Choosing a telecom expense management (TEM) partner is important today. It’s important for enterprise organizations because most management teams realize that in today’s world, they need to rely on top-notch expense management solutions and expertise if they hope to effectively manage their communication network operations, assets, and expenses.
The primary reasons for this are exponential technological advances, a volatile TEM industry under constant merger and acquisition pressures, and non-stop global marketplace forces that are ever evolving.
Because the enterprise expense management industry – traditionally known as the TEM industry – is fraught with so many challenges and difficulties, it’s very commonplace to see organizations that are dissatisfied with the results provided by their TEM partner.
Let’s look at some of the many front and center reasons why internal enterprise expense management teams may want to consider hiring a new TEM provider to partner with:
New TEM Provider | Expense Management Solution Checklist:
1. Misrepresenting Support Capabilities
Many TEM providers will oversell their true capabilities, whether this be the configurability capabilities of their TEM technology platform or the subject-matter-expertise and talent of their internal staff. Beyond some of the over-promises made by the Sales team, some of the other common operational reasons for poor support are listed below.
2. Off-Shored Support
It’s an old story with the same disappointing results for customers. Yes, it’s cheaper for the TEM provider to pay for labor in foreign countries on the other side of the world, but these savings are not typically passed on to the customer; more times than not these savings go to shareholders. Moreover – and most importantly – results are overwhelmingly poor, and the consequence is unhappy TEM customers.
3. Dearth of Senior-Level Subject-Matter-Expertise
This reality is like off-shored support as relates to the financial bottom line. Many present-day TEM providers are owned by private equity firms. Because private equity firms prioritize the interests of their shareholders above all else, they often choose to eliminate more senior-level talent in exchange for cheaper and more junior-level employees.
This is a very common practice, especially as pending mergers approach, necessitating number crunching activities to make the transaction more appealing to key stakeholders. Again, this may be good for TEM firm C-level executives and shareholders, but is it good for existing customers? We know the answer to be a definitive no.
4. Inadequate Proactive Optimization Suggestions
5. Services Disconnected for Non-Payment
Services have been disconnected due to non-payment or late fees incurred. If this is happening under the watch of your TEM provider, then you should seriously consider moving on. If your TEM partner cannot provide this basic “block and tackle” support function, then should they be on your team at all?
6. Other TEM Support Services
If you and your internal enterprise expense management team find yourself doing much of the routine TEM work such as reviewing invoices, cost allocation adjustments, keeping inventory maintained, and collecting invoices, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate your relationship with your current TEM provider.
Perhaps they did not properly advise your team on how they can do this work for you at an affordable cost. Or maybe you do not trust them enough to let them do the work. Either way, both of these situations represent warning signs that you will want to keep an eye out for.
7. Inadequate Technology Platform
Many TEM providers will put significant effort into making the front-end of their user interface more attractive and then sell enterprise TEM clients on various “bell and whistle” capabilities of said platform,
"It may be better to look good than to feel good sometimes, but this is never the case in the enterprise expense management and TEM universe."
It may be better to look good than to feel good sometimes, but this is never the case in the enterprise expense management and TEM universe. Cosmetics are nice but technology performance is what really matters and should be highly scrutinized when evaluating any TEM provider.
8. User GUI
True efforts in human factors and ergonomics design are something to be applauded. The common issue here is that the TEM provider is investing primarily in the cosmetics of the technology because it gets attention.
This is often not backed up with true technological horsepower that can drive the effectiveness of the enterprise expense management platform. For example, is the technology configurable in truly meaningful ways that facilitates proper tracking and management of all enterprise services, assets, and expenses?
In the past, TEM platforms were designed to mostly track traditional TEM services such as DS1 or DS3 circuits. Nowadays, enterprises will want their TEM platform to do much more than was addressed in the past. At Tellennium, we refer to this as the Management of Things®.
9. Multiple TEM Platforms
10. Data Trust Issues
Are you and your team unable to trust the data coming out of the TEM solution (e.g., poor inventory, inaccurate spend)? Many TEM platforms will look great, and Sales teams will often put on a nice show during demonstrations.
However, does the technology platform properly house and report data on all your services, assets, and network expenses? If not, it should go without saying that you have a major problem on your hands. Without good data, you cannot have good analyses. And without expert and insightful analyses, then you do not have a TEM provider worth partnering with.
11. Reliance on Other Systems
12. Reporting Challenges
Does it take a software engineer to run a report out of your TEM platform? For the record, it shouldn’t be so complicated. If it is, you will want to reevaluate TEM providers and place a premium on the type of reporting available and ease of use of the system.
Choosing an enterprise expense management or TEM provider for large enterprise organizations is more important than ever these days. It is one of the most important decisions that internal enterprise expense management teams will make from an operations and financial perspective.
It’s important because the complexities of the modern-day worldwide marketplace are more burdensome than they were in the past. This is primarily driven by dizzying technological advances and the ever-changing global business landscape.
When working through your process of discovery in evaluating potential new TEM providers, pay special attention their technology platform and do some digging with respect to their organizational depth in terms of subject-matter-expertise.
You really need a leading TEM technology platform coupled with high-end expense management expertise and incredible customer support from your TEM partner to make the relationship worthwhile.
To learn more about our TEM program at Tellennium, please schedule a brief demo of our solution.
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