Once upon a time, movie nights meant traveling to a local video rental shop and watching the halls in hopes of finding the latest releases in stock. Today, a combination of rental DVD shipping services such as Netflix and movies at the request of your cable or satellite provider has created a completely new and relaxed way to enjoy a movie night. Rental stores are now truly at your fingertips. Netflix sends DVDs by mail to customers via a rental queue made online. The biggest part of this new rental service is that there are no late fees. Customers pay a monthly fee for Netflix or a fee per film for service on request; back-end operation is handled by the provider. No more worrying if the film is still there.
Telecommunications cost management (TEM) has developed in a similar way. Companies that have used premise-based TEM software to handle telecommunications and IT cost management are now seeing tremendous benefits in using Software as a Service (SaaS). By using TEM on-demand software, companies no longer have to worry about loading vendor billing data or dealing with complex changes from vendor data formats. In the past, this was a common cause of failure in premise-based TEM software solutions because it prevented companies from seeing data at the highest billing details. With TEM on-demand solutions, companies can see their data loaded within 24 hours of being received by TEM vendors. Companies can then dedicate their full resources to analyzing their billing data rather than managing it. This stress-free solution enables companies to sharpen their focus on income-generating activities.
Opening Credit – Implementation
Most hot-selling Hollywood films in the summer show the action right at the beginning of the film, immediately captivating the audience. In the same way, using SaaS for TEM solutions provides fast implementation time, resulting in a much faster ROI. Traditionally, companies with premise-based software solutions do not have the necessary telecommunication cost management experience. Their TEM initiative tends to be a mistake from the start – an error that was compounded during the TEM program. Just like summer movies that don’t have innovative special effects or great storylines, their TEM initiative must have failed from the start. TEM software solutions based on this premise failed to produce significant ROI after the company made a large investment.
The combination of expert knowledge and the installation of far more complex software can mean a smoother transition and less need for problem solving. Furthermore, because there is little need for client participation from a technical point of view during implementation, SaaS TEM providers can offer project timelines with a good degree of accuracy and configure specific systems for each company’s specific hierarchy. This benefits clients and service providers by eliminating uncertainty in the placement schedule.
In addition, scalability has never been a problem. Companies don’t need to buy additional servers or hardware to increase the amount of data stored. More importantly, companies don’t have to worry about developing a new process to handle new data feeds. It is handled by vendors in the back and transparent to end users, allowing them to focus on data analysis, debate costs, or run reports.
Prevent Bootleg – Data and Security in the SaaS Environment
We all know the Hollywood struggle to prevent pirates, an effort that requires the use of strong encryption to prevent piracy. In many of the same ways, organizations in the past were reluctant to have data stored outside the office for fear of security breaches. With the advent of IPSec VPN, this roadblock has been removed.
IPSec VPN offers a very high level of data encryption, coupled with a hardened data center that offers economies of scale. Vendors routinely back up data and send it to disaster recovery facilities outside the office. Uptime and disaster recovery services are built into the SLA, ensuring that clients can operate quickly and that vendors adhere to the highest level of security standards. Although it is understandable that organizations want control, reputation and feasibility of SaaS depends on handling data with extreme sensitivity.
Production – Maintenance
With a SaaS solution, every problem that occurs can usually be corrected faster because of the centralized nature of the service. Software-based solutions often require on-site visits, which naturally delay problem solving efforts. The SaaS solution avoids this delay and reduces downtime. In addition, SaaS solutions generally have 24×7 monitoring and management, which means maintenance problems can be quickly and efficiently addressed because most equipment is centrally located. To achieve the same service speed with software-based solutions will require a set of expert technicians in place, and the resulting costs will likely be a barrier.
System updates can be managed more easily with SaaS solutions than with software-based solutions. TEM vendors manage updates and launch them when ready, making a pain-free transition. In addition, with the SaaS solution, operational expenses are fixed and predictable, which in turn helps in cash flow planning. With software-based solutions, operational expenses can increase unexpectedly when problems occur.
Data Analysis – The True Blockbuster
The point is that, in the world of telecom expenditure management, SaaS solutions enable businesses to concentrate on activities that generate income and the areas of their business that they do well. In areas where their knowledge is limited – like TEM – businesses can give responsibility to vendors who have real expertise. Once an organization has implemented an on-demand TEM solution, they immediately gain increased visibility for their telecom spending and rise and run in weeks versus six to 12 months. This allows companies to start analyzing their data to make more informed purchasing decisions and identify areas where more cost-effective services can be used. By using on-demand solutions, organizations no longer struggle with loading data and maintaining systems, but instead spend time controlling telecommunication costs by digging deep into data they have never had access to before.
Just as Netflix and demand-based movies have changed the way we rent films, SaaS for TEM has pulled back the curtain for the next generation TEM solution. TEM vendors can utilize their expertise in electronic data processing to give the company a truly comprehensive TEM solution that presents data accurately in a safe and easy to use interface. While software-based solutions provide companies with the comfort level of perceived control, the TEM environment offers correct control, with the ability to analyze detailed data that can produce consistent savings. And that makes the end of Hollywood’s classic happy story.