Professional Profile

Schooley Mitchell Optimization Specialist Don Coburn has witnessed plenty of changes to the business landscape over the last few years. He knows professionals now have less time and more responsibility.

“People are multitasking now and combining roles,” says the Toledo-based consultant. “They have more on their plate and they are busier than they used to be. They are pulled in many directions and their time is not focused on expense management or reduction.”

In fact, it’s nearly impossible for an organization to have an internal expert in every area of spend they manage. That’s why the services offered by Schooley Mitchell are important.

“Business professionals and owners can access our expertise and benefit from our focused approach in addressing specific expenses,” he says. “It is something that is difficult to do on their own.”

Coburn, who has an extensive IT background, is proud of his ability to find savings for his clients. His success rate for wireless telecom savings over the last three years is 100 percent, meaning every audit has resulted in a reduction in costs.

Sometimes he even surprises himself. He recalls one client that had 200 wireless devices. When Coburn first reviewed the company’s bills, he was impressed with what was already in place. Despite having no-frills plans and low-cost solutions already deployed across all devices, Coburn was still able to come back with a 34 percent reduction in costs, saving the company $27,000 annually.

Another client negotiated telecom rates with an existing vendor on its own and was skeptical that additional savings could be found. Management was pleasantly surprised when Coburn reviewed its services and came back with a recommendation that shaved 35 percent off its annual spend, saving a total of $32,000 per year.

“They didn’t realize there was that kind of capacity to reduce costs that dramatically,” says Coburn. “Turning someone who is skeptical into someone who is surprised and thankful is a rewarding aspect of this business.”

Telephony has undergone major changes over the last decade, notably the shift from traditional wireline services to VoIP. Coburn says when it comes to growth, there’s no end in sight. He anticipates more and more clients will adopt wireless solutions that extend far beyond just a typical cellphone.

“Smartphones are now part of their process, and people are using them in the field to take photographs and for documentation,” he explains. “They don’t just use them as handsets, they are becoming more integrated.”

With increased use of wireless services comes increased costs. He expects many companies will face an “alarming” surge in the cost of service, including data.

Family is important to Coburn, and when he is not busy with clients he can most often be found spending quality time with his wife and three children. He is an avid pilot and volunteers with the Young Eagles program, which introduces and promotes aviation to youth. He is also active in his church.

Overall, Coburn says it is essential that professionals keep an open mind if they want to succeed.

“Always look for improvements and always listen to those who bring expertise that you do not have yourself,” he advises. “Companies that take time to investigate opportunities and receive advice are the ones that are succeeding. In business, staying static is going to eventually lead to non-performance. Those that are always looking to improve do just that.”

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