IT professionals shoulder the brunt of challenges when it comes to in-house telecom cost and invoice management. Outsourcing operational tasks to a telecom expense management (TEM) firm can decrease spend and increase visibility in telecom environments, allowing for more accurate budget and technological forecasting.
More than two decades in the Telecom Expense Management (TEM) industry has taught our team at Ruby+Solberg about the fast pace of business and technology. For your company to remain competitive, you need to safeguard your most valuable resource — time — by outsourcing data/telecom fee negotiation, payments and management.
Long-distance telephone calls were once the thorn in every businesses’ side. Prior to the 1990s, telecommunications was mostly a monopoly run by AT&T who owned control and access over the nation’s copper phone lines. When the federal government started to deregulate the industry and new competitors entered the market, Ruby+Solberg founder David Solberg saw an opportunity — one that could save businesses more than 50% on their long-distance fees.
With a background in cost containment business as a CPA and tax attorney, Solberg’s specialty was in saving clients money. “When I learned almost every company was paying too much for things they needed and for things they didn’t even need,” Solberg recalled, “I switched from taxes to telecom.”
Solberg founded Ruby+Solberg in 1994 and quickly began auditing Oregon-area businesses. He discovered that most were paying upwards of $1.50 per minute for long distance, and was able to negotiate these fees with another carrier down to $.40 per minute or less. For Fortune 500 companies, that resulted in tens of thousands of dollars in savings each month.
“I came to realize there were numerous billing errors in telecom invoices and billing alternatives that businesses weren’t aware of,” he said. “It was an exciting time when we started saving companies on more than just long-distance calls but on local calls, contract negotiations and more. The deeper we dug the more we discovered ways to cut down companies’ bills.
New Technologies — Steadfast Savings
Ruby+Solberg pioneered the TEM industry in the Northwest and provided an advantage over telecom consultants. The company is 100% independently owned and operated — not contracted by or affiliated with telecom carriers. While the company was successful as an auditing firm, it became apparent in the early 2000s that companies needed more than just a one-time telecom cost audit.
“We’d get bills reduced to a good level and without fail costs would creep back in,” Solberg said. “In order to improve the process we began offering Validated Telecom Billing which allowed us to receive, process, pay, dispute, analyze and manage all telecom expenses.”
While long distance is no longer a primary telecom issue for businesses, the evolving complexities of invoice and mobile expense management, cost recovery and contract negotiations continue to plague companies. Internal AP and IT departments simply aren’t equipped with the time, expertise or resources to identify and resolve costly monthly billing errors. By outsourcing these tasks to Ruby+Solberg, businesses save time and money.
“Over the decades the technologies have changed but the basic concept hasn’t,” Solberg said. “Because we scrutinize bills and negotiate fees from so many different businesses, industries and vendors, we’re able to predict changes and continue to stay ahead of the curve.”
Telecom Expense Management Software
In 2005, Ruby+Solberg pledged to stay ahead of the curve through the use of TEM software. The software allows analysts to take paper based bills — traditionally used in the industry — and upload and analyze them electronically through a web portal. This software is so responsive it can even run savings routines to point out anomalies and identify key areas of savings.
“We have more than 12 years experience using this sophisticated software. While all the large corporations realize its vital role in TEM and bill outsourcing, our niche is use this software to service small -and medium-size businesses,” he said.
Ruby+Solberg combines its years of in-house expertise with the analytical software to ensure these businesses have the same purchasing power and vendor advantages as Fortune 500 companies. As companies and their workforces become increasingly digital, so too will their reliance on savvy TEM.
“Telecom bills are complex. They require IT and accounting oversight, and most importantly they require time, and that is where we have our processes so refined that we can do it better, faster and cheaper than most companies can do it internally,” he said. “You don’t have to be a big business to benefit from what we are offering.”