It’s commonplace within the telecom/technology expense management (TEM) world for new buyers to immediately inquire about potential savings estimates during the TEM discovery process. We also often hear related questions from experienced TEM buyers.
Here’s the problem with that question – it’s too narrow. Savings are a crucial part of a successful TEM program, however, there are other benefits that accompany an effective TEM program that should be considered when vetting TEM providers.
In this article, we’ll focus on seeing the TEM big picture and understanding that there is much more to a mature TEM program than driving initial TEM savings via billing audits.
TEM Program Initial Savings Overview
Finding your communications network expense management savings is important but, an incomplete view of how a healthy TEM program operates.
Initial realized savings will be delivered by your new TEM partner, and they may be material in nature, especially if your company has no prior experience working with a TEM. Depending upon the size of your enterprise, initial TEM program savings could be in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions in many instances.
This is often the case because there was no prior TEM provider support. So now the chances of finding billing errors, unoptimized services, and other problems that generate savings opportunities are much greater.
The spend size, number of vendors, number of services, the complexity of services, et cetera will determine the final savings realized on your front-end audit. It’s all case by case with so many variables involved; there is no perfect formula to reference here but you get the idea.
Prior TEM Support Audit Savings Expectations
For enterprises that had prior TEM partner support, the chances for initial audit savings will naturally be lower because the prior TEM firm has tackled the lower-hanging fruit relative to finding billing errors and reviewing the network for service optimization opportunities.
Even if they did a sub-par job of delivering savings via audits during their tenure, they surely will still have made effort enough to produce some savings.
A More Mature View of TEM
The initial savings opportunities that your new TEM provider will deliver reflect only one area of concern for their management team. A strong TEM program entails managing other expense management areas beyond initial front-end audit and optimization opportunities.
A TEM partner will assist your team in building a sustainable and proactively managed 360-degree TEM program that yields ongoing savings, efficiencies, and increased visibility. This would include a TEM technology platform along with a team of highly skilled subject matter experts that will work to build a scalable program that embraces digital transformation, increased network visibility, drives continual micro-efficiencies via optimization exercises, and enhances business continuity capabilities.
Let’s review four important aspects of a healthy TEM program that delivers real value for customers over the long term.
4 TEM Program Areas Worth Prioritizing
1. A powerful TEM technology platform is a TEM priority
This garners attention during the TEM discovery process for the obvious reason that it’s a shiny object, a new car so-to-speak. People can clearly look at something they are buying and evaluate it compared to other comparable products on the market.
Beyond the excitement of a new and tangible TEM toy, a modern TEM technology platform is really required to do TEM properly in today’s marketplace, provided it’s a legitimate modern-day platform. Of course, you will make this determination during your TEM provider evaluations.
Simply put, new TEM platforms are designed to house exceptionally enormous amounts of data, they are highly configurable to accommodate your organization’s unique expense management process needs, they are optimized for automation capabilities, and can deliver outstanding reporting functionality for overall TEM program visibility and data transparency.
For example, with respect to audit and optimization, at Tellennium, our repository of carrier service rates can reference our TEM platform in real-time. Our MoT technology platform is built to drive a continual audit and monitoring process which proactively locates billing discrepancies, monitors inventory, and assists in the tracking of audit-related tasks as well as all telecom moves, adds, changes, and deletions (MACD) activities.
Platform Takeaway: A strong TEM platform facilitates long-term ongoing TEM program data management beyond project front-end audit findings. It’s never “one and done.” It’s an ongoing process of proactively managing telecom network expenses.
2. Subject Matter Expertise & Industry Best Practices is a TEM priority
You leverage specialized subject matter experts for effective sustainable TEM program management. We say this a great deal because it’s true: You simply cannot tap the deepest TEM domain expertise without partnering with a competent TEM.
There’s just too much to know. There are constant industry changes, and excessive market volatility, especially these days. This means a full in-house team will, in most cases, be overwhelmed.
As we also mention repeatedly: Yes, you want a strong and knowledgeable in-house TEM team, but you want them focused on their core strengths and involved in supporting and providing oversight to your TEM partner as they do the heavy recurring expense management lifting.
For example, a TEM will have highly specialized experts available to speak to a plethora of TEM industry requirements and demands that will simply be too much for your internal team alone.
TEM subject matter experts will be related to telecom services and telephony expenses, including mobile devices, wireline equipment, carriers, contracts, technology, dispute management, and provisioning to name a few areas.
Utility services and expenses, along with waste management services and expenses are also commonly included within scope these days.
SME Takeaway: For your organization’s TEM program to flourish, you need to build the most scalable program possible, which means leveraging deep-domain expertise that a competent TEM will provide.
3. Digital Transformation is a TEM priority
Modern-day enterprises that want to remain highly competitive and viable long-term need to embrace the trend of digital transformation. Simply put: It’s about the evolution of your network in a technologically smart way.
Another old saying, comes to mind, “You are either growing or dying.” Strong TEM programs are very much like living organisms. To flourish, they must pursue growth. And in the world of TEM, this means staying at the vanguard of new communications network technologies.
A static TEM program will die on the vine these days, which is what often occurs in enterprises that attempt to perform TEM entirely on their own. A highly competent TEM embraces digital transformation and will have resources assigned to ensure this occurs in your organization where needed.
Digital Transformation Takeaway: According to Gartner’s IT Roadmap for Digital Business Transformation, “the transformation journey is taking large enterprises especially twice as long and costing twice as much as they originally anticipated.”
They continue by noting that this is in large part “due to cultural readiness – 53% of organizations surveyed remain untested in the face of digital challenge and their digital readiness therefore uncertain.”
You want your organization to take the lead here and embrace digital transformation.
4. Business Continuity is a TEM priority
It’s important for your business to stay open, even in the face of difficult circumstances such as weathering storms or other catastrophic events if possible.
You will want to inquire in detail about your prospective TEM partner’s business continuity plan. They should have one and they should be able to provide it to you for your review and comparison against other TEM vendors.
Business Continuity Takeaway: The importance of ensuring that all business processes, systems, and technologies are backed up and supported to the greatest extent possible is critical to avoiding disruptions to your business.
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