Audit a Consultancy Services
We are the leading provider of commercial consultancy, audit and Telecoms Expense Management (TEM) services in the communications market, helping organisations to reduce and recover costs, optimise delivery and improve management processes. Our work covers communications spend across data, voice and mobile with international capability.
Astute can provide you with an initial evaluation of your entire communications estate that identifies areas of cost, potential abuse and potential savings. We’ll then be ready to develop your processes and control your infrastructure with our innovative consultancy services. We engage with our customers on both projects and ongoing services, with most audit project clients going on to utilise Astute’s TEM services on a recurring basis. Our aim is to become an integral part of your business and to work with you to create a model for the cost effective and high value management of telecommunications services. We provide the additional skills, tools and resources to complement and supplement your own.
Astute’s audit and consultancy services generate enormous business advantage for our customers, enabling them to gain a number of quantifiable benefits driven by the clearest possible understanding of the current cost base. By interrogating intuitively presented, world-class management information that is independent of any service providers, our customers can:
- Recover overcharging from suppliers
- Create an accurate baseline for commercial decision-making
- Check spend and pricing against peers and the marketplace
- Undertake due diligence work, with dependable facts
- Generate an authoritative inventory of costs and services.
This visibility, in addition to valuable advice on technology strategy across the telecoms estate, means our customers invariably realise ‘quick win’ savings of typically 15–20% of total expenditure. These immediate one-time savings are only the beginning however; providing the platform for the implementation of effective ongoing measurement of costs and ROI, through improved business processes and structured reporting.
Specifically, we can achieve continuing and sustainable reductions in the following areas:
- Usage and demand management
- Contract management and strategic procurement
- Inventory and change management
- Invoice management, validation and cost apportionment.
What Services Do We Deliver?
Invoice management to improve processes and reduce overheads
We’ll take ownership of the processing and validation of your vendor invoices. The service can include a range of undertakings from liaising with your suppliers on ad-hoc billing issues and resolving charging problems, right through to paying invoices and managing third party platforms on your behalf.
Our responsibility for your telecoms expense invoicing process means we can consolidate and centralise billing information, apportion costs quickly and accurately and tightly integrate with your existing finance systems.
Inventory and change management to maintain control
A well-managed procure-to-pay cycle is vital to keeping control of inventory and costs. Outsourcing your inventory and change management functions to Astute will enable you to guarantee this control whilst avoiding the prohibitive time and administrative overheads of managing this internally. The service is comprehensive and can include any or all of the following:
- First or second line order desk
- Vendor management, including a one-order process that covers all vendors and services
- Stock management, driven by a web-based ordering system for end-users with secure online interface for management approval processes
- Management and enforcement of site-by-site templates and policies
- Management of third party TEM platforms
Our approach to live inventory maintenance can also underpin a highly efficient recycling of assets and services to fulfil new requirements as they arise.
Management reporting for informed decision-making.
Our monthly telecoms reports include detailed information on mobile costs as well as fixed voice costs. These are structured and focused to ensure the right level of communication with stakeholders and cost-centre owners across the organisation.
We’ll get as granular as you need us to, though the main areas covered include the following:
- Trend reports – broken down into recurring and usage charges, mobile and fixed services
- Cost profiles – breakdowns of recurring and variable charges by type and destination
- Infrastructure usage overviews – evaluating spend per line and per handset
- User activity analysis – showing unnecessary and/or exceptional usage costs, frequently dialled numbers and intersite activity.
Our reporting platform is extremely flexible, tracking your chosen metrics and KPIs and enabling like-for-like comparison between business units, cost centres and locations based on cost per minute and cost per user. It can also present a summary of key costs, drilling down into a detailed appraisal of costs and ROI associated with particular initiatives or change programmes.
In addition, our advanced integration with call-logging tools and applications can even facilitate live usage management for toll fraud prevention.
Web-based expense management portals
We have developed a suite of vendor-independent portals -Telecoms Online and Astute Resource Manager - that provide your management team with the detailed cost and inventory information they need for planning and management at site level.
We manage your site, maintain it and update it on a monthly basis, which means that you can view telecoms costs and activity down to individual lines and services by site and cost-centre, and across all your vendors.
Anytime access to these portals complements our monthly management report and can include the following:
- Site profiles – showing lines and equipment at each site
- Call destination profiles – detailing individual lines as well as sites
- Asset and service inventories – showing rented services (including line quantities) at each site, as well as call profiles and rentals on every mobile handset
- Cost centre and user ‘dashboards’
- Policy management
- Personal call management for mobile users
- Moves, adds, changes and deletions interfaces - linked to vendor, client or Astute helpdesks
Authorised visitors to the portal can also create and export their own customised reports, and gain access to historic/ongoing management reports and personal call manager data.
Our portals can also be fully integrated with third party platforms.
Audits and TEM Projects
Astute has carried out projects across all industry sectors and in a range of countries. The types of TEM project carried out involve a variety of objectives, typically encompassing one or a combination of the following:
- Greater visibility – involving data collation exercises such as collection/copying of paper-based data and inventory building
- Improved cost efficiency – undertaking savings projects and cost recovery exercises such as line rationalisation and WAN/LAN utilisation checks
- Supporting strategic ICT initiatives – such as telecoms RFP/RFQ/ITT creation and management, baseline creation and due diligence for outsourcing, process review, documentation and re-engineering, and the deployment and integration of TEM applications
- Better corporate governance – incorporating commercial modelling and analysis, invoice validations, benchmarking exercises and reviews, and contract compliance audits. Astute’s international experience covers most of the world, with extensive work carried out in EMEA, North America, Latin America and the Asia Pacific region.
Cost reduction management
We can assign you a consultant who will work with you specifically on bringing costs down. They will prepare and manage a programme of measurable activity against an agreed savings target that, in most cases, exceeds the costs of the Astute TEM services. This means you can gain the benefits outlined above and a guaranteed saving. Cost reduction management includes the following:
- Planning, consultation and experienced project management
- Preparation of bespoke savings proposals
- Risk assessments
- Communication planning and execution (for example, mail shots or call campaigns) for users and line management
- Savings measurement and analysis
How Do We Charge?
Our initial evaluation will enable us to recommend the fee structure that is most appropriate, based on our understanding of your financial drivers, opportunities to make savings, and the services you need. Whether it’s a cost based on a percentage of overall spend, a savings target or on a risk and reward basis, we’ll agree terms before we start. It could also be a fixed fee, or based on time and materials.
Why are we the experts?
Our expertise in commercial consultancy and Telecoms Expense Management (TEM) is built on an informed balance between business analysis, cost control, billing and vendor management, and experience of the technology, commercial and operational issues that lie behind the figures. We are also the only TEM specialist with truly global experience and capabilities. This range of capabilities has led to an approach that combines software solutions, market knowledge, financial analysis, process engineering, and management reporting, delivering effective cost reduction solutions that are achievable and measurable.
Most important of all is the flexibility, pragmatism and enthusiasm that we have demonstrated with every client we have worked with.