How to Look in the Mirror! Self-Assessment in Telecommunications

April 20, 2017

In my last blog titled “Look in the Mirror: A telecom reality check” I was amazed at the attention it got, the phone calls and notes I received, and how many agreed it was time to self-assess. The thought about looking into the mirror and realizing that some of the issues faced in a Telecom/IT environment are caused by staff on the company’s internal teams can be humbling. The reality is that with a concerted effort to look in the mirror and make changes based on what you find, your environment can improve both operationally and financially.

I explained my 5 step “Telecom Nirvana” which at the end of the day is just straight forward common sense. If you do not follow steps in any endeavor and jump to the end, how can you ever expect success? If you do not use the instructions putting together that multi part whatever you just bought, two things are going to happen. One, it is going to take you far longer to put together because you are not following the right sequence of events. Two, there is a strong likelihood that you will believe you are finished and realize you left something out or did not connect something properly. Either way you have wasted time, effort, and dollars not following tried and true steps.

Scott’s “Telecom Nirvana” 1. Inventory 2. Optimization 3. Process and Procedures 4. Performance Measurement 5. Outsourcing. The questions coming back to me over the past weeks were “How do I look in the mirror, what do I look for, what are the signs that there are problems”? To answer that I offer a series of questions to ask yourself, your staff, your executives, etc. If you find that you come up with more “NO” than “YES” you have some work to do.

Do executives support you in creation of policy, and holding staff accountable to those policies?

Do you keep track of both positive and negative impacts you make in the Telecom/IT arena?

Do you maintain report cards of all your vendors? Do you hold them accountable to SLA’s and Contract Terms?

Do you maintain “accurate” inventory of all services, lines, devices, contracts, and costs related to Telecom/IT for both fixed and mobile?

Do you outsource anything to a third party? If so are you measuring their performance both against verbal and contractual commitments?

Are you part of or involved in the “strategic” discussions and direction in Telecom/IT? If not involved in those discussions are you still responsible for the outcomes?

Are all move, add, and change functions done by the same group, in the same way, with the same follow up?

Are all Telecom/IT invoices managed and processed by the same group, in the same way, with the same follow up?

Do those who deal with the financial side of Telecom/IT also have access to all contracts, are they tied into all move, add, and change activity? Are they consulted before, during, and after any change?

I could post a hundred questions to ask yourselves but I think the few above will suffice. If you say “NO” more than you say yes to these questions there is strong potential for financial and operational loss as well as high risk to your company.

Far too many times I see companies with a False Sense of Reality or better said The Illusion of Control. You must be able to admit that some of the issues and frustrations are being driven by things not being controlled internally by your team. Playing the blame game on vendors, that all wrongs in your company are the vendors fault does not always apply. Having accountability, timelines, and a measuring stick for success are critical today in Telecom/IT departments. Looking both internally and externally before you point the finger creates more solid and productive relationships with your vendors.

Every enterprise wants to “save money” but if you cannot sustain those savings over time then you have wasted time. Fixing over and over the same problem is not fixing anything at all. Find the problem, determine the Root Cause of the problem, fix the problem, build a policy to follow going forward, then measure success of that policy or process. My dream is to see vendors and all the Telecom and IT end users of those services big or small across the globe work more effectively together. There is no need to throw rocks at each other. Vendors, you need to be more agile in reporting and taking responsibility. End users you need to be more proactive than reactive and control more of your own destiny. By better aligning with each other both sides save time, effort, and dollars! My hope is that you will take time to honestly self-assess with a few of the questions I have provided and have a reality check.

If you have questions please feel free to reach out to me via email at  or by phone at 812-302-4700.

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Bloomington, IN. 47401
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