Top Time & Planning Mistakes to Avoid When Switching TEM Providers

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Top Time & Planning-Mistakes to Avoid

Let’s face it. Switching is painful. And this is true for most things in life.  

We can all relate and, no surprises here, but the world of Technology, also known as Telecom Expense Management works the same way. In fact, this is a world that an internal enterprise expense management team can Telecom Expense Management works the same way. In fact, this is a world that an internal enterprise expense management team can get severely burned by if they find themselves resistant to change. 

And we are not talking about change simply for the sake of change. We are only advocating for openness to change if your current TEM provider is not meeting expectations. 

Enterprise expense management teams beware as you do not want to be the team that gets burned by the gravity of complacency. You will fall into one of two camps if you are presently reading this article:

1. You have gone through a TEM transition

You know it takes work but is needed, especially for those that have suffered through a poorly delivering TEM provider. You want to ensure that your next transition goes smoothly so you are open to any/all thoughts that can help make this move successful. (We believe much of this should resonate with you.) 

2. You have NOT gone through a TEM transition

You know that something needs to change but are doubtful of what to expect, even unsure if you must switch your TEM provider but you have doubts.

If you are in this group, please pay special attention to our suggestions as these types of issues are commonplace in our view. (Hopefully, we can spare you the pain that other organizations had to learn the hard way.) 

In this blog, we will examine time and planning realities that can make switching TEM providers more difficult than needed. 

Not leaving enough time to switch your TEM provider is an issue that is extremely common. Unfortunately, because this exercise is seen as labor-intensive and fraught with challenges, it’s fair to say that most enterprise expense management teams “put this off,” so-to-speak and therefore put themselves at a huge time disadvantage if they finally decide to switch their TEM provider.

At a minimum, we would recommend engaging review of other TEM providers | TEM solutions at least 9 months prior to leaving your existing TEM partner. And the parallel concept here is to target having a signed agreement with your new TEM partner at least 4 months prior to go-live. (You will need this time for implementation of your new TEM program.) 

Key Time Targets

We can’t stress this enough; time is critical here. If you give yourself the gift of time, you will be able to work through this process properly, so the earlier of a jump you can get on all things here the better. 

Let’s look in a little more detail at three common switching challenges that relate to either time or planning:

TEM Provider Switching – 3 Key Areas

1. Leave Enough Time For The Sales Cycle

You need to allocate enough time for your Sales cycle. The Sales cycle for the TEM industry can easily run 12+ months and why we recommend giving your team at least 9 months. If you are going to RFP with 3 to 5 vendors, there are a multitude of Sales personnel, support personnel, and various other parties who will add more time and complexity to the overall process.

It’s going to happen; there will be significant chaos in this process. And there simply is no avoiding it; there is just too many minutiae in play for it to be otherwise. Leave yourself time and you have a better chance to succeed with your TEM transition. 

Once you do decide on a new TEM partner, you will have to deal with multiple iterations of contract redlines, amongst other burdensome administrative hurdles. This will involve various authorities, whether they be finance focused or operations focused. 

2. Prepare Detailed Transition Planning

To switch TEM providers right, give yourself time to prepare for the transition from the old TEM provider to your new TEM partner. The incoming TEM provider will carry most of the load relative to the transition, but you will want to think through various scenarios that might cause problems. And don’t be afraid to mention them to your incoming TEM for transition preparation. 

In our experience, some aspects of the transition are simpler than others. Integrating Accounts Payable tends to be easier, whereas Human Resources items, especially those associated with mobility management and licensing tend to be a little trickier to deal with. (Again, don’t be afraid to discuss in detail with your incoming TEM partner so no one is caught off guard.)

If you do not receive a satisfactory response for transitioning, we recommend speaking with additional providers until you find the one you can believe in and trust to transition effectively. 

The key takeaway to remember here with respect to transition delays has to do with carriers. They will often: 

-Be slow to change billing addresses 

-Bel slow to change EDI routes 

And these changes will often take two, three, or more billing cycles to implement corrections.

3. Perform Security Review | Operations Management

There are various operational and data security items that enterprises need to concern themselves with these days. Data concerns alone can potentially overwhelm an organization so pay attention to this area when considering your TEM provider transition.

Security protocols are of the utmost importance, but there are other data compliance areas to concern yourself with such as GDPR that involve time and attention as well. Get into the details with your prospective TEM partner and have them detail how they will manage this key area of transition.

A strong transition plan should include a clear road map for data management and metrics for success.


In today’s world, a trusted and competent TEM partner is a given for larger enterprises. This is a major decision for internal enterprise expense management teams that know they need strong third-party TEM support  to round out and bring the best to their overall TEM program.  

A strong TEM partner will bring an open mind to seeking out new ways of doing things in accordance with best practices to drive effectiveness and efficiencies. They will also be hyper-focused on developing new opportunities for process improvements and network savings. 

You simply do not want to be in a position whereby you feel you need to resign with a poorly performing TEM partner because you did not leave enough time to execute a TEM transition. (You will need to accept higher rates in addition to sub-par performance if you let procrastination get the best of you.) 

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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