Thursday, 22 December 2011

Devious Telecoms Account Managers

Purely by accident we've have been sent a contract renewal notice for 24 months of telecomms services that was meant for one of our previous clients. We've of course rejected the notice as we should not have seen it and sent a copy of our rejection to our contact in the client's offices.

We couldn't help noticing however that the contract renewal has subtly changed from the original terms of contract which we helped to set up a couple of years ago. Part of our services is to help to reduce the cost of telecoms for our clients. We don't charge any extra for this, but by careful sourcing we can typically halve the operational telecoms costs for our clients. In this case we'd arranged that all outgoing calls would be directed via another vendor B resulting in substantial savings, on our advice our client rented only the incoming phone lines  from the vendor A (who wrongly sent us the contract renewal mentioned above). Vendor A had previously been the route for outgoing traffic, but had been grossly overcharging for voice traffic. Needless to say the Vendor A account manager was quite distressed when an assumed revenue stream dried up; he'd not listened to our clear warnings.

We noticed in the new contract, from Vendor A, that they've now bundled an outgoing calls package in the price with a "minimum committed annual usage." There are now no technical personnel on the site of the client office and they've outsourced support to a large Indian offshore company. At a stroke whoever agreed to the "renewal" in our client has committed them to 24 months additional expenditure on outgoing calls they will not use. This will result in ten's of thousands of pounds of additional expenditure. It just goes to show that a lack of knowledge can be very expensive when it comes to telecoms technology.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Throw out your Servers!!

If you are responsible for a business that uses computers you should do the company a big favour and try out Gmail and Google Docs. You might find it can replace many of your servers and save your company a lot of money on software licensing. Have a look at this BusinessReview Europe article, it gives an interesting view on the expansion of Gmail and Google Docs.

At the very least you should ask what is the total annual cost of running local servers for email, office software for wordprocessing spreadsheet collaboration. The cost of running the desktop PC's and continual software upgrades. Take the total finance cost, capital write down, licensing costs, support costs, maintenance, electric power costs, cooling costs etc to develop a holistic view. Then add the cost of providing a business continuity facility for those services.  Take total annual cost and divide it by the number of people actively using the system. If the result comes to more than £35 a year per person you need to look more seriously at gmail and google docs. I'll exclude highly variable printing costs from this, but they'd be the same with either approach.

It is free to try.

If you are paying more than £350 to purchase a desktop PC (including software) once every four years to have a problem with your current arrangements. If your desktop PC uses more than 30 Watts power you could be paying too much in operating costs for the electrical power. There are better performing and lower cost alternatives.

Here's an example for 3500 staff at Hillingdon Council using Google Apps.

I'll happily chat with people about this on the phone. No charge!

Monday, 12 December 2011

EU Almost treaty

Once the media fanfare dies down over the UK Prime Minister Cameron's exercising the Veto on the attempted Merkozy Treaty, we'll see that the proposals contain no real solution to the problems besetting the Euro. It is like an Office Administrator applying rules on dress code when the primary business is failing. Once again European banks are increasingly distrustful of lending to each other. They are trapped on the deepening sides of a financial vortex.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Have you planned your next volcano?

The large Icelandic volcano Katla is rumbling and showing real signs of eruption. If that happens it could last for weeks and significantly impact air travel within europe. It could be potentially much worse that the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in 2010.
Make sure that your organisation's travel plans take this into account. Improve your video conferencing capability and avoid those long distance trips which are not really necessary. Travel planners should have alternate routing available.
If your organisation who was courageous enough to use an Iceland Data Center to offshore your computer operations you'd best say a little prayer. In 1783 the Katla eruptions killed one in five icelanders. It can get really bad!