Are You Getting These 5 Things From Your TEM Provider

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Evaluating telecom expense management (TEM) – also known today as technology expense management providers – is an important exercise that most modern-day enterprises undertake. Why? The short answer is that they are wise to do so, especially if they manage a complex network; they need to evaluate how best to manage their communication network. 

No matter how talented your internal network communications or telecom expense management team may be, they won’t be enough to do the enterprise expense management job properly these days. It’s too complicated and overwhelming for internal teams to deal with alone. 

They will need partner support from a TEM provider, so choosing the right TEM partner is an important decision for your organization.

“Getting this wrong could cost hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of dollars in lost opportunities for realizing savings.”

There are many reasons for this, most notably technological advances that drive non-stop changes to the landscape that undergirds the enterprise expense management industry. There are naturally other impactful social and cultural changes, along with economic pressures, which all converge to drive never-ending and accelerating changes to the enterprise expense management world. 

Let’s consider some important areas that should be front and center concerning decision-making when evaluating your current TEM provider or considering a new TEM partner.

5 Things You Should Get from Your TEM Provider

1. Strategic Technology and Vendor Direction

Is your TEM provider leading in delivering the right services at the right costs? Is this leading to material and organizational savings and increased efficiencies? Are they truly owning their role and commitment to delivering real value to your organization? 

Many TEM firms will over-sell their real ability to ply their technology platform and subject-matter-expertise to the task of proactive telecom expense management. They will do basic block and tackle tasks such as processing invoicing, but they often fail to take the initiative to add the true value that enterprises seek from their TEM partner.

Remember, you are hiring a telecom expense management partner to help supplement your internal team. To maximize the value from your TEM partner, you need to lean on them for their TEM technology platform (it better be strong) and for their subject-matter expertise (they better know a lot more than your internal team).  

They are the experts, so they must add value above and beyond what you would normally expect from your internal expense management team. Are they performing detailed analytical work regarding network audit and optimization analyses? Are they engaging vendors in dispute claims to help realize savings for your organization? Are they providing forward-leaning consultative direction to help continually stay out front of the ever-spinning telecom expense management lifecycle? 

TakeawayMake your TEM prove their worth. They need to demonstrate this via their technology platform, their systems/processes, and experienced personnel. 

2. Proactive Optimization vs. Retroactive Audit

Many enterprise expense management teams will engage their TEM partner to perform an audit and “find money.” This may appear to be a reasonable move, but it’s not the proactive big-picture thinking needed to have your enterprise expense management program flourish.

Yes, the team must perform audits to find incorrect billing and realize savings for the organization. This is certainly important. However, this should be seen as an activity to conduct while also performing a network optimization review.

It’s the optimization work that can drive proactive savings for the organization and get the expense management team thinking in ways required to drive forward leaning and ongoing systemic savings for the organization.  

Expense management teams always need to remember that it’s not just about finding billing errors, a retroactive process, but also about driving material savings forward by asking the right questions like:  

  • Are we procuring the right services at the right costs?
  • Are these services billing competitively at present as opposed to past market conditions?
  • How can we make the needed changes moving forward to secure the right services for current organizational needs at the right costs, given the current marketplace?
  • How are we positioning ourselves contractually for future moves? 

Takeaway:  It’s not just about one-time retroactive savings derived from audits but also about forward-thinking that seeks to envision the TEM program in total and as an entity that needs to evolve and develop constantly. This means always securing the right network services and assets for organizational needs at the right costs and in an ongoing way. This means performing both audit and network optimization analyses well. 

3. Accurate Inventory

We have had many recent blogs touting the importance of a comprehensive and accurate inventory. It’s always a focus from our point of view because it serves as the foundation for a strong and healthy telecom expense management program that is worth its salt. For more information on the importance of an accurate inventory, please see the following inventory blog.

Takeaway:  Inventory, inventory, inventory. It’s the foundation upon which the rest of the enterprise expense management program builds. We cannot overstate the importance of a comprehensive and highly detailed inventory, which is updated continuously. 

4. Subject-Matter-Expertise

It’s no surprise that you need your telecom/technology expense management partner to provide expertise beyond what your internal team possesses. This is to take nothing away from the internal TEM team.

Most enterprises possess strong internal TEM teams, but they should not be relied upon for high-level TEM industry expertise. This is the domain of the TEM firm. Your internal team should serve as a strong management arm and liaison between the TEM firm and internal management.

Takeaway:  It’s important to ensure your TEM proves its value daily. Their expertise facilitates the overall scalability of your enterprise expense management program.

5. Guaranteed Savings

Does your current TEM provider guarantee savings? Suppose your telecom/ technology expense management partner cannot guarantee that they can pay for themselves and guarantee a positive ROI for your organization. In that case, you should seriously consider another TEM provider.

Takeaway:  A TEM firm that knows that it can deliver value will guarantee TEM program savings. Steer-clear away from a TEM firm that will not do this. Consider yourself warned. 

Final Thoughts on TEM Provider Value

Choosing a competent TEM partner is more important than ever. The stakes are high, given the money large enterprises spend on their communications networks. It’s worth taking time to evaluate your existing TEM partner – if you have one – and invest in proper discovery with potential TEM partners if you choose one for the future. 

To learn more about how we go about our TEM program at Tellennium, schedule a brief demo of our platform. 

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