6 Important Considerations When Evaluating Enterprise Expense Management Providers (TEM & MMS)

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In today’s fast-paced business environment, managing telecommunications expenses and operations is a significant challenge for many organizations. With many carriers, constantly evolving technologies, and complex billing structures, most large companies often grapple with inefficiencies and higher-than-needed costs.  

If you are reading this, you can no doubt relate. This article will provide a brief background and overview of the value that TEM/MMS providers can provide their enterprise customers. It will also suggest six major areas to prioritize for discussion in TEM/MMS discovery sessions when evaluating potential partners. 

TEM & MMS History

Telecom Expense Management (TEM) and Managed Mobility Services (MMS) have come into play fairly recently. The TEM industry began to take off circa the early 1990s. This emergence was driven by the deregulation of the telecommunications industry and the subsequent increase in competition and complexity in telecom services and billing.  

It’s worth noting that the “TEM” acronym – originally meaning telecom expense management – has now expanded to include the meaning of technology expense management because of the rapidly growing complexities of enterprise communications. 

The closely related MMS industry emerged circa the early 2000s, gaining significant traction with the widespread adoption of smartphones and other mobile devices in the corporate environment. The key factors contributing to the rise of the MMS industry are like those that gave rise to TEM. (MMS can be thought of as “TEM for mobile devices.”) 

These key factors gave rise to these now-popular enterprise expense management solutions. 

Highlights for the rise of TEM 

  • Telecommunications deregulation in the U.S. resulted in many more carriers, varied service offerings, and complicated billing structures. 
  • Cost increases and the complexity of communications services (e.g., data services and varied phone options) made it far more difficult for companies to track and effectively manage their spending. 
  • Globalization, with all its inherent difficulties, created a demand for specialized management assistance. 
  • Rapid technology leaps opened the need for equally powerful technology management tools (e.g., TEM/MMS technology platforms) and expertise to assist companies with telecom/technology expense management functions. 

Highlights for the rise of MMS 

  • The global explosion of the use of mobile devices started with basic cell phones, progressed to widespread Blackberry device adaptation, and then quickly morphed into ubiquitous iPhone use from its inception in 2007. 
  • Mobile device management (MDM) – a subset of MMS support – became increasingly difficult for in-house enterprise expense management teams to manage. Areas such as application management, device procurement, and overall cost control measures could benefit from specialized expertise that TEM/MMS providers could offer. 
  • The rethinking of corporate assets versus personal assets within the culture and workforce. Bring your own device (BYOD) policies began to proliferate, necessitating more stringent management and expert support. For example, security management, policy compliance management, and overall expense management best practices would be difficult to handle fully in-house without specialized TEM/MMS provider support. 
  • The continued explosion of mobile technology and services has necessitated more reliance on specialized support. 
  • Security needs and regulatory compliance are major areas for enterprise expense management teams to seek help.  

Choosing the right TEM or MMS provider for these enterprise expense management services is crucial for optimizing telecom operations, achieving cost savings, and ensuring smooth business functionality. 

Let’s review six areas in more detail that are important for consideration when evaluating potential TEM/MMS providers. (It’s common for many enterprise expense management providers – such as Tellennium – to offer both these services.) 

6 Ways a TEM/MMS Provider Helps Your Organization

1. Network optimization support adds operational and cost savings value for enterprises

Telecommunications is vital to modern businesses and managing it effectively can be daunting. Organizations face various challenges, from keeping track of numerous service contracts to ensuring they are not overcharged for services they don’t use. TEM optimization steps in as a critical solution.  

It involves a comprehensive review of all carriers, services, and operations to pinpoint areas needing improvement and potential cost savings. This proactive approach helps organizations streamline network operations, reducing costs significantly and enhancing efficiency. 

Takeaway: Saving money in TEM/MMS programs comes from many areas, such as operational efficiencies (e.g., strong lean processes that save time and minimize mistakes), audits that enforce vendor operational and cost compliance (e.g., purpose audits and rate audits), as well as proactive optimization analyses that are forward-leaning and less reactive.  

Strong optimization analyses keep your enterprise expense management efforts vigilant and always train a key eye toward lean, effective service operations at the most competitive costs. 

2. An ROI guarantee assures your TEM/MMS provider will deliver value

One of the most compelling aspects of an effective TEM service is the return on investment (ROI) guarantee. This unique offering ensures that the cost of TEM services will outweigh the savings gained within the contract term. Such a guarantee reflects the provider’s confidence in their ability to deliver tangible results.  

For large enterprises or government organizations, this means peace of mind and assurance that their investment in TEM services will be beneficial. This guarantee demystifies TEM services and makes them a risk-free proposition for businesses, especially large enterprises averse to business transactions that are perceived to be high-risk. 

Takeaway: Many reputable TEM/MMS providers will provide this guarantee because they are confident they can deliver genuine value to their customers, a win-win for all. If not, why not? You will want to ask this question in TEM/MMS discovery sessions.

3. Domestic-based support adds the most value to your internal team

Regarding support, the team’s location can make a significant difference. Domestic-based support, particularly within the United States, offers numerous advantages. Firstly, it ensures that the support team operates within the same time zones as customers, enabling timely and efficient responses. 

Moreover, domestic teams are often more attuned to the local business landscape and regulatory environment, enhancing the quality of service. This local expertise means that organizations can rely on support that is not only quick but also knowledgeable and effective. 

Takeaway: Time zone, cultural, and communication challenges are minimized if not eliminated; we strongly recommend not overlooking this key area of support in discovery sessions with potential TEM/MMS partners.

4. Comprehensive inventory management is a foundation for strong TEM/MMS programs

At the heart of TEM and MMS is robust inventory management. It’s the cornerstone that supports informed decision-making and cost control.  

Comprehensive inventory management provides a clear view of an organization’s telecommunications assets and expenses. This visibility is crucial for identifying redundant services, ensuring proper allocation of resources, and avoiding unnecessary expenses.  

Effective inventory management leads to a more streamlined operation, where every asset is accounted for and every expense is justified. 

Takeaway: We discuss this often when discussing inventory because it’s important. Many TEM/MMS providers will generate an inventory from billing information alone because it is cheaper. And many large enterprises’ internal management teams will allow themselves to be persuaded toward this option because it is cheaper.  

We recommend building and generating an inventory of comprehensive carrier information, including customer service records and all other relevant service information. This allows for a much more comprehensive and accurate inventory. (Hitting the bullseye versus getting close makes a big difference in ongoing TEM/MMS programs over months and years.) 

This is critical because such data is used in all other TEM/MMS solution areas to make network operational and cost-saving decisions. Simply put, this is not an area you want to skimp on. 

5. Strong TEM / MMS programs all have competent help desk support

Help desk support is integral to well-managed TEM and MMS programs. It encompasses a range of services, from technical troubleshooting to handling service requests and user support.  

This support ensures issues are resolved swiftly and efficiently, minimizing downtime, and maintaining operational continuity. An experienced help desk team can significantly enhance the user experience, ensuring that the organization’s telecommunications infrastructure always operates smoothly. 

Takeaway: Problems are going to occur. This much we can all agree on. There are so many moving parts and shiny objects to keep your eyes on within the world of TEM and MMS that issues are inevitable. 

The honest answer is to be prepared with strong, competent support. And as noted above, we highly recommend domestic-based support as this is in the customer’s interest. Some TEM/MMS providers will outsource much of their support because it is cheaper for them to do so. However, it will be more costly for you and your team in the long term.

6. Skillful contract management sets up your organization for long-term success

Effective contract management is essential for maintaining healthy relationships with telecom carriers and ensuring long-term viability.  

Skilled subject matter experts can guide organizations through the complex landscape of telecom contracts. They help procure competitive contracts that offer the best rates and services suitable for the organization’s needs. This proactive management minimizes future issues and disputes, ensuring stable and cost-effective telecom services. 

Takeaway: All reputable TEM/MMS programs seek to manage the entire TEM/MMS lifecycle effectively. This naturally starts with the carriers, services, negotiated rates, and contract terms that your organization will need to live with for several years in most cases.  

Managing poorly elected carriers and services under poor contract terms or higher-than-needed rates puts your organization on its heels. It is a major disadvantage from the get-go. Investing in expert consultation in this area will save far more than it costs for your organization.

Final Thoughts on Key TEM/MMS Provider Areas of Value

There are many factors to consider when evaluating a potential TEM/MMS provider. In this article, we have selected six areas we believe are worth remembering in solution discovery sessions. 

It’s not just about reducing costs; it’s about achieving operational excellence and enabling businesses to focus on their core activities without the burden of managing their telecom infrastructure independently.  

As large enterprises continue to navigate the complexities of the current marketplace and intricacies of the digital landscape, the role of TEM and MMS providers becomes increasingly vital, both for the technology they bring and the expertise.  

The right TEM partner can help cut costs and add value to the organization by ensuring the efficiency, reliability, and scalability of all telecom/technology services. 

If you’d like to include Tellennium in your TEM/MMS vendor comparisons, contact us to schedule a brief demo of our solution. 

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