Many Oklahoma firms are only now realizing what many businesses
around the United States have already learned - that
telecommunication costs are on the upswing. Dramatically.
"Our biggest thing is, we're just trying to make people aware that
telecommunication expenses are high, and they're going to get
higher," explained Jim Bowie, co-owner of Teleplanning Associates,
Inc., 5601 NW 72nd St.
"There's going to be a tremendous increase in telecommunications
budgets, and they'll just eat your lunch if you're not prepared for
According to Bowie, telecommunications are the fastest growing
business expense over the last five years, second only to salaries on
many budgets. Yet with a minimum control effort, he estimated costs
could be cut by 20 percent to 30 percent without hurting the quality
Bowie launched Teleplanning Associates with engineer Larry Treas
in June, 1984, on a part-time basis. Both had been employed in the
telecommunications industry for over four years, Bowie as a marketing
agent with AT&T and Treas as chief engineer with Centel.
Three months ago they decided to expand as the metro area's first
full-time telecommunications consulting firm, Bowie said.
"We saw a lot of areas could be controlled, among most medium or
large businesses," he explained.
"In many cases the responsibility (to oversee a firm's
telecommunications) has been delegated to someone with other
obligations. The person responsible for telecommunications is also
the comptroller, or the administrative secretary, someone who can not
delegate their full attention to the problem."
Documenting to departmental usage is necessary to record calls and
cost-justify telecommunications systems, Bowie said. All long
distance companies, for example, send out incorrect bills, he said.
Some analysts have suggested at least 70 percent of phone bills
mailed by phone companies are wrong. In addition, some include
charges for numbers which were busy or not answered, Bowie noted.
Competition among system venders, meanwhile, has brought on
price-cutting that clips profits out of sales, he said. Vendors
therefore rely on maintenance and system moves to make profits, which
effectively removes system control from customers.
"If they give you control of the phone system, teach you how to
move your phone system yourself, they miss out," he explained. "All
the vendors do it.
"It's not a malicious thing; they're not trying to take advantage
of the public. They're just not serving their own self-interests to
sell a system at cost and then teach them (the customer) everything
so that they (vendors) don't have to go in later. …