Hattiesburg’s Cynergy aims to help Army guard cut cell phone bill
by Ted Carter
Published: August 5,2012
The Mississippi Army National Guard has hired Hattiesburg’s Cynergy Services to be its eyes and ears in an often-confusing mobile phone marketplace from which the Guard buys services for 1,000-plus cell phones. Success will be measured in how much whittling the telecommunications expense management firm can do on the Guard’s monthly bill without sacrificing service quality.
It’s a six-month trial that Army Guard officials in other states as well as other state agencies within Mississippi will monitor in deciding whether to hire their own watchdogs, said Lt. Col. Garry Ladd, a Mississippi Guard IT officer and branch chief based in Jackson.
“They are watching to see if it is worth the money for them to try,” Ladd said.
Results are promising so far, the lieutenant colonel noted. “We’re already seeing significant savings – that’s the main thing.”
Cynergy’s promotional material boasts the company can achieve an average of 15 percent to 20 percent telecom savings for its clients.
Ladd said the Guard does not have a specific percentage of savings in mind but simply wants to show “we’re truly saving money. And not just on paper.”
The state’s Army National Guard limits its cell phone distribution to full-time personnel and key leaders within the organization, according to Ladd.
But with the constant comings and goings of members around the state, nation and world “it’s easy to lose track of the phones.”
Knowing each phone’s whereabouts – or at least to whom it is assigned – and the phone’s plan and all its features is but one part of Cynergy’s job, said John Schroder, company principal and general manager.
“The Guard’s cell phone footprint is really ever growing. I saw this (6-month trial) as a means to really streamline what they are doing.”
In addition to inventory control and regular rate plan analysis, Cynergy studies how Guard members are using their mobile devices and what plans are available to best fit each usage, Schroder said.
To do this, Cynergy relies heavily on its proprietary software, especially to improve on existing processes and automate where possible, he added.
“We can make a good process a great process.”
Schroder describes his 5-year-old firm as “carrier agnostic,” meaning the focus is on a company’s rates and offerings rather than its name.
Company founders Jason Cuculla, former president & CEO of TalkSouth Inc., and Bryan Schroder, former VP of sales for TalkSouth, have their origins working with landline carriers such as AT&T. “The way we really started was when regular landline long distance was 20 cents a minute,” John Schroder said.
“Eventually, those rates went down and we went into the managed services” as well as managed solutions such as office networks.
Today, Cynergy is a subagent for 40 different landline carriers. “That’s really what we’re kind of born of,” Schroder said. “It allows us to provide multiple options for folks across a lot of different arenas. We’re not tethered to any one carrier.”
Founded in 2007, Cynergy Services launched its mobile phone expense management service four years ago, adding the service to a lineup that included local, long distance, data and Internet telecom services.
Its direct services reach beyond Mississippi to Louisiana, Alabama and Tennessee. Cynergy also has clients across the United States and Canada, according to the company website.
Cynergy co-founder Cuculla said helping the Mississippi Guard reign in costs is especially critical “in these difficult budget times.”
Making talk cheaper is a good place to start, the company says.
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