Don’t Let “If it Ain’t Broke…” Thinking Break You

“Well if it ain’t broke…” I swear, I have heard someone say that every year in the 20+ years I have worked in Telecommunications!

Someone usually says that in response to hearing about the latest and greatest new invention that has come along. Doesn’t matter what it is.

I understand that sentiment but I don’t agree. For instance: If my mortgage payment were at a 9% interest rate and I’m still paying that rate in today’s market, it’s broke.  It is just wrong to pay more than you need to.

The same can be said for your voice and data services. You shouldn’t have to change your entire infrastructure every time something new comes along. Admittedly, you would be doing nothing but making changes. Our industry is moving pretty fast these days.

But, you do need to stay on top of it. Here are six smaller changes you can make to avoid a full blown overhaul and save money at the same time.

  1. Do inventory every year. It’s tedious and it’s a pain but it will shock you how many unused circuits you will find that mysteriously get installed from a special project or program that was then abandoned. Why pay for something you aren’t even using? Try scheduling a regular time each year — usually when you have a slower time, maybe during the Winter Holidays — and do this review.
  2. Review your disaster recovery plan every year and if you don’t have one, get one. Better safe than sorry. If you are on an IP based network, you may already have routing capabilities that will take care of it for you. Potentially saving you money as well.  This might be done during that annual inventory (above).
  3. Consolidate – Networks are more and more IP- based. What that means to you is once you are IP- based; you can get more out of your existing services and make changes much faster.  If you have TDM based trunks, really look into moving to SIP trunks. You will need fewer trunks to accomplish the same thing and have the foundation for the next big thing. Or if you have diverse locations, there are several ways to connect them onto a unified, easier to manage platform to give everyone a better network at a potentially better cost.
  4. Combine Voice and Data – This is a big one.  Voice and Data used to be completely separate networks but by moving to an IP base, you can run both on the same connections which also means fewer lines are needed. You can decide for yourself what type of connection works best for you. There are several to choose from.
  5. Take advantage of pricing, bundles, billing or anything else that can lower your bill. I see programs every once in a while that combine services and connections at reduced pricing. Don’t dismiss them as a fire sale. Those packages are put together based on the fact that those services are often used together.  Get what you can up front for the lowest pricing.
  6. Sign the longer term contract.  OK, don’t shoot me for saying this. Here’s why.  The longer the contract, the lower the pricing. I know… This is opposite of what I just said because you are now committed to something for 5 years. Here’s the thing you may not know… Many contracts have a technology clause. If in 3 years, you want to upgrade to the next, NEXT good thing, you won’t get penalized for it. Ask about it and then sign away and enjoy the pricing.

We are all hearing the same buzz words everywhere, IP (Internet Protocol), SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), Cloud, Ethernet, VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Service), SaaS (Software as a Service) etc. There is a shift happening right now that is being driven by two things. The consumer (A.K.A. You.) and technology  itself. By monitoring these developments and making smaller changes incrementally, you can avoid having to do a large overhaul of your network all at once. You may find that you don’t need to make any changes right now but you will have all the information you need for yourself when you are ready.

If you are spending money for something that is only just working and not improving how you do business—in my book, it’s broke. If you are spending money for something you aren’t using or spending more money than you need to… Broke. It’s tough enough in this environment right now, consumers are demanding more and more and you have fewer resources. Don’t let the “If it ain’t broke” break you.

For Further Study:

  1. This is a handy reference plan for disaster recovery from Michigan State University
  2. Benefits of combining voice and data
Sybil Fitzpatrick Lead Product Marketing Communications AT&T About Sybil