Evaluating telecom expense management (TEM) or – also known today as technology expense management providers – is an important exercise that most modern-day enterprises are undertaking. Why? The short answer is because they must.
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 can be 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 a multitude of reasons for this, most notably technology advances that drive non-stop changes to the landscape that undergirds the entire 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 seemingly accelerating changes to the enterprise expense management world.
Let’s consider some of the important areas that should be front and center with respect to decision-making when evaluating your current TEM provider or considering a new TEM partner.
"Getting this wrong could cost hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of dollars in lost opportunities for realizing savings."
6 Things You Should Get from Your TEM Provider
1. Strategic Technology and Vendor Direction
Is your TEM provider leading in terms of delivering the right services at the right costs? 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 with adding 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 really maximize the value from your TEM partner, you really 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 need to add real value above and beyond what you would normally expect from y our internal expense management team. Are they performing detailed analytical work in terms of 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?
Takeaway: Make your TEM prove their worth. They need to demonstrate this via their technology platform, their systems/processes, and SME talent.
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 at first blush, but it’s not the proactive big-picture thinking needed to have your enterprise expense management program flourish.
Yes, the team needs to perform audits to find incorrect billing and realize savings for the organization. However, this should be seen as a supplement to the real expense management exercise of conducting a network optimization.
It’s the optimization work that drives real material savings for the organization and, more importantly, gets the expense management team thinking in ways required to drive proactive and ongoing systemic savings for the organization.
Expense management teams need to always remember that it’s less about finding billing errors as this is a retroactive process, but more 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: Expense management teams need to think more in terms of nurturing a living and organic entity with respect to their expense management programs. It’s less about one-time retroactive savings derived from audits and more about forward-thinking that seeks to envision the TEM program in the aggregate and as an entity that needs to constantly evolve and develop. This means always securing the right network services and assets for organizational needs at the right costs and in an ongoing way.
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 of because it serves as the foundation for a strong and healthy telecom expense management program that is truly 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 enterprise expense management program builds. We cannot overstate the importance of a comprehensive and highly detailed inventory, which is updated continuously.
It’s no surprise that you need your telecom / technology expense management partner to provide a level of expertise above and beyond what your internal team possesses. This is to take nothing away from the internal TEM team.
Most enterprises do 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: As previously noted, it’s important to make sure that your TEM proves its value day-in and day-out. It’s their expertise which facilitates the overall scalability of your enterprise expense management program.
5. Guaranteed Savings
Does your current TEM provider guarantee savings? If your telecom/ technology expense management partner cannot guarantee that they can pay for themselves and guarantee a positive ROI for your organization, then 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.
6. Satisfaction Guaranteed
Along the same lines as guaranteed savings, does your TEM partner believe in itself enough to not hold your enterprise to a lengthy contract even if you and your team are not satisfied with TEM program results? A competent TEM partner will let you out of your agreement at any time for any reason.
Takeaway: A TEM firm that knows that it can deliver value will allow you out of your contract at any time. Stay away from TEM firms that will not backup their Sales claims with contractual guarantees. Talk is loud and cheap, while actions speak quietly and powerfully for themselves.
Choosing a competent TEM partner is more important than ever. The stakes are high given the amount of money that 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 in the process of choosing 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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