Phones and internet have become a utility like water or electricity. Folks expect when they turn the tap that water will come out. They also expect when they boot up their computer that Wi-Fi will work. When they hop on the phone they expect you’ll be able to call out. Utilities have become so common place that folks don’t even think about their bills. This can lead to undetected waste. Here are 3 ideas for senior living companies on how to save on telecom costs.
Time for an Audit –
Senior Living companies frequently grow quickly through acquisitions. When companies quickly scale to 20 locations or more, telecom usually isn’t very well managed. Frequently it’s not really anyone’s job to be auditing the services currently used.
In extreme cases this has led to situations where the telecom provider has started charging significant fees. The company ends up paying for outdated POTS lines. Sometimes that goes undetected for years. The bills just kept coming in, and accounting kept paying them without another thought. We’ve seen this add up to thousands of unnecessary charges, and significant waste.
A telecom audit will help you to get a better understanding of what services you have at each location. Working with your IT team you can identify if they are the right services. You can also check current market rates to see if you’re competitive. Prices for internet continue to drop year over year. Faster connections are available for less money. If your service was purchased several years ago, it’s possible that you may have faster options available to you for less money.
Start by talking to the accounting department at each location and ask for a copy of all current telecom bills. Compile a master inventory by location that shows key factors such as provider, speed, and cost. Ask about the phone system as well. Compile that information in the same place.
Once you have the gathered the required details, work with your IT team. They can help determine if current connection speeds and phone systems are the right solutions for your organization. This will also give you a feel for whether solutions are unified across the organization or have been individually selected over the years.
Compile the data is compiled in an easy-to-read format. Then it’s time to work with your IT team. They can help determine if the current solutions are the right fit for those organizations. It will likely be obvious if you have extra connections that you’re paying for that aren’t in use, (yes we have found this for some of our clients) of if you have old connections with insufficient bandwidth.
You may also find legacy systems that you’re still paying for which aren’t in use. An example of this is a client that had an expensive MPLS circuit for years. It was purchased originally so they could access on-premises servers at another location. The function of those servers was moved to a cloud-based application that eliminated the need for the MPLS. The MPLS was not turned off.
When they took on i.t.NOW as their IT provider we did a telecom audit. We determined that they had been paying $2100/mo for this MPLS connection that hadn’t been used for 3 years. That equates to over $75,000 of waste!
Redundant internet connections are not a bad idea, especially if you organization uses a web based EMR software. Just make sure that your IT has configured those connections for automatic failover. If they haven’t, then you’re just paying for a connection you aren’t using.
Unify Solutions Across Locations
Another cost saving idea for Senior Living companies is to unify your solutions across all locations. There is a lot of efficiency to having phones and internet set up the same way across your various facilities. It increases simplicity, drives down support costs and helps to minimize downtime.
Many internet connections are location dependent, so that may be more difficult to unify across the company. Phone systems (especially hosted VOIP) can easily be configured to connect all your offices on a single phone solution if desired.
Uniformity breeds familiarity, and that drives down support costs and improves user experience.
Evaluating your telecom spend across all locations can eliminate waste and save you money. It can also allow you to operate more efficiently. i.t.NOW supports MANY senior living communities across the country. We assist clients with all things IT, including helping to audit their telecom solutions to save them time and money. Reach out anytime for free advice on how to do this for your organization.
Photo by Thirdman: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-doctor-taking-notes-7659868/