Elements of Telemanagement

From our perspective, there are three elements of telecommunications management, or as we like to call it, “telemanagement”.

  1. Telecommunications Expense Management (TEM) – A system or service focused on the management of various telecom vendors and their associated contracts and payments
  2. Call Accounting – A system or service which provides for the internal charge-back to various groups within the organization and also network, human resource, and systems performance analysis
  3. Communications Facilities Management – Tracking of equipment, virtual and wired network circuitry, and work orders to improve the efficiency of the telecommunications  or IT departments

Matsch is focused on providing web-based, hosted call accounting services that are economical and easy to manage.  Our primary goal is to provide users the benefits of call accounting without the burdens typically associated with such a system.

Virtually all institutions have had a call accounting system at one time or another.  Over time, the cost of providing telecommunications services has come down significantly, thereby reducing the need to charge back for these services (think long-distance rates).  Many would argue that it is a poor business decision to purchase software or subscribe to a service in order to ‘properly’ distribute these costs.  In many cases businesses make the decision to abandon their call accounting in order to save the real money associated with managing the system or service.  While there is no point disputing the direct savings from such a move, many neglect to fully realize the long-term implications.  Situations arise where having ready access to telecom data can have an impact on safety and legal concerns, such as harassment claims.  Another situation might be related to customer service complaints.  Isn’t it a good thing to know if in fact the customer who complains about poor service was called fifteen times in the past two weeks, but failed to return YOUR calls?  Many of our customers use our software to help them manage the most significant expense in their enterprise – People!  Reporting can enable management to promote good behavior, and similarly address those who may be misusing company resources.

Matsch has been refining its solution to the call accounting problem with a SaaS (Software as a Service) based service offering.  Our solution enables you to have as much or as little interaction as you choose with your call detail, in a cost-effective manner.  Those organizations with 2000 extensions or less pay only $600 for setup and $300/month service fee for our NET-Phacs SaaS Call Accounting.  This service provides basic call accounting with daily and monthly reporting, query access to a full year of call detail (incoming, outbound, and internal), chargeback reporting, and general ledger export file creation in a format you define.  NET-Phacs works with both serial and IP CDR, and includes importing or entering your directory database at setup.

My Wireless Expenses are Killing Me!

While analyzing cellular data for a prospective client it became apparent that they were being hit by overage charges unnecessarily. This particular employer provides over 300 cell phone subscriptions to its employees in a corporate liable environment that is less than fully managed.  One of their carriers billed $11,274 for 120 subscribers in the month of October.  On the surface, you might think this is not an unreasonable amount.  Upon closer inspection however, it was discovered that there were overage charges of $822, international roaming charges of $603, and directory assistance charges of $131.  That’s over $1500 or 14% of the total bill that was due to improper provisioning and possible misuse!  Amazingly, the overage charges were incurred in spite of the fact that as a whole, the company used roughly half of the minutes they purchased from the carrier  (approx. 45,000 of the 80,000 peak minutes purchased were actually used).

Public and private sector employers can avoid situations like the one above and thereby optimize their communication spend dollar.  Proper analysis and reporting are required if employers are to effectively manage their wireless expenses.  This analysis can be tedious and frustrating, however working with a Software as a Service provider like Matsch can offer tremendous benefits.  Imagine being able to distribute costs equitably (with no manual entry required!), having high quality reporting available to all levels of management, and having a set of professionals available who work with this data every day!  Contact Matsch (info@matsch.com) to see how we can help you take the pain out of managing your cellular expenses!

Fall 2009 ACUTA Conference in Portland, OR (Oct. 25th – 28th)

Track 1: Managing and Financing the Converged Environment
Track 2: Mobility and Wireless – Where Are We Going?

Matsch recently exhibited at the Fall ACUTA (The Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education) Conference and found it to be a very worthwhile event. Matsch discussed its PBX, VoIP, Wireless, and Cellular management service offerings with the attendees. Many of whom complimented our approach and efficiency for helping them to manage their telecom environment effectively. We also provided attendees with our recent whitepaper on “Employer Provided Cell Phone Reality”. ACUTA attendees were presented the latest information on PBX, VoIP, Wireless Networking, and Cellular services. Matsch strongly supports the networking opportunities and direct access to critical knowledge offered by ACUTA and organizations like ACUTA http://www.acuta.org

NET-Services Upgrade!

In an attempt to make the transition to the new NET-Phacs, NET-Phacs Plus, and NET-Bill as smooth for our customers as possible, we have been testing our new software exhaustively! It’s now time to ‘take the leap’ and put the new software into production. This is scheduled for the week of October 12th.

Prior to that week, we will be testing communications to/from all our customers, including resolving any firewall issues and the like. Likely this will be unnoticeable to our customers, however if anything seems out of place or unusual, feel free to call us anytime.

What you will notice once the transition is complete:

  • Updated look!  This will be immediately obvious, and we welcome your feedback!
  • Increased ‘Uptime’
  • Faster response times

As with all of our efforts at Matsch, we strive to keep the best interests of our customers in mind.  We are always looking for ways to improve and add to our existing products, so if you have an idea, we’d be glad to hear from you!


The Matsch Team

IRS Enforcement of Wireless Devices as ‘Listed Property’ seems Sketchy

Last week we were quite interested to find out about an employer that had in fact been audited by the IRS for compliance on this issue. As most of us know, many larger employers have decided to implement a stipend policy in an attempt to avoid the possibility of an audit. While some employers feel this makes sense for them, they may want to reconsider once they see Matsch’s upcoming whitepaper on stipends and their effect on employer cell phone costs. In any event, it is a topic that many involved with telecom are wary of.

The official IRS wording of the rule is actually straightforward in that it requires employers to document the personal use of employer-provided cell phones. Though most employers believe this would be burdensome, it is not nearly as burdensome as they think it is, and is a lot less expensive than the other options. The thing that interested us as Cellular Information Management service providers is that the end result of this specific audit was that each employee with a provided cell phone would pay the IRS (directly via payroll deduction) a flat tax payment per month via payroll deduction! Let that sink in for a moment…

As you might imagine, some of the employees of this organization were a little ahem… ‘put out’ by the decision. Though this is a seemingly simple thing to do, and is much more acceptable to the employer, since it resolves all their concerns regarding IRS compliance, it is hardly fair to those employees that did not use their employer provided cell phones for personal use, but purchased their own personal plans

Stay tuned for more on this topic!!

NET-Phacs Gets a Facelift

Yup, every once in awhile you have to look in the mirror and face some unpleasant facts.  That’s a large part of what we’ve been doing over the past year or so at Matsch.  And even though our extremely loyal customers are mostly very fond of brown and orange, we thought maybe, just maybe, they’d like a little different feel from that which they’ve grown accustomed to over the past several years!  That’s our long-winded way of saying that we’ve been updating the look and feel of our NET-Phacs products.  This is a ‘first step’ in what we hope will be a series of product enhancements coming down the pike.

2009 WMTA Golf Outing

Matsch will be in attendance at the 2009 WMTA Golf Outing on June 12th.  This year’s event will be hosted by ‘The Meadows’ at Grand Valley State University.

Matsch website upgrade

Matsch Systems recently upgraded their website.  Many thanks to our friends at Imagination Factory for giving us a fresh new website!  It’s been a long time coming but we finally made the investment, and are happy with the results.  Kate, Kelly and Ted were a pleasure to work with, and did an outstanding job given the time constraints on this project.  We look forward to continuing this new relationship.

2009 Annual ACUTA Conference – Atlanta, GA

Matsch was pleased to attend and present its telemanagement solutions at the recent 2009 Annual ACUTA Conference in Atlanta.  ACUTA is ‘The Association of Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education’ focusing on the wired and wireless communications needs of the modern campus http://www.acuta.org.

Matsch In The News..

The following is an article published in Telephony magazine about our services for Ruth Goldman with the State of Michigan Department of Social Services.

Eye On The Customer

When her call accounting system started to crash two years ago, Ruth Goldman knew it was time to upgrade. That was the easy decision. Determining what to upgrade to would take some time; not a choice to be taken lightly. For Goldman is telecom administrator for Michigan’s Family Dependent Agency, a Lansing-based office that delivers Medicaid, food stamps, foster care adoption, and other services.
The new call accounting system, Goldman knew, potentially would have to serve up to 153 statewide agency offices, 118 phone switches, and 16,000 employees. The solution would also have to deliver functionality not available on the agency’s 12-year-old Stout system: call detail records by extension number; traffic analysis to help the agency optimize and speedily service its voice network; and less hand-holding.
“The most cost-effective solution, we decided, was to outsource the service,” says Goldman.
The agency, with a nod from the state’s Department of Management and Budget, selected Net-Phacs from Matsch Systems (Grand Rapids, MI) for a pilot project. The service lets users access call detail records by logging onto a password-protected Web site. Call data is collected via a modem (a Linux-based buffering device) connected to each office’s PBX. The modems transmit the call data to a Net-Phacs server at Matsch Systems where the records are formatted.
The Web service offers daily traffic reports for local and long distance calls, 800 numbers dialed, intraLATA/interLATA calls, and directory assistance, among other data. The service also lets agency personnel download and email reports to colleagues – an especially useful feature for telecom budgeting, says Goldman.
Some 32 agency offices are involved in the pilot. After the trial, the state office aims to request competitive bids from several call accounting service providers. Judging from Goldman’s assessment, Net-Phacs looks to be the odds-on favorite.
“It’s a great management tool,” she says. “The service lets us know, for example, whether we have a shortage or surplus of phones and trunks. And it can tell us that some trunks aren’t working. That’s helped to cut back on finger-pointing and speed repairs when problems arise.”
Also a key benefit, she says, is the service’s fixed monthly fee. Matsch Systems charges for call records based on the number of phone extensions connected to the Web service. Other call accounting services, says Goldman, charge based on the number of calls, which for the state agency can vary widely from month to month.
Can the service use some improvements? “None that I think of,” says Goldman. “It’s very user-friendly.”

This article is reprinted with permission. To view the original article, visit Callcentermagazine.com

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