Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Telecom Certification
Telecommunications professionals, like many IT professionals, turn to certification programs to acquire the skill sets and knowledge needed to advance their careers and add value to their organizations. Telecom is a vital part of every organization and has become one of the top business expenses. According to the Telecommunications Industry Association’s 2004 Telecommunications Market Review and Forecast, U.S. telecom industry spending was at $720.5 billion in 2003 and is expected to grow to $1 trillion in 2007. Given the integral role of telecommunications within any organization, and the significant business expense, the responsibility should be left in the most capable of hands.
Until recently, telecom certification options primarily consisted of networking and hardware configuration training programs. This is crucial to maintaining the functionality and integrity of a telecommunications infrastructure, but does not address the bigger and often more costly aspect: service management.
The Association of Telecom Management Professionals (AOTMP) has recognized the need to promote and teach best practices in the area of managing telecom services, providers and expenses. The AOTMP Certified Telecom Management Specialist certification program teaches step-by-step methodologies that enable telecom professionals to effectively overcome time, resource and budget constraints affecting today’s telecom environments. The program focuses on four telecom management best practices, which include:
- Creating and maintaining an accurate telecom service and cost inventory.
- Invoice validation, error correction and budget protection.
- Contract negotiations and contract lifecycle management.
- Managing service provider relationships and effectively resolving disputes.
“The certification program is structured to provide telecommunications managers with the training they need to maximize the effectiveness and overall cost of their organization’s telecommunications infrastructure,” said AOMTP Executive Director Tim Lybrook. “Many telecom professionals do not have a complete understanding of exactly what telecom services they have, where they’re being used or what they’re paying for the services. Although they’re often responsible for the telecom budget, they don’t always have the necessary processes and procedures in place to protect it and manage it effectively.”
Leading research organizations like Aberdeen have reported that, on average, 7 percent to 12 percent of telecom expenses are in error. This can contribute to a significant amount in lost profits for organizations that do not have processes and procedures in place to effectively manage these costs. Greater understanding and knowledge of the telecom environment you have, the services you need and consistent application of proven methods to manage these services and expenses are the foundation of the Certified Telecom Management Specialist program, and the key to successfully managing an organization’s telecommunications infrastructure.
“The course is organized well and presented in a fashion open to questions about your own environment,” said Karine Nelson, a telecommunications specialist for Great Lakes Educational Loan Services and a Certified Telecom Management Specialist. “Being able to do hands-on work in class with your organization’s invoices and contracts provides valuable insight to bring back to the office.”
This certification program is currently offered as a five-day boot camp, in which all coursework, projects and testing are completed. Certified Telecom Management Specialist credentials are awarded to those who pass the 400-point certification exam with a score of 80 percent or higher, and renewal exams are required every two years to maintain certification.
“The (certification) class was very beneficial to me. The highlights were being able to understand customer service records, finding and interpreting tariffs and contracts, and utilizing this information for invoice reconciliation,” said Bill Hoffman of Airnet Systems, who recently completed the certification training.
Participants in the training program incorporate their organization’s service invoices and contracts into class projects and exercises. The CD-ROM-based toolkit and the work completed during the program prepare participants to implement the processes and methodologies learned into their telecom environment immediately upon returning to the office.
For more information about the AOTMP, or the Certified Telecom Management Specialist program, visit www.aotmp.com or call (800) 460-9568.
Christy Colbert is a marketing consultant for the Association of Telecom Management Professionals (AOTMP). She can be reached at ccolbert AT aotmp.com.