Should you outsource to a TEM provider?

Generally speaking, yes, you should partner with a TEM provider to help you manage your telecom and communications related spend. In this article, we’ll cover four primary reasons it’s in your interest to outsource your TEM, if your company is of sufficient size (e.g., we typically recommend TEM support if your communications network spend is greater than $500k annually). 

 And we believe this is true, even if you have talented internal expense management staff currently managing expense management responsibilities for your organization. This may sound counterintuitive.  

Why hire a third-party provider for TEM when I have my own trusted folks? And if my workload increases, I can hire some more smart folks. After all, “we have a strong referral program” is a common refrain we hear. 

To be clear, we are not advising that you layoff your internal existing staff, which is what many not familiar with the TEM world reflexively assume. When a TEM partnership is done well, it is a situation whereby the enterprise company retains its strong internal staff; the only folks that might be let go would be folks that you would ordinarily let go anyway, for reasons such as poor performance.  

You choose to partner with a TEM to scale effectively over the long term. To optimize your communications network for the right mix of services/products at the right costs, network operability, and retain organizational flexibility and responsiveness over the long term (3 years and beyond), you can best achieve this via a TEM partnership. 

It’s less about outsourcing per se, and more about a meaningful TEM partnership that will deliver expense management results sustainably over time.  

As noted in past articles, this is not a “one and done” type of thing; this is about cultivating a healthy and ongoing expense management culture. 

4 Reasons to partner with a TEM provider

  1. Your company size is big enough to realize scale upside: As alluded to earlier, if you are “big enough,” i.e., typically over $500k in annual network spend, then you should partner with a TEM provider that you have vetted and believe in. 

Companies with millions in annual communications network spend will have large service volumes and network complexities that justify partnership with a TEM. The TEM will possess the right TEM platform, subject-matter-expertise (SME), employ industry best practices, and generally do all things to assist in scaling smartly over time. (It would be terribly difficult for your internal expense management team to do everything on their own, no matter how talented they are.) 

And to be clear with respect to scalability: Larger enterprises will make far more communications and operational mistakes than necessary, costing hundreds of thousands – if not millions – over the course of multiple years if they are not properly partnered with a TEM firm.  

In today’s modern era of enterprise expense management, “scalability” is reason enough to partner with a competent firm. It’s that important in a marketplace demanding flexibility and quick responsiveness to constantly changing conditions. 

  1. Your employees are overwhelmed: Today, there is so much to know and do leaving many employees feeling overwhelmed and burned out. And this is not where you want your employees or organization to be. A strong TEM partner will serve as powerful adjunct to your internal team providing additional support and expertise. 

The economy is experiencing a well-documented worker shortage; there simply is no better way to respond to this challenge than by TEM partnership. This move effectively addresses multiple labor challenges at once:

Hiring new staff challenge goes away; your TEM will provide the appropriate quantity and quality of resources needed to address expense management needs as things change.

You can empower your existing internal staff by having them focus on higher-value tasks more directly related to their individual skill sets and they can assist with key support and oversight items related to the work your TEM partner is performing.

Your trusted TEM partner will not only help with the hands on, but more importantly assist with the heavily lifting in terms of industry knowledge and expertise required to drive material results consistently over time. They will facilitate a greater sense of control and agency over the enterprise expense management program and empower your team.  

As workload increases or diminishes you can lean on the TEM partner to help adjust accordingly and in real time. In our present era of labor challenges, this is a big area where your TEM partner can step up and assist in enhancing your organization’s responsiveness. 

  1. You have no TEM platform or a homegrown technology platform: To be frank, this simply won’t cut it. With the myriad of communications carriers, services, plans, and technologies presently in play, you need a TEM technology platform that is current and robust if you hope to thrive and not simply survive in 2022 and beyond. You will be buried in bad data otherwise.

A robust and hearty TEM platform will provide the right data housing and configuration capabilities needed to effectively manage enterprise network expenses in our current era. (Excel spreadsheets, homegrown apps, or even outdated TEM platforms won’t suffice anymore.) 

A powerful TEM platform will also provide critical and penetrating insight into your enterprise’s network spend in the aggregate, with appropriate drill-down and breakout visualizations for your management team.  

And this is especially critical with respect to inventory management. It’s absolutely a must that cutting-edge enterprises on top of their expense management game in 2022 have a highly clean and detailed inventory. And a strong TEM platform will provide these capabilities. (At Tellennium, we focus heavily on the importance of inventory and are always keen to talk about it.) 

  1. You need to get your TEM program organized and efficient to save time and money: Not being in control gets expensive. This is true in every aspect of our lives and it’s especially in the world of Telecom | Technology Expense Management. 

If you do not have the right systems (e.g., Technology Platform), right personnel (e.g., SMEs to deliver expertise), and a strong handle on current industry realities and best practices, then it will cost you dearly. 

Modern enterprises that do not properly manage their communications network expenses lose hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions yearly. This is especially common for larger enterprises with many locations across the U.S. and/or world.  

We typically see so much decentralization of management that late payment fees, along with disconnect fees for services are extremely common and it can get far more expensive than one might think.  

In many cases, a strong TEM partner can generate enough savings from basic cleanup such as this, that it alone can cover the cost of your TEM partner. 

Conclusion

Today’s world is complicated and tough, no doubt. There are no simple answers or silver bullets. However, there are smarter choices that will take you closer to the light. And partnering with a competent TEM provider is one of them. 

In the end, we do believe that most mid to larger enterprises will require a TEM these days. The question is less about whether to partner with a TEM provider and more about who to partner with. And we recommend reviewing at least 3 to 5 TEM providers before making a choice.

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

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