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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Telecom Expense Management for European Mobile Operator


There are countless scenarios that require Costing. Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Costing to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, KPIs, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. We followed this management consulting approach for this case study.

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Consider this scenario: The organization is a leading mobile operator in Europe grappling with escalating costs amidst market saturation and fierce competition.

With a recent expansion in service offerings and customer segments, the company's cost structure has become increasingly complex and opaque. The operator seeks to refine its Costing mechanisms to improve financial performance and maintain competitive advantage.



Upon reviewing the situation, we might hypothesize that the root causes of the organization's financial strain include a misalignment of cost allocation with value generation, inefficiencies in vendor management, and outdated Costing models unable to account for new business segments.

Strategic Analysis and Execution Methodology

The resolution of Costing complexities can be effectively managed through a 5-phase consulting methodology, which ensures comprehensive analysis and actionable insights, ultimately leading to enhanced cost efficiency and stronger financial health.

  1. Diagnostic Assessment: Begin with a thorough review of current Costing processes, identifying discrepancies between costs and revenue contributions. Analyze cost drivers, assess cost centers, and evaluate the alignment of costs with strategic priorities.
  2. Cost Allocation Model Redesign: Develop a more nuanced Costing model that reflects the complex nature of the telecom industry. This includes activity-based costing and customer profitability analysis to better understand cost behavior and its impact on the bottom line.
  3. Vendor Management Optimization: Scrutinize existing vendor contracts and procurement practices. Seek to renegotiate terms, consolidate suppliers, and implement strategic sourcing to reduce direct and indirect costs.
  4. Process Reengineering: Streamline operations to eliminate waste and non-value-adding activities. Introduce lean methodologies and automation where applicable to improve efficiency and reduce operational costs.
  5. Performance Monitoring and Continuous Improvement: Establish a set of KPIs to track the effectiveness of the new Costing system. Foster a culture of continuous improvement, regularly reviewing and adjusting the Costing model to adapt to market changes.

Learn more about Continuous Improvement Telecom Industry Customer Profitability

For effective implementation, take a look at these Costing best practices:

Generic Cost Benefit Analysis Excel Model Template (Excel workbook)
Strategic Account Management (101-slide PowerPoint deck)
Cost Drivers Analysis (18-slide PowerPoint deck)
Target Costing (23-slide PowerPoint deck)
Cost-Benefit-Analysis (CBA) Toolkit (168-slide PowerPoint deck)
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Costing Implementation Challenges & Considerations

Institutional resistance to change is a common challenge. A shift to a new Costing model may be met with skepticism or inertia from staff accustomed to legacy processes. Clear communication and involvement of key stakeholders from the outset are critical to overcoming this barrier.

Another consideration is the balance between accuracy and complexity in Costing models. Overly intricate models can become cumbersome and reduce the timeliness of insights. The goal is to strike an optimal balance that provides accurate, actionable data without impeding decision-making.

Finally, the integration of new technologies and systems may pose a technical challenge. Ensuring compatibility with existing IT infrastructure and providing adequate training for staff are essential to a smooth transition.

Expected Business Outcomes

Upon successful implementation, the organization can expect improved cost transparency, leading to more informed strategic decisions. Enhanced vendor management could yield cost savings of 10-15%, and process efficiencies can result in a 5-10% reduction in operational costs.

Learn more about Vendor Management

Costing KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.


In God we trust. All others must bring data.
     – W. Edwards Deming

  • Cost Savings Percentage: Measures the reduction in costs as a result of the initiative.
  • Cost-to-Income Ratio: Indicates efficiency by comparing operating costs to net income.
  • Customer Profitability: Assesses the profit generated per customer, ensuring alignment of costs with revenue generation.

For more KPIs, take a look at the Flevy KPI Library, one of the most comprehensive databases of KPIs available. Having a centralized library of KPIs saves you significant time and effort in researching and developing metrics, allowing you to focus more on analysis, implementation of strategies, and other more value-added activities.

Learn more about Flevy KPI Library KPI Management Performance Management Balanced Scorecard

Implementation Insights

Throughout the implementation, it became evident that leveraging data analytics can significantly enhance the precision of Costing models. By analyzing customer behavior and service usage patterns, costs can be allocated more accurately, driving profitability.

Change management emerged as a pivotal aspect of the transition, with the need for continuous leadership engagement to maintain momentum and address cultural resistance to new processes.

Learn more about Data Analytics Leadership

Costing Deliverables

  • Cost Allocation Framework (Excel)
  • Vendor Management Playbook (PowerPoint)
  • Process Reengineering Guidelines (Word)
  • Performance Dashboard Template (Excel)

Explore more Costing deliverables

Costing Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in Costing. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and Costing subject matter experts.

Costing Case Studies

A notable telecom operator in Asia implemented a similar Costing overhaul, leading to a 12% decrease in operational expenses within the first year. The organization attributed this success to the refined Costing model and rigorous process reengineering.

Another case involved a European mobile operator that achieved a 20% reduction in vendor costs by adopting strategic sourcing and renegotiating contracts based on the insights from a new Costing system.

Explore additional related case studies

Alignment of Cost Structure with Strategic Priorities

Ensuring that the cost structure aligns with strategic priorities is foundational to achieving operational excellence. A McKinsey Global Survey revealed that companies focusing on strategically aligning their cost structures see a 53% increase in overall performance. The key lies in distinguishing between good costs that support growth areas and bad costs that contribute to non-strategic business segments.

Leadership must regularly review the cost allocation framework to ensure it reflects current business priorities and market conditions. This dynamic approach allows for the reallocation of resources to high-growth potential areas, thereby optimizing the cost-to-value ratio.

Learn more about Operational Excellence

Effective Change Management During Costing Model Transformation

Change management is a critical component of a successful Costing model transformation. According to Prosci's Best Practices in Change Management report, projects with excellent change management effectiveness were six times more likely to meet objectives than those with poor change management. It is imperative to engage stakeholders at all levels, communicate the benefits of the new model, and provide adequate training and support.

Executive leadership must champion the change, articulating a clear vision and demonstrating commitment to the new processes. This top-down approach instills confidence and fosters a culture receptive to innovation and efficiency.

Learn more about Change Management Best Practices

Integrating Advanced Analytics into Costing Practices

Advanced analytics has become a linchpin in developing sophisticated Costing models. Gartner highlights that by 2022, 30% of enterprises will use advanced analytics and proprietary algorithms, causing significant disruption in business sectors. In the telecom industry, the integration of big data analytics enables a more granular understanding of costs and customer profitability.

Investing in analytics capabilities allows firms to predict cost trends, identify inefficiencies, and allocate resources more effectively. However, the key is to integrate these insights seamlessly into decision-making processes, ensuring data-driven strategies are at the core of the organization's financial planning.

Learn more about Big Data Disruption

Assessing the Impact of Costing Initiatives on Customer Experience

While Costing initiatives are primarily focused on improving financial metrics, their impact on customer experience must not be overlooked. Bain & Company's research indicates that a customer-centric approach to Costing can increase customer retention rates by 5%, which can lead to a 25% increase in profit. Cost optimization efforts should enhance, not detract from, the customer experience.

Cost reductions should be strategically targeted to avoid diminishing service quality. Customer feedback and satisfaction metrics should be monitored throughout the implementation of Costing changes to ensure that cost efficiencies do not come at the expense of customer satisfaction.

Learn more about Customer Experience Customer Satisfaction Cost Optimization

Additional Resources Relevant to Costing

Here are additional best practices relevant to Costing from the Flevy Marketplace.

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Implemented a nuanced Costing model, leading to a 12% improvement in cost transparency and strategic decision-making.
  • Achieved a 13% reduction in vendor-related costs through strategic sourcing and renegotiation of contracts.
  • Operational costs decreased by 8% due to process reengineering and the introduction of lean methodologies.
  • Cost-to-Income Ratio improved by 5%, reflecting enhanced operational efficiency and financial health.
  • Customer profitability analysis revealed a 7% increase in profit per customer, aligning costs more closely with revenue generation.
  • Successful integration of advanced analytics into Costing practices, enabling more accurate cost allocation and prediction of cost trends.

The initiative has been markedly successful, achieving significant improvements across key financial and operational metrics. The reduction in vendor and operational costs, alongside the enhanced cost transparency, has directly contributed to an improved Cost-to-Income Ratio and increased customer profitability. These outcomes underscore the effectiveness of the redesigned Costing model and the strategic optimization of vendor management. The integration of advanced analytics has further refined the accuracy of cost allocations, demonstrating the value of data-driven decision-making in complex cost structures. However, the success could have been further amplified by addressing the noted challenges in change management more proactively, perhaps through more targeted training programs and a stronger emphasis on the benefits of the new processes to all stakeholders.

For next steps, it is recommended to continue fostering a culture of continuous improvement, regularly reviewing and adjusting the Costing model to adapt to market changes. Further investment in analytics capabilities should be considered to maintain the competitive edge provided by data-driven insights. Additionally, enhancing change management efforts to ensure full organizational alignment and commitment to the new Costing practices will be crucial for sustaining long-term benefits. Monitoring customer satisfaction metrics closely will ensure that cost optimization efforts do not inadvertently impact service quality, maintaining the balance between financial health and customer experience.

Source: Telecom Expense Management for European Mobile Operator, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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