Key question when choosing a TEM partner

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How many Telecom Expense Management platforms does your TEM firm support?

Many Telecom Expense Management firms will showcase their primary/aspirational TEM platform while quickly glossing over – if even discussing at all – the many other TEM platforms that they utilize and that are still presently in service at their firm.

Less is More

You might ask, “Why is it a problem to have multiple technology platforms?” Well, it does not always mean that there is a big problem, but it usually is not a good sign for – you – the potential client.

The reason why some of the more high-profile TEM firms are well known is because of their size. You say, “What’s wrong with size? This makes me feel more secure; they must know what they are doing to get so big and well-known.” Well, this sounds good in theory but not so fast.

Many of these larger high-profile Telecom Expense Management firms that transmit safety and security to the harried and over-burdened corporate TEM-team in dire-straights are usually more polish than horsepower.

The reason why many of these firms are higher profile is because they are bigger. And many of them are bigger because of accelerated inorganic growth.

It is too much inorganic growth too fast which can create service delivery challenges for the larger TEMs and impact the service clients receive. Too many TEM platforms in service is a red flag to watch for and reflects this reality.

M&A Activity

Many have grown through acquisitions of competitors, which is a strategy most often employed by the larger TEM firms which have become very powerful within the telecom consulting industry over the past 15 to 20 years.

Because your larger TEM is likely driven to maximize short-term financial gains for shareholders via accelerated inorganic growth, it is likely that it has grown too quickly through multiple acquisitions.

When this happens, the takeover company digests various other companies and – by extension – their TEM technology platforms.

Legacy Technology & Systems

So, a larger firm that swallows-up many opponents ends up usually having to support the legacy TEM platforms from these acquired companies.

Yes, the company will try to migrate the systems/processes/data from acquired companies to the newer primary Telecom Expense Management platform and methodologies showcased by the Telecom Expense Management firm, but this is not always easy, and it takes time. 

Given this reality, many larger TEMs need to continue to use and support many of these legacy technology platforms ad infinitum.

To say that this is undesirable, inefficient, costly, and painful is an understatement. The dysfunction created by a myriad of technology platforms supported concurrently will spill over to the quality of support received for your company, even though your invoicing is processed by the newest showcased platform alone.Telecom Expense Management


The big TEM puts on its front-facing persona and talks a great game, keeping as much attention on the primary technology platform featured by the firm as possible.

The pitch will be centered around the new leading platform/technology and closely followed by the strategic vision of the company and the wide breadth of internal talent and subject-matter-expertise contained within the firm.

The Sales-pitch presented by the large TEM will often appear impressive. And it should because it is designed to be so, playing off perceived strengths like size and highly developed brand awareness.

So long as you know the right questions to ask and things to look for, you can get to the pertinent particulars to appreciate more fully what the TEM is bringing to the table – good and bad – when making your decision around choosing a TEM partner.

There are many considerations, and this is certainly an important one. We will evaluate other key areas in upcoming blogs.


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