A big box retailer has specific telephone needs that require circuits and copper lines for each location. Keeping up with the circuit numbers and each copper line and what it is used for is a cumbersome task. For one retailer, not ensuring that services and equipment were properly catalogued and monitored created an embarrassing situation for the telecom and IT team and overcharges of over $62k paid needlessly by the retailer.
Retailers must have telephone numbers that allow a patron to call a specific department such as men’s shoes or children’s clothing. To have this type of service a retailer needs to have a voice circuit with DID numbers that allow for this direct calling. Keeping an inventory with the circuits and phone numbers may have identified that the services were not canceled when the location closed, however, the billing from the vendor did not breakdown the services with enough detail to allow the telecom and IT team to realize that when they requested the services be disconnected, not all services were disconnected. This oversight caused a 2 year over payment period.
So, beyond the obvious of making sure your company is not overpaying for services, why is an Inventory & Audit needed? The bigger question could be, how could this have been identified on the invoice to eliminate the possibility of overpaying for 2 years?
An Inventory & Audit of your telecom and IT services should create a baseline of service types, costs, contracts, and invoices. It should also validate what services you have, the location address and the department or personnel using the services. Identifying errors, overcharges and inefficiencies in your environment will bring the entire process together to cut costs and increase efficiency. Having this information that is detailed by location would have saved this retailer over $60k because when the services were no longer needed and a disconnect request was made of the vendor, it would have been quickly identified that the services continued to bill.
Identifying the information that will be included in the Inventory & Audit is one of the first steps in gathering the information required and a timeline that will produce cost-saving results. One of the most frequent Inventory & Audits performed is for copper lines or POTS lines. These lines are required for businesses for alarm or elevator lines. Several years ago, this was the best and most cost effective solution, however innovation has created new types of services that work better and are much more cost effective. A business can transition over to these new services. However, if you do not have an inventory of all of your current services and phone lines, you run the risk of not disconnecting all of the POTS lines but you will keep paying for them.
A successful project consists of a framework for managing fixed telecom environments that focuses on people, process and tools / technology. The Inventory & Audit establishes a contract, invoice, service detail, and cost baseline. Visibility gained through the project supports technology selection, budgeting, contract negotiations, vendor relationships, change management and other integral telecom activities.
What type of information is needed to complete an Inventory & Audit?

• Service contracts
• Invoices
• Customer Service Records
• Organizational information

The Inventory is interpreted and recompiled into a functional format, allowing optimal visibility into the organization’s telecom environment. The Inventory includes the following activities:

• Identifying telecom service components, configurations and charges from customer service records, invoices and supportive vendor collateral
• Comparing invoiced services to organizational locations
• Performing local voice services line verifications to confirm technical availability, identifying orphaned services, and ensuring invoiced services belong to the invoiced organization

Documentation of financial errors in the form of Discoveries
• Recommendations for corrective action
• Recommendations for improving service to cost performance

The Inventory reports allow you to see a complete environment-wide view of your telecom services. This information will allow you to make more informed tactical and strategic decisions and to maximize the efficiency of your telecom environment on an ongoing basis.

Location Inventory – Inventory of voice, wireless, and data components by location
Location Address – Summary of organization addresses
Location Detail – By site and includes details such as service address, site Telecom Service Providers and site telecom coordinator

Line Inventory – Inventory of voice lines
Line Verification Report – Report illustrating ownership and functionality by voice line
PIC Report – List of interlata and intralata long distance carriers by line
Order Traffic Study to determine traffic patterns for larger sites (7 of more lines)

Vendor Listing – Summarized listing of all your vendors, contact information and associated account numbers
Cost Distribution by Service Type – Cost breakdown by voice, wireless, and data
Vendor Distribution – Cost breakdown by vendor

Contract Catalog – Catalog of all telecom contracts with key dates, terms, fixed pricing, discounts and conditions

Identify the type of each service and cost

Line Verifications:

Ownership and functionality of each local business line should be identified as one of the following:

1) Verified
2) Out of order
3) Disconnected
4) Ring – no answer
5) Line/Device belongs to a different organization
6) Fax number

Line verification calls should be completed as follows:


• Up to 3 attempts (due to ring – no answers) on each standalone business line (DID lines are not included)
• Verify ownership and functionality
• Results categorized and provided in the form of recommendations
• Calls made during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time)

Upon completion of the project, you should have a set of these discoveries. It will also give you the baseline of information you need to effectively manage your environment on an ongoing basis, optimizing cost effectiveness and efficiency. Completion of this project will provide key insights, revealing what services are installed, where services are installed, what services are invoiced, and how much services cost. This project will provide you the comfort of a complete inventory of your telecom environment and will give you the baseline of information needed to manage your telecom environment in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.
With the skyrocketing costs for telecom services and the need for fiscal responsibility in the face of inflation and possible recession, it is imperative that a business consistently monitors their telecom and IT invoices and services.