Investing in telecommunications systems and brokering the best possible rates for telecom services are increasingly vital to all kinds of businesses. But with literally thousands of vendors out there, and great variety in different rate plans, making good decisions is complex and time consuming.
That’s why many businesses turn to telecommunications consultants for help.
“Our expertise and objectivity helps to increase our clients’ bottom line,” says Harold Honnoll, executive vice president of Telecommunications Specialists Inc. (TSI), an independent telecommunications consulting firm with offices in Mississippi and Alabama. “Our clients receive benefits from a relationship with TSI that include peace of mind, improved efficiency, higher productivity, cost effective decisions, and cost optimization and savings on telecommunications equipment, long distance service, wireless or cellular service, data and local service.”
TSI averages savings in the long distance market of 40% or greater. Honnoll estimated their equipment negotiation skills save clients about 20% to 30%. And even though they do not guarantee savings in the area of local telephone service, they have developed some savings of 100% for clients since 1992.
Honnell said the tremendous growth in the telecommunications field brings not only competition and consumer choices, but also confusion. “Our firm objectively determines requirements, develops specifications, evaluates proposals and makes recommendations,” he said. “We assist our clientele with choices, stay involved until installation is complete, and ensure that they are completely satisfied.”
Honnoll says that when clients are faced with telecommunications projects, independent telecommunications consultants can provide the following:
• Industry knowledge. Experienced telecommunications consultants possess valuable industry knowledge gained through formal and on-the-job training that can eliminate the need to have an in-house expert. Many smaller companies cannot afford the overhead of a dedicated person of the caliber or experience necessary that an independent consultant can bring to the table.
• Professional negotiation. Consultants interface daily with industry vendors and as such understand the price points and service issues that are available. Vendors normally provide better pricing when consultants are involved.
• Independent consultants are objective. By independent, we mean that residuals or fees are not accepted from anyone other than their clients. This means that the clients’ best interest is always first and foremost, and they get the best prices and service that the industry has to offer.
• Independent consultants are ethical. All client information is always treated in the most confidential manner. Consultants must remain independent of any affiliation with the sale of hardware, software, or any product or service so as to provide unbiased opinions.
Mike Joyner, president, Communications Resource Corp., Gulfport, agreed that the objectivity provided by telecommunication consultants is very helpful.
“There are literally thousands of vendors of services and equipment,” Joyner said. “Everyone is touting their own services and product because that’s how they make money. You need someone who can look objectively at what you need, your problems and your opportunities, and develop something that fits. That takes someone with a lot of experience.”
Joyner, who is a Registered Communication Distribution Designer (RCDD), said it is a huge problem that architects often don’t consider the need for telecommunication’s wiring when planning a building.
“Businesses should be working with architects so that when buildings are being designed, you make accommodations for the wiring that needs to be run,” Joyner said. “The types of wiring needed are not just for what is in use today, but for future technology. There are folks in the industry like myself who keep up and look forward so we know what to expect in coming years, and then we attempt to build those things into the design. It is important that the wiring infrastructure of any building be able to support this technology as it emerges. We try to take clients as far into the future as we can.”
Joyner recommends using a RCDD when selecting a telecommunications consultant. He said it takes a lot of experience to provide good consulting service in the field, and that someone with a couple years of experience doesn’t have the ability to do the job as well as someone who has been in the field a decade or longer.
“The objective is to understand our client’s business, what they’re trying to accomplish, and their budgetary concerns,” he said. “Then we bring together all the equipment and services that will meet their needs. As you can imagine, there are just as many different prices as different equipment and service vendors.”
Contact MBJ staff writer Becky Gillette at firstname.lastname@example.org or (228) 872-3457.