Drive Efficiencies and Cost Savings for Your Enterprise: AP Automation + Management of Things®

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Management of Things®

In today’s world, mid to large enterprises that rely on legacy TEM strategies, tactics, and technology will experience missed savings opportunities, lack of visibility, and reliance on platforms and vendors that can’t deliver all that is now vital for the enterprise. This next generation of enterprise expense management is referred to as the Management of Things® (MoT®) and it allows enterprise expense management teams to drive greater organizational efficiencies and secure additional cost savings for the organization beyond legacy Telecom Expense Management (TEM) systems.

Let’s review some important areas within the legacy telecom expense management space and what is part of an MoT® solution that helps present-day enterprises realize greater financial savings and efficiency while also maintaining optimized network operations. We will also examine a few other areas that are top-of-mind for Enterprise Leadership these days.

Enterprise MoT® Accounts Payable - Cost Savings and IT Optimization Areas

One area that deserves special attention is Accounts Payable (AP) activities and tasks. Accounts Payable functions are a key area for enterprise expense management teams. There is significant manual recurring labor tasks within this area and therefore various opportunities for optimizing processes and realizing substantial financial savings for the organization.

Both finance and IT teams should always be on the lookout to find ways to employ current best practices for maximizing automation opportunities. The Account Payable (AP) recurring activities for the most complex and time-consuming tasks is an excellent opportunity.

Invoice Processing: According to Amalgam Insights, the cost of processing a complex vendor invoice is approximately $92 for an enterprise. This seems high and it is. There are several reasons for this. A few notables are as follows:

      • Invoice Collections: The labor involved in properly collecting invoices from numerous carriers can be intensive. Each large telecom carrier has various billing systems, delivery methods, multiple websites, and billing formats.. Many may put an Enterprise on automated electronic billing that goes to someone’s email addresses in AP, getting lost along the way, or invoices must be manually downloaded from the providers’ websites. Many still send paper invoices and some charge for it.This inconsistency for hundreds or thousands of invoices creates labor intensive chaos day after day. While consolidated billing can be an option for some of the invoices, there is typically a substantial fee associated it and often becomes more time-consuming to process and allocate the convoluted details due to the multiple sources and billings systems cobbled together to create the invoice.

      • Invoice Imaging: The labor involved in optimal character recognition (OCR) is often overlooked by TEM analysts. This is so because this process itself employs automation to save on employee labor hours for repetitive tasks. The OCR technology does, in fact, save full-time-equivalent (FTE) labor hours. However, TEM invoice imaging automation activities still require upfront FTE work to setup processes for automation. And manual guidance and oversite will always be needed on some level. This area of invoice management can be extremely costly if these processes are not optimized for automation wherever possible. (Do we have more detail for this? Maybe we could pull in some of the language about RPA technology here. We use RPA to pull invoice images down from websites.)

      • Telecom Invoice Review: The proper auditing for the invoicing of telecom services is no small task. The goal here should be employing automation to the greatest extent possible even though it is not 100% doable. Again, human intervention and management will always be necessary to some extent, and this is okay so long as automation is being leveraged wherever possible.  
        For example, telecom invoice variance audits for billed telecom services can employ massive automation. Conversely though, very granular and detailed analyses of billed services and IT optimization opportunities will still require human labor for the foreseeable future. An experienced human analyst is still required to at some level to do this job right.

      • Late Fees: Amalgam Insights estimates that organizations incur $30 per invoice, in late fees each month. At this cost, it’s clear that these fees alone can add substantial overhead for an enterprise not effectively managed. Your TEM organization will want to leverage its technology platform and TEM best practices to completely maximize cost optimization opportunities with respect to paying invoices on time and avoiding late fees. This seems so basic and yet it is so costly for many enterprises that are not well-managed with respect to TEM.

Enterprise MoT® & Other Expenses - Cost Savings and IT Optimization Areas

Inventory Maintenance: – Amalgam Insights estimates that each inventory item costs $0.82.

Moves, Adds, Changes, Deletes: All MACD activities require changes to circuit information to keep the inventory up to date. Some TEM platforms are better than others in this regard. Your organization will want to focus on leveraging automation through its technology platform to the greatest extent to maintain inventory. We can never say enough about the importance of a comprehensive, highly detailed and accurate inventory. The best TEM programs always have very well-maintained inventories.

Employee Lifecycle Management: The turning up and down of services when employees enter or leave the company seems simple and yet, again, it ends up presenting enterprises with all kinds of management challenges, especially when employees leave the company. One of the greatest issues that we see are services remaining left on and billed for months or years after an employee has left the company.

Organizations that leverage strong processes and centralized automation to the greatest extent will have a much easier time managing mobility devices, conference bridges, Microsoft 365 licensing and all other SaaS licenses. This is especially important these days with the explosion of SaaS licensing throughout all industries.

Utility Procurement: Nowadays, front-leaning TEM providers have expanded capabilities so that their solution can manage utilities expenses as effectively as traditional telecom expenses. This is definitely an expense area that we refer to as MoT and an area wide-open for organizations to take advantage of in deregulated markets.


We recommend that TEM organizations focus on two tracks of thinking when working to achieve cost-effective and optimized communication network services in late 2021 and beyond.

Enterprises are advised to focus on maximizing enterprise expense management best practices and employing massive automation in key traditional TEM areas such as Accounts Payable (AP) to streamline AP functions and deliver maximum financial value by minimizing communications network expenses.

They are also encouraged to expand their expense management scope beyond traditional TEM services and bring other enterprise expenses such as utilities under management and within scope for future expense management engagements.

At Tellennium, we believe that an average traditional TEM spend reduction of 28% is possible if the TEM team is leveraging a strong technology platform and employing strong enterprise expense management best practices. And the savings can be even more substantial in other MoT expense management areas. For example, we expect to realize an average procurement savings of 45% in the category of waste reduction. To learn more about our TEM program at Tellennium, please schedule a brief demo of our solution.

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Rob Halik is a Senior Analyst at Tellennium, specializing in Managed Mobility Services, Telecom Expense Management, and Utility Bill Management. With over 25 years of industry experience, Rob provides enterprise expense management insights to help businesses optimize their operations and reduce costs. This article is a collaborative effort by our expert team members at Tellennium, including Greg McIntyre, Shawn Veitz, Matt McIntyre, and Todd Givens, who collectively bring over 100 years of industry experience.

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