TELECOM OPTIMIZATION STRATEGIES DURING COVID-19

With most, if not all, of your employees working from home, a company’s ability to survive and succeed in today’s times is very much dependent upon the ability of its employees to seamlessly communicate with each other as well as the company’s business partners and customers. However, your “pre-COVID-19” telecom environment was not set up to handle the current crisis. As a result, certain telecom services may need to be increased while others decreased, but you no longer can rely on historical consumption as a predictor of future usage. Therefore, it is of paramount importance during these times constantly monitor telecom usage to see what trends develop. The following telecom services should be analyzed to assure that the operational needs of your remote workers are being met and, as importantly, you are not overspending for underutilized or unused services:

 

Mobility: Many employees are using their mobile phones (whether corporate-owned or individual-liable) to conduct business when working from home. This increased usage is currently estimated to be 30% for corporate-liable devices and an even larger spike for individual-liable devices. Some mobility considerations include:

a. Is there a need to issue additional corporate-owned phones to remote employees? If so, are you able to procure these devices at a reasonable price within a reasonable time period? Because of shortages of devices/equipment caused by the COVID-19, you may want to consider deferring device upgrades, prioritizing replacements of broken devices, and purchasing certified pre-owned (CPO) devices.

b. Are your voice and data pools structured appropriately to avoid overage costs?

c. Can you cancel or suspend certain mobile features that are not being used (e.g., global roaming)?

d. Do your mobility policies for corporate-owned and individual-liable devices need to be modified to address today’s situation?

 

Audio/Video Conferencing: Conferencing is now the main way to communicate with fellow employees, business partners and customers. Some considerations related to conferencing usage include:

a. Do you have enough licenses to allow remote employees to use these services?

b. What is the procedure for purchasing additional licenses? Minimum blocks?

c. What minimal features (e.g., audio vs. video) are needed to allow additional employees to function?

d. Is there a discount in license fees as a result of increasing the license count? Can “temporary” licenses be issued, at a reduced or no fee, for the period in which employees are working from home?

 

VPN: Virtual private networks allow employees to remotely access company data through a secure internet connection. Some considerations related to VPN usage include:

a. Are there enough licenses for remote employees to use VPN? Do they have enough local bandwidth?

b. Do you have enough network bandwidth into your facility to handle the data transmitted by remote employees? Note that the demand for bandwidth (and other “wired” services) may actually decrease.

c. Are you exceeding data caps with your ISP?

d. Do you have enough capacity in your server(s) to accommodate all your VPN users?

 

Software: In order to be productive at home, your employees may need to use software not previously available to them at the office. While the required software will vary by company, some software-related considerations include:

a. Do your remote employees need VoIP or UCaaS access to make and receive phone calls?

b. Do you have enough MDM/UEM software licenses for installation on each laptop and mobile device?

c. Should document sharing and storage protocols be revised to address the new work environment?

 

The wholesale change of employees working from home has posed telecom-related challenges on every IT Department. To be sure, telecom needs will change as your remote workers continue to adapt to working from home. The best advice we can give is “don’t overreact too quickly.” Follow the data and utilization trends to make informed decisions and, of course, listen to your employees.

 

Telergy LLC is a cost management consulting company helping middle-market companies, including professional service firms, reduce and control their Technology, Telecom and Energy costs. To contact Telergy, please send an email to Mark Friedman, Chief Optimization Officer, at mfriedman@telergyllc.com or call 312-736-8900x100.

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