TEM Dispute Resolution: How a TEM Provider Can Help

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TEM Dispute Resolution - How a TEM Provider Can Help

You are likely under pressure right now to realize more financial savings for your organization. You are leading an expense management team for a large enterprise and your internal technology/telecom expense management (TEM) team is good, but you are still concerned if they will be enough. 

Bottom line: You will need to win disputes with vendors quickly so you will need a very strong dispute resolution team.  

Time is ticking and although your existing/internal expense management team is capable, they lack the bandwidth to scale your overall TEM program to adequately to your CFOs expectations.

There is heavy pressure around TEM program operational improvements. And expense management savings goals are aggressive for both the near and long term, although results for the next two to four quarters hold real urgency for you and your team.

The pressure is on, but failure is not an option. So, what do you do?

The Value of a TEM for Dispute Resolution

Enlisting the help of a competent TEM partner is the right answer here. They have the experience and subject matter expertise that can help your team survive and thrive, even beyond the overly aggressive aspirations of your hard-charging CFO.

You have been researching TEM providers and now know enough to understand that you can’t internal-hire your way out of this situation. Good for you.

You need to also be able to realize material credits within your organization in an expedited fashion. After all, your CFO and C-level management team are relying on this for forecasting, reporting, and satisfying internal senior leadership financial expectations.

Let’s review how a competent TEM provider can assist you and your internal TEM team with the dispute resolution process and realize more material savings as quickly as possible.

4 Ways a TEM Provider Helps with Carrier Dispute Resolution & Realizing Savings

1. TEM provider platform tracking processes are well-defined

A strong TEM will leverage a highly powerful and customizable technology platform to set up appropriate dispute process workflows.

Each will be consistent with current TEM industry best practices but – just as importantly – are built to log and track billing disputes in a clear and concise manner for the specific needs of your TEM organization.

Each TEM provider will likely do things a little differently so pay attention to how each details their process when interviewing TEM providers. Can they easily configure their technology to address your specific organizational requirements? 

At Tellennium, all disputes are logged and tracked in an easily digestible format for expense management leadership. For example, all dispute issues are not moved to “closed” status until verified on an invoice.  

And our system will automatically generate alert notifications to the appropriate stakeholders for, say, reporting aged disputes for proper prioritization of the dispute resolution team.

2. TEM provider reporting is accurate and clear

Being able to clearly see dispute resolution progress is critical. Comprehensive aging and accrual reporting should be provided by most current TEM platforms.

TEM project managers should provide full updates and report to our enterprise customers in bi-weekly meetings. If customers are interested in viewing progress in more real-time and prior to status meetings, they can access reporting via their portal instance or can have automated reports sent via email.

Most TEM vendors should provide clear reporting of the financials for each dispute in open, pending, and resolved statuses.  Strong TEM providers will associate each dispute reported with a circuit, service, account number, and invoice. Each will also be connected to inventory data for line-of-sight into this critical aspect of data management. 

3. TEM team expertise and accountability are strong

Your TEM provider will provide a team of subject matter experts and manage the dispute resolution process with all service providers. And they will be leveraging a platform that is well-suited to supporting this process with strong dashboards and reporting.

At Tellennium, for example, our MoT platform automatically flags all accounts and invoices that have an open dispute.

Disputes are identified as exceptions based on predefined auditing standards and are associated with dollar amounts that are categorized as follows:

• Recurring Credits – cost avoidance/audit-based or optimization based
• One-Time Credits – cost avoidance/audit-based or optimization based

And there are four basic audit types that should be focused on. We categorize them as follows:

  1. Contract Grid
  2. Inventory Level
  3. Audit and Business Rules
  4. Variance Reviews
    • Percentage based
    • Dollar based

If you’ve never utilized a competent TEM in this regard, you should see a very marked improvement in the identification and realization of credits in your dispute resolution process.

4. TEM team communications are optimized

Each TEM vendor will have its own preferences for how best to communicate but you should expect clear and concise communications from your TEM vendor as they will be leading the way and setting the standard for your entire organization.

You should also expect your TEM provider to establish engagement rules with you that include the management, reporting, and approvals required before initiating any dispute processes. Credits and progress should be tracked and reported on in the regularly scheduled client conference calls.


Telecom/technology expense management has many facets to it and the dispute resolution piece is one that tends to get covered a little less than, say, invoice processing, audit, or optimization managed services.  

It’s important to realize that this is yet another area to inquire about with all potential TEM partners. You will want to compare responses and their approaches to see which resonates best with you and your organization. 

Remember, it’s not enough to identify all potential savings opportunities as outlined in this article, you also need to capture them accurately and recognize them in a timely manner for your expense management organization’s financials.

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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