A comprehensive and clean billing inventory is necessary for an effective telecom expense management (TEM) program for enterprise companies. Operations, Finance, and IT executives don’t often prioritize inventory management at first blush because it’s arguably one of the driest and least sexy of areas under the expense management umbrella.
A real-time and detailed inventory, which is accurate, updated, and completely visible is the basis for all other expense management program managed and professional services.
Getting this wrong can have material negative consequences. Any enterprise that is serious about its expense management program should prioritize this area for development and implementation of best practices and expense management technology.
If done right, there is huge upside to a meticulously clean inventory in terms of network visibility, control, and potential realized savings because of such control. But when done poorly – and it is with most organizations – it’s often difficult to tell how much opportunity is missed because “you don’t know what you don’t know,” as the saying goes.
This area consequently usually does not get the attention it deserves because immediate pain is generally not felt, although long-term gains are immeasurable if an organization makes the effort to invest in this area properly.
Inventory Management concerns are very often not on the front burner when expense management leaders contemplate reigning-in control of their enterprise operations and expenses. Management will often focus on the things that tend to gravitate to their immediate attention such as audit and optimization concerns. Or they will focus on areas such as unwanted service disconnections.
The lower hanging Expense Management fruit or the things that appear to impact operations and expenses in the near term squeak the loudest and therefore get a disproportionate amount of the attention.
The irony is that a comprehensive and clean inventory is truly the bedrock to any robust, well-rounded, and successful expense management program, which is in keeping with current TEM industry best practices and powered by cutting-edge expense management technology such as Management of Things.
We examine every line, circuit, and asset in detail every month to verify intended use and the associated cost for billed services.
It’s often been said that “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.” So simple but so true. You need to know exactly what you have and why you have it if you plan on managing the resource and/or asset effectively in a proactive manner.
At Tellennium, we believe it’s so important to keep the most detailed inventory possible and updated in real-time that we provide this service at no additional cost to our clients.
Many expense management firms will put an inventory together based off billing invoicing alone. To really get it right, an expense management firm needs to access other pieces of information, including customer service record detail, which will include very granular detail for all phone lines, circuits, and other service components.
And the actual, physical location of the inventory is key; many TEM firms will only utilize the billing address because it is more expedient and convenient for them while building-out an inventory.
At Tellennium, we believe in knowing the actual location and purpose of the inventory item beyond a billing address location. The devil is in the details, and this is especially true when talking about an effective inventory.
4 Key Benefits of an Accurate Expense Management Inventory
An accurate inventory is important for many reasons. Four key benefits include:
Facilitating the validation of service and billing charges
It may seem obvious but to perform proper network audit and optimization work, enterprise expense management subject-matter-experts need to start with a very detailed and accurate inventory of billing services and components.
If you definitively know exactly what you have, you can set out to perform the next level of analytical work, which is to determine if the inventory of services align to the organization’s operational needs.
Please see our checklist to determine if your provider is supplying the information needed to accurately validate charges and perform optimization analyses.
For services that do align to real needs, are they billing accurately? And just as importantly – if not more important – you can ask the network optimization questions:
Am I billing at competitive rates for needed services?
If not, what options may be available to remedy the situation and get to a sound operational place for real organizational needs and at a competitive place in terms of cost? (There may be other services that can be utilized to achieve the same functional purposes at lower costs.)
Empowering benchmark rate analyses and contract negotiations
As previously noted, it’s not enough to know if services are billing accurately as per contract terms. This is so because your organization may have agreed to poor terms in a prior contract. You really want to know if you are being billed at competitive market rates for your current services.
If you have a very detailed and accurate billing inventory, your organization is poised to perform effective market analyses, which is key for ongoing strategic and tactical decisions for the management of your network.
You need to have a clear and solid understanding of current market conditions to make effective decisions going forward around operational needs and related costs. And you must be able to trust in your current Inventory Management to make meaningful comparisons and arrive at the most prudent conclusions for the next iteration of network management decisions. Having a detailed and accurate inventory will help you perform this more complicated work.
Promoting accurate network migration/MACD change visibility
Large enterprises often have complicated networks with many moving parts and expenses which run into the millions annually. It’s a difficult task for enterprises to fully manage this internally, and therefore why many of these enterprises choose to partner with expense management firms such as Tellennium.
A strong expense management firm like Tellennium can provide the necessary technology such as our MoT platform, along with the requisite subject-matter-expertise needed to properly track and analyze moves, adds, changes, and delete (MACD) service inventory transactions.
Allowing for precise site and maintenance overview data
Big data is an oft-used term these days. It’s important in so many areas of management and this is no different. To make the best decisions, you need detailed and accurate inventory data with respect to enterprise site locations and maintenance activities.
A competent expense management firm that utilizes a solid technology platform such as MoT and employs best practices relative to inventory management sets up your organization for high visibility and control, which is key to a successful enterprise expense management program.
Enterprise organizations today can all benefit from a strong expense management program. In most cases, this will involve a TEM Partnership with an expense management firm such as Tellennium.
Make sure that when choosing an expense management partner, they have a strong and current technology platform and employ best practices relative to Inventory Management. It’s the bedrock of a strong expense management program and the importance of an accurate and comprehensive billing inventory cannot be overstated.
To learn more, please reach out via our MoT platform demonstration.