Let’s stop overspending on IT purchases.

The SmartSpend™ blog is a resource to help readers save money on IT and Telecom purchases, brought to you by NPI’s consultants and vendor-specific subject matter experts.

The Latest News On IT Sourcing

  • Negotiating an AWS Discount Matt West
    Director of Network Services, NPI
    08.13.20

    As the cloud war wages on and commoditized pricing persists, many enterprises wonder if it’s possible to negotiate a discount with Amazon Web Services beyond what the vendor publishes publicly. For some customers, the short answer is yes – an additional AWS discount is possible. While the numbers steadily evolve, recent data indicates AWS continues...

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  • Beyond the Hype – Planning for the Cost of SD-WAN, 5G and IoT Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    02.27.20

    What do SD-WAN, 5G, and IoT have in common? Two things come to mind. First, there is a lot of hype surrounding these technologies. The second thing is unknown costs.  Let’s start with the hype… If you are a VP of Infrastructure and you haven’t made the switch to SD-WAN, bought your first 5G Smartphone,...

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  • The Art and Science of IT Purchase Negotiations Chris Vicknair
    Director of Client Services – NPI
    12.18.19

    There is a bit of art and science in IT purchase negotiations – and it’s important to understand the difference. The science of a deal comes from data about a vendor’s pricing, discounting and negotiation behavior in comparable deals – providing this information to IT buyers is NPI’s specialty. IT vendors are notorious for charging...

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  • 6 Hidden Telecom Costs Exhausting Your IT Budget
    NPI
    11.01.19

    Telecom costs are notoriously difficult to manage – so difficult that, despite a growing number of telecom expense management solutions in the market, most enterprises don’t have the resources or expertise to adequately manage their spend and instead take an autopilot approach to telecom cost control. Across NPI’s client base of 500+ enterprises, our data...

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  • The Hard-Dollar Cost of Delays in Wireline Carrier Contract Negotiations Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    09.20.19

    Negotiating a new wireline carrier contract can easily take as long as six months. Why so long? Because it benefits the carrier. In this blog, we review scenarios that explain the critical importance of timing as you negotiate a new contract with your wireline carrier.

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  • Enterprise Video Conferencing and Collaboration – Competitive Options to Consider Gregg Spivack
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    01.15.19

    When it comes to enterprise video conferencing and collaboration, companies have more options than ever. While Cisco WebEx and Microsoft Skype for Business may still get the majority of mindshare based on tight integration with their embedded deployments within the enterprise, a growing number of companies are looking beyond these industry stalwarts to alternative solutions....

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  • 4 Questions to Ask Before a Cisco Contract Negotiation Rich Staas
    Director of Client Services, NPI
    10.25.18

    Have a Cisco purchase or renewal coming up? If so, there are a few things you should know before negotiation discussions to better understand and apply your position of leverage, and optimize the outcome of your purchase or renewal.

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  • Why Wireless Carriers Want to End Their Device Subsidies Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    07.18.18

    AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless have slowly been trying to wean enterprise customers away from subsidized devices (and offer a much lower cost of monthly service instead). But is this really a good deal for the enterprise customer?

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  • GSG Rebrands as Sakon and Takes on SaaS Spend Visibility Challenge Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    05.15.18

    Telecom expense management provider Global Sourcing Group (GSG) recently rebranded itself to Sakon. Sakon is also the name of the company’s new expense management portal. Sakon is already a market leader in delivering expense management solutions for fixed and mobile communications. The established solutions - WirelineManager™ and MobileManager™ - are now supplemented by the next generation...

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  • Verizon’s Device Upgrade Program Quietly Revised Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    05.10.18

    Recently, a change was made to Verizon’s device upgrade program – one that could substantially impact enterprise clients. Although most enterprise agreements have included incentives that require a 24-month subscription, as a common practice over the past few years Verizon has allowed many enterprise customers to upgrade their device after 20 months (matching other cellular...

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  • Data Center Pricing – Know the Four Basic Elements Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    03.08.18

    More enterprises are migrating their corporate data center(s) to external co-location facilities. One of the many challenges they face is navigating disparate and confusing pricing models. Some providers only charge for power and network while others charge for power, space and network. Some charge different rates for cooling power versus cabinet power and all charge...

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  • Finally, A Realistic Approach to Telecom Expense Management Jeff Muscarella
    EVP, NPI
    11.07.17

    The global TEM market is positioned to grow 14.2% over the next decade and reach $5.62 billion by 2025. Companies are struggling to manage telecom expenses well, and they need help. Here are the two questions I hear most often from executives tasked with reducing telecom costs...

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  • The Achilles Heel of Software-defined WAN & How to Leverage It Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    08.09.17

    The hype continues to grow surrounding software-defined (SD) WAN as the future of networking. While it’s true that SD WAN brings better control and efficiencies to corporate networking, its benefits can often introduce new complexities and management issues. One example is its “finding home” technology. SD WAN appliances are pre-configured so that the end user...

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  • Want More Savings From MPLS? Try Burstable. Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    04.13.17

    When MPLS was introduced as a replacement to Frame Relay in the late 1990s, it was deployed in much the same way. Customer Edge (CE) routers were connected to Provider Edge (PE) routers with a fixed bandwidth access line and a fixed bandwidth port speed that generally matched the access line. The only variable was...

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  • Paying a VAR for Managed Services? Be Careful.

    Line item quotes, while tedious, are absolutely critical for ensuring a fair deal for enterprise IT and telecom offerings. NPI advises clients to ask vendors for line item quotes that include OEM part numbers, descriptions, quantities, list and net pricing. This has become increasingly important as more hardware, software and cloud vendors bundle their offerings...

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  • Update – Postalized Pricing for Ethernet Access Has Arrived Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    03.21.16

    NPI has been asking for and predicting the coming of postalized ethernet pricing since early 2015. We are now beginning to see it in the marketplace. What is postalized pricing? In telecom speak, to “postalize” means to structure prices so they are not distance sensitive. For example, an enterprise that has more than 100 domestic...

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  • It Now Costs Providers Less to Deliver Network Services – But Are Those Savings Being Passed On to You? Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    08.03.15

    We talk about “beware of the bundle” quite a bit on this blog, and for good reason. One example I’ve referenced in the past is the cost of storage provided as part of bundled services. In most cases, the cost of services such as network backup/archive that incorporate storage do not necessarily reflect the spiraling...

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  • Word on the Street: Avaya to Raise Cost of Annual Maintenance Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    07.28.15

    Word on the street is that Avaya is again changing the options and costs of their annual maintenance program for enterprise survivable servers (ESS). The current program includes these options: ESS Co-Delivery – Co-delivery (C/D) support is where an Avaya partner is primarily responsible for monitoring and delivering support. All Tier 1 and 2 support...

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  • IT Sourcing 101: Why is Pricing So Opaque? Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    05.20.15

    IT and telecom suppliers like to keep the details behind pricing as opaque as possible. The more they can bundle, the less the customer can compare pricing to competitors. That helps the vendor at selection time, but it’s even more beneficial down the road. Take the following example – an actual quote. It includes 20,000...

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  • Is Wifi Access Another Leaky Faucet in Your IT Budget? Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    04.23.15

    We spend a lot of time talking about the complexity of IT and telecom spend management on this blog. The pitfalls around sourcing and contract optimization are too numerous to count. But, what about the obvious cost leaks? There are many hidden in plain view. One of those is wifi access. The cost for enterprises...

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  • AT&T Replaced by Apple on the Dow Jones – The Times, They Are A-Changing…. Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    03.17.15

    I’m not a Wall Street expert, but I can't imagine that there is anything good about being booted from the S&P DOW Jones industrial average. Yet this is exactly what happened to AT&T on March 6th. The S&P DOW Jones Indices, a subsidiary of McGraw Hill Financial, announced that it would replace AT&T with Apple...

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  • BYOD Reimbursements – Are You Paying Too Much? Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    10.23.14

    According to a recent report from the Yankee Group, the growth of the BYOD is slowing and may have already peaked. The percentage of enterprises with 1,000+ employees that allow BYOD topped out at 81 percent in Q2 2012 and has steadily declined since. The economics of BYOD have also shifted since 2012, especially those...

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  • Improved IT and Telecom Cost Control Fight Declining Hospital Revenues Jon Winsett
    CEO, NPI
    09.19.14

    Hospital revenues are on a sharp downward trajectory, according to a recent report from Moody’s Investors Service on the financial health of nonprofit hospitals. Revenues, as well as rate of revenue growth, are reaching historical lows. For those in the healthcare industry, this doesn’t come as a surprise – it’s one of the consequences of...

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  • How Will You Take Advantage of a More Competitive Telecom Landscape? Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    07.09.14

    If you’re not paying attention to the shake-up in the telecom industry, it’s time to tune in. Here are the highlights: Japan's Softbank wants to buy T-Mobile and roll it into Sprint; AT&T is buying Direct TV, while Comcast and Time Warner Cable want to merge; Level(3) just announced its bid to buy TW Telecom;...

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  • Are We Near the End of Mobile Device Subsidies from Carriers? Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    05.08.14

    The wireless carriers in the U.S. have subsidized the cost of mobile devices to both domestic consumers and enterprise customers since the inception of the market. You know the deal - sign a two-year agreement and get a new phone for free. T-Mobile was the first carrier to unbundle phones from plans in mid-2013, but...

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  • AT&T Sponsored Data and Net Neutrality Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    02.13.14

    On January 6, AT&T announced a new way for eligible 4G customers to enjoy mobile content and apps over their wireless network without impacting their monthly wireless data plan. In many ways, the program is the equivalent of toll-free dialing for the subscriber’s data plan. Content or application providers that are willing to "sponsor" their...

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  • Are Contingency Workers Driving Your IT Project Over Budget?

    More and more enterprises are turning to contingent workers to power their IT projects. For many, it’s a relatively simple way to temporarily increase staff resources and meet project deadlines. It’s also an easy way to go over budget, and thwart IT cost management. Companies should make sure their current workforce isn’t capable of handling...

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  • Is it a Good Time to Buy Cisco Gear? Matt West
    Director of Telecommunication Services, NPI
    12.18.13

    If you're making an IT or telecom purchase from a large vendor, it's always wise to scope out financial performance. This vendor intelligence can often have a positive influence on sourcing strategy, or provide leverage at the negotiation table. Take Cisco, for example. For the quarter ending October 31st, the vendor posted revenues of $12.09B....

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  • Will T-Mobile Gain Ground in the Enterprise? Maybe. Matt West
    Director of Telecom Services, NPI
    11.18.13

    When T-Mobile decided to bet the farm on its “un-carrier” strategy, critics wondered if it was “too little, too late” to turn around the wireless giant’s declining business. Early this month, the critics got their answer. By all accounts, T-Mobile is on a tear. On November 5, the mobile provider reported it added 648,000 net...

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  • The All-in-One Telecom Carrier: Which is Best for Your Business? Jeff Muscarella
    EVP, IT & Telecom Practice, NPI
    10.16.13

    Gone are the days of the phone company. In addition to offering traditional wireline and wireless network offerings, today’s telecom carriers have become all-in-one IT service providers, offering a combination of enterprise IT solutions. Carriers like Verizon and AT&T now have offerings for data center, cloud computing, and managed network and security. This has sparked...

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