When Automated Telecom Expense Management Makes Sense


McClatchy a powerhouse media company, started as a single, four-page newspaper in 1857 in Sacramento, Calif. Currently, it employs 4,200 people, operates 30 media companies in 14 states, and gets billions of page views annually. However, at McClatchy, telecom expense management had been an issue.

It hired LinkSource, recognized on the Pioneer 250 of CRN’s 2018 Managed Service Provider 500 list for providing superior full lifecycle technology managed services, to do a telecom audit. This meant all inventory, all contracts, and all services had been verified and put in shape. Upon completion of the review, LinkSource suggested that McClatchy sign up for automated telecom expense management because:

  • The company had several disparate locations
  • Some locations paid their own bills; some were paid by corporate
  • There was no standard approval process for invoices in place

However, McLatchy declined. It assumed that since the telecom audit was complete, and everything was accounted for and under control, it could keep it that way itself. In essence, it believed, “Well we’re fine now. We know what we have. We know what we’re paying.”

The Telecom Expense Problem

But that’s not how things turned out. LinkSource, which still managed McClatchy’s telecom bills, was spending approximately 80 hours a month:

  • Manually doing everything
  • Collecting and reconciling bills
  • Waiting for approvals

During the three years that LinkSource was managing the bills — with McClatchy still not on an automated telecom expense management system — LinkSource discovered:

  • The company had been paying for telecom services that were no longer being used. In each of the three instances, this amounted to $3,000 a month down the drain.
  • Inventory was inaccurate. LinkSource tried to pull an internet inventory for an upgrade project it was to do and found the inventory was out of date and inaccurate.
  • Invoices were missing. When LinkSource tried to migrate from PRI to SIP, it found invoices were missing for the lines that needed to be ported, which caused delays in the migration.

LinkSource brought its findings to McClatchy management. They realized they’d been in denial and bit the bullet. They decided to go with an automated telecom expense management tool, which was a great move given that LinkSource has saved its clients over $1.6 billion on telecom expenses since 1998, while managing over $500 million in carrier contracts and over 150,000 mobile devices.

The Automated Telecom Expense Management Solution

In short, telecom expense management is a set of processes designed to manage and optimize both wired and mobile communication services, including data and voice usage, so that telecom expenses can be managed efficiently.


…an automated telecom expense management tool can be a hard sell because it’s really more of a cost-avoidance tool rather than a cost-savings tool. And, it’s really most effective for companies with more than $300,000 a month in telecom expenses.

However, given what McClatchy was paying for 80 hours a month of LinkSource’s time, the thousands it was paying for unused telecom services, and the cost involved in the time to find missing inventory and invoices, cost avoidance would prove to be a very good thing.

In addition, automated telecom expense management can:

  • Give you insight into your entire telecom landscape
  • Provide the ability to get granular for department-level insights
  • Manage multiple carriers and vendors
  • Oversee operations in an automated, quick fashion
  • Control and reduce unnecessary costs
  • Provide tools needed to take care of invoice processing, review contracts, dispute resolution, and optimize and allocate expenses to different cost centers
  • Secure and control who sees and does what
  • Standardize approval and payment processes
  • Create an environment where future projects become significantly easier to plan

Implementing a Telecom Expense Management Solution

LinkSource chose to use Sakon’s expense management tool because it provided an easy-to-use portal to upload and track all telecom information.

Training and familiarizing McClatchy’s departments to use the tool took just over 4 months.

Implementation included:

  • A procurement overview workshop
  • An AP workshop with trainers to learn how to process bills
  • A variety of mini-workshops to tie all the pieces together in an easy-to-understand and easy-to-use way

The LinkSource Advantage

Because LinkSource understood what McClatchy needed, it was able to create a workable workflow approval process that was automated, standardized, and tracked. Because LinkSource had previous relationships with most telecom vendors, it was able to overcome roadblocks with carriers, making implementation delays non-existent. Leveraging LinkSource’ years of experience in telecom expense management, they can save you an average of 35% on your telecom cost.

But, perhaps LinkSource’s biggest advantage is its “laser-like customer service focus.” As Terry Geiger, McClatchy’s director of corporate IT, puts it: “They strive to understand our business, understand our needs, and look for solutions that are going to be appropriate and fit our business.”

Give us a call at 916-757-100. We can help you keep your bottom line healthy and happy.


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