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Use a Contract Audit to Help Telecom Expense Management

Apr 25, 2018 6:19:35 AM

DocuSign

Telecom expense management hadn’t been a top priority at DocuSign. That’s what Brian Wise found soon after he took on a VP role at DocuSign.

He’d previously been at Coherent where he oversaw the IT network including the telecom aspect and had worked with LinkSource, a telecom and cloud managed services provider, to help manage the backend of things there, including telecom billing, monitoring the network, optimizing operations, and tacking inventory.

A few weeks after familiarizing himself with DocuSign, its headquarters in San Francisco, its nine other locations around the globe and its 3,000+ employees, he was confounded by what he’d discovered.

Telecom Expense

Oh, the Pain!

The IT spend was off the charts, inventory was scattered over a multitude of providers — some of whom he’d never even heard of — and tons of circuits were hanging off the walls that were still being paid for but not even plugged into any equipment

All told, DocuSign had been wasting between 12% to 15% of its IT spend, with much of it coming from headquarters alone. It wasn’t that no one knew about the unused circuits, it was that they’d become leery about looking at them, afraid they’d mistakenly take down something that was in use.

The Solution? A Contract and Inventory Audit

Wise called the people he knew at LinkSource, knowing he’d need to get a handle on telecom expense management. LinkSource suggested — and conducted — an inventory and contract audit.

How the Audit Works to Aid Telecom Expense Management

At DocuSign, telecom expenses had gone through the roof, in part because of a lack of procedures in place and in part because of the ways decentralized equipment and services were added. LinkSource discovered this — and remedied it — by going through a painstaking contract audit.

Stages of the Audit

INITIAL: The first step of the audit involved the gathering of bills from all service providers and telecom vendors at all 10 DocuSign locations. That was followed by:

  • Going through each telecom’s online portal — if they had one — to check billing, equipment, and more
  • Conducting a full global inventory of voice, data, and internet lines
  • Categorizing lines such as PRI, SIB, DSL, private lines services and MPLS
  • Going through the Letter of Acceptance process and calling each provider that had billed DocuSign and requesting full inventories from soup to nuts to make sure they were truly a DocuSign provider. Some were not.

REVIEW: Once everything was inventoried, and all the bills gathered, LinkSource:

  • Manually reviewed all the bills, ensured the port matched the ID on the invoice
  • Called providers to review equipment purchases
  • Noted which telecom contracts were in term, out of term, and near expiration
  • Analyzed where savings could be found and where services didn’t make sense

CLEAN UP: Once LinkSource had a complete telecom inventory, all DocuSign’s telecom contacts, all its bills and more, it was ready to create a plan. The first step was to meet with Wise and senior executives to explain what they currently had, what they really needed, and then explain how LinkSource would clean it up:

  • Rid of expensive and local circuits like DSL with no SOAs, no guarantees
  • Replace with true quality services with SLAs behind them and customer service
  • Obtain true access to each telecom’s portal so Wise’s department could be very self-sufficient and have more control over the network

Adding Technology to the Audit for Better Telecom Expense Management

LinkSource did most of DocuSign’s audit manually. It has since started using Sakon’s (formerly GSG Telco) financial software with a portal, which significantly aids in telecom expense management. The system allows:

  • The loading of all inventory, bills, and hosts
  • Hundreds of ways to search — by location, account number, status, whatever
  • The IT team to move from checking the accuracy of bills to approval for payment
  • The IT team to pull reports and customize them

Telecom Expenses Now Under Control

Now DocuSign knows exactly what telecom services it has, what equipment, and what its spend is. In addition, it:

  • Now has one solid primary voice provider that covers a lot of the globe
  • Experienced bottom-line savings because waste was eradicated
  • Has standard procedures to follow when setting up new locations to save on telecom costs
  • Installed SIP lines
  • Cleaned up duplication between IT and production sides of the company — leading to the production side wanting something similar

The LinkSource Advantage

So now there’s a protocol in place — a cookie-cutter-type process where the client doesn’t have to worry about too much when it wants to deploy a brand new office. LinkSource just adds on a node and is able to deploy the needed telecom services with the same budgeting, same strategy, plan for growth, and asset management all in place — no matter where the new location is.

That’s all well and good, but it happens because of the trust we’ve earned from DocuSign and the fact that it really is a partnership between the client and LinkSource. And that partnership is what creates the value-add position we bring to DocuSign.