility of the inventory, it is incredibly difficult to determine wastage, capacity opportunities, billing errors or any other potential opportunities within the telecoms estate. A lack of accuracy in calculating the extent of these elements can lead to a steady increase or “creep” in the telecoms cost base over time – a cost that will not have been forecasted or budgeted for.
The resulting situation is an inherent risk to the business in terms of uncalculated costs which can appear unexpectedly in a project’s finances, or a cost centre’s budget.
We have established above that trying to put together a view of a telecoms estate cannot be done effectively as a manual activity with basic spreadsheets; so, what is the best thing to do to combat the problem? An automated TEM solution is the only way to successfully establish and maintain an inventory which provides ongoing accurate knowledge of your telecom estate.
The Benefits of an Accurate Inventory
A good Technology Expense Management (TEM) platform can help you to create and maintain an accurate telecoms inventory which will drive the following benefits for your business:
- One single source of the truth – Supplier data feeds are established by a dedicated team of analysts or your own team, and then overlaid with your organisation’s metadata to provide a single source of the truth. This information is constantly updated. When combined with other modules within the TEM platform – such as Order Management, provisioning and decommissioning – your orders with suppliers will automatically update the inventory on completion, and thus provide real-time accuracy on changes within the estate.
- Availability and Efficiency – you will have accurate, up-to-date and readily available information at the end users’ fingertips when required. Efficient and accurate business cases and ROI’s can easily be built around accurate data, POD/POA position on projects easily visible and reported upon.
- Linked Assets – you can link different categories of assets together e.g. hardware to a circuit or software to hardware. When an asset is identified/decommissioned all linked assets/inventory items will be visible to prompt the user to action.
- Dispute/Project Governance and control – you can create projects and assign tasks to colleagues and track the progress through to completion. A project could cover invoice disputes by supplier where transactional data is sent back to suppliers to obtain a rebate, or a decommissioning project where assets are marked for deletion and need to be removed from billing.
- Auto Analysis – by maintaining an accurate inventory in the TEM platform, the application will perform various items of auto-analysis at the point of loading an invoice; these include:
- Zero usage – at least 3 months where no usage has been billed (where applicable).
- Ceased services still billing – inventory items or products billing beyond their known cease date.
- Closed locations – inventory items billing against a location identified as closed.
- Invoice Validation – a transactional level re-price vs the contract (subject to contract pricing being loaded into the portal).
- Accurate Reporting – advanced search functionality combined with bespoke dynamic dashboarding allows quick and easy visibility of the data. Integration with a business analytics service such as Microsoft Power BI provides even more flexibility and reporting scope to the end user.
- Budgeting and forecasting – a good-quality TEM platform will be able to use the contractual data and rental periods to produce an accurate budget and forecast which can be filtered by inventory class, supplier, account, cost centre, business unit or any other business field the customer would like to tag and group their data with.
As you can see, the benefits of establishing an automated approach to telecoms inventory management are manifold and can support stakeholders across many areas of an organisation – e.g. technology/IT, finance, procurement and individual business units themselves driving telecoms projects.
Annual savings can generally be achieved anywhere from between 15% – 40% of the cost base when using an automated solution such as Veropath’s Technology Expense Management (TEM) platform.
If you would like more information about how Veropath can help with your telecoms inventory, please contact us: