Telecom Management for a Large University : George Washington University
Calero solutions bring added control and visibility
to George Washington University
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Calero Expense Management, Calero
Calero Usage Management
The George Washington University (GW) is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. Its facilities – spread across three campuses and three academic centers in Virginia, with many buildings situated just a few blocks from the White house – are home to 25,000 students and 7,600 staff and faculty members. With its origins dating back to 1821, notable GW alumni include former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation J. Edgar Hoover, and actor Alec Baldwin.
Knitting everything together is the responsibility of the university’s communications services team, under the leadership of Chris Megill, associate director of technology services. He described his team’s responsibilities by saying, “We handle all of the adds, moves, and changes, for voice, video, and data services. Along with this comes the responsibility for managing chargebacks and accounting for all IT and telecom expenses.”
All of GW’s telecom-related invoices were historically handled by the financial services department. “The accounting team lacked specialist knowledge and context for interpreting the invoices from our various telecom service providers,” reflected Megill, “so they typically just paid the outstanding amounts each month.” Megill and his team decided that getting assistance with invoice management from an external resource would both elevate visibility into telecom expenditures and usage, as well as permit the finance group to focus their efforts
on their particular subject matter expertise and thereby be better utilized.
“We knew that there were many discrepancies in the monthly charges, so we looked for a solution that would give us the granularity and ability to manage the whole environment in a much more structured manner,” commented Megill.”
GW issued a detailed RFI that asked each recipient to address its specific capabilities including sourcing management, ordering and provisioning management, and managing inventory. The responses were evaluated and the contract awarded to Calero for having the most compelling solution to meet the university’s requirements.
One of the greatest values is that I have a very accurate picture of all the services that we provide to the various university departments.
—Chris Megill, associate director of technology services, George Washington University
“Not only were the capabilities outstanding but the cost of contracting invoice management from Calero also included managed servers and enabled us to be a hosted client. We were able to finance the entire Calero implementation – including hosted Calero Expense Management, Telecommunications Management and Usage Management – just by buying invoice management and reallocating the staff positions that were originally processing the invoicing,” Megill enthused.”
Having been a Calero client for several years, Megill has had significant exposure to the benefits of the solutions: “One of the greatest values is that I have a very accurate picture of all the services that we provide to the various university departments,” said Megill. “I use the Calero application as an authoritative source of information for what’s going on across our whole infrastructure; I know exactly how many data jacks there are, how many are used by each department, how many wireless access points, how many voice lines are out there, etc.”
Having access to such granular data enables Megill to be fully transparent with his own stakeholders: “Our end-users really appreciate the clarity with which Calero consolidates third-party bills and authorized staff can easily view details of their own departmental charges but have no access to bills of other groups. They can see utilization in their specific area; if they need to investigate potential toll fraud, or an employee abusing privileges, it’s all in a central place. They don’t have to access multiple systems to see local and long distance calls, or conference call usage, or what data or Internet services they are being billed for. This is a huge benefit for us,” noted Megill.
The Calero Expense Management exception reporting helps users to identify telephone lines that might be missing from invoices and also highlights if an unregistered phone is being used somewhere in the system. “Having this level of visibility enables us to manage the entire environment in a very structured and disciplined way,” stated Megill. “There’s similar value in being able to oversee billing variances: I receive alerts if charges exceed a set threshold without there being a known cause for the change.”
The extensive suite of Calero reports also equips Megill to make informed decisions about staffing levels for the communications services team: “I can quickly examine the backlog of work order requests and determine where in the process things might be getting held up. I use the reports to judge the overall productivity of the team and make adjustments whenever necessary,” he mentioned.
Megill has leveraged the expertize of the Calero professional services team several times: “The Calero consultants are a mature group that has a clear understanding of requirements gathering, project management, and solution delivery.”
Megill summarized, “The Calero solutions work together seamlessly and transparently, and they enable us to manage our environment a lot more efficiently. My partnership with Calero helps me to focus on important variances and not worry about day to day transactions. Calero empowers me to protect the university’s interests and gives me peace of mind knowing there’s always an extra layer of vigilance.”