Why Utility Expense Management Now Matters for TEM Programs

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Why Utility Expense Management Now Matters for TEM Programs

If you are an expense management leader within the world of telecom expense management (TEM), you might be realizing – if you haven’t to this point – that you will need to start managing your organization’s utility expenses in much the same way that you presently manage your telecommunications expenses.  

And, of course, utility expense management makes sense the more you think outside the boundaries of traditional industry thinking. Specifically, thinking outside of traditional TEM industry prescriptive expense management practices and ways of thinking that have historically focused more narrowly on telecommunications expenses for the enterprise. 

Utilities are the New TEM 

Utility expenses can add up quickly, just like telecommunications expenses; gone are the days of overlooking these material recurring enterprise expenses.  

There is no longer an excuse for neglecting utility expense management within the world of TEM. In this article, we’ll highlight reasons why it’s important to manage these recurring enterprise expenses alongside traditional telecom expenses.

3 Reasons Why Utilities Expense Management Should Be Managed with Traditional TEM

1. Many current TEM platforms can now be configured to manage utility expenses

Utilities are to enterprises what water and air are to human beings. We must have them to exist, and they aren’t going anywhere. They can now be managed proactively like traditional TEM expenses because of technological advances in TEM platforms and management’s awareness that this too needs similar management as traditional telephony services.

  • System housing capabilities for utility data enhanced: You absolutely need the capability to house enormous amounts of data and parse them in ways that make sense for processing invoicing and performing audits. Modernized TEM platforms have the capability to do this for utility expenses as well.

  • System workflow capabilities for utility data enhanced: Setting up expense management best practices and workflows for utility expense management yields the same type of results that we see with TEM. Again, the category of invoicing may differ slightly from traditional TEM, but the organizational concepts and expense management imperatives found within the traditional world of TEM are alive and well here as well.

  • System customization capabilities for utility data enhanced: Like people, each enterprise organization is more alike than different but different and unique, nonetheless. As such, each organization can enjoy the expense management lessons derived from enterprise similarities over time, while also reaping the benefits of a platform that can be customized to address your organization’s unique requirements.

  • System reporting capabilities for utility data enhanced: It’s simple: on top of a one-system-of-record technology platform that can house comprehensive and clean data, you also need powerful reporting capabilities that can facilitate visibility so that your expense management team can make the right business decisions in a timely manner. Many current TEM programs / platforms can now do this for utility expenses as well (e.g., this is the case at Tellennium).

It’s critical to be able to view utility spend and usage trending by location to detect abnormal usage patterns. Good reporting will also facilitate various areas of analysis such as the monitoring of seasonal trends as well as forecasting needs.

2. Cost containment and savings are also needed for utility expenses

Current modern TEM platforms are now configured to also process utility invoicing because the TEM industry has awakened to the value that can be generated by doing so. Notable areas:

  • Utility bill audits and dispute resolution operations support utility invoicing – Like traditional TEM, the electric and water bills, amongst all other utility invoicing (e.g., waste management)  need to be processed, reviewed, and paid. And where billing errors are found, corrections need to be managed and credits received through traditional billing resolution practices.


  • Management of invoice late fees and service disconnections supports utility invoicing: Just like traditional TEM, if these invoices are not managed properly, there will be unwanted late fees and service disconnections, which can become an overwhelming headache in themselves, forget all the other expense management functions that need to be addressed.


  • Utility procurement and optimization analyses support utility management: Very much like traditional TEM, these services will need to be procured. And once within the network and operationalized, they will need to be monitored and periodically reviewed for optimization purposes. Utility expenses can ‘go rogue’ if not professionally managed just like traditional TEM expenses.


  • Utility bulk purchasing across organizational locations supports utility management: Folding utility expense management into your overall expense management program puts you in a position to drive similar front-of-program practices that can drive material savings for you and your team.  

3. Digital transformation and automation are just as important for utility expense management

Like traditional TEM, the same concepts of digital transformation and automation are to apply here as well.:

  • Eliminating manual processes is important for utility expenses: For example, we’ve mentioned how labor-intensive accounts payable processing can be for finance teams. What’s true for traditional TEM certainly applies here as well.

    Wherever automation and process streamlining can be employed within your expense management practice, it should be. Finance team cost allocations, reconciliations, and payments should have processes automated wherever possible, with human touches applied only where required.

    As technology continues to evolve, incremental gains will continue to drive efficiencies for utility expense management functions. 

  • Digital transformative enhancements important for utility expenses: Again, what’s good for traditional TEM is also applicable to utility expense management. Properly giving utility expenses the same treatment as telecommunications expenses is important for the expense management world going forward. 

    Wherever technology advances facilitate digital transformations, they should be embraced wholeheartedly. 


The TEM industry has matured over the past 25 years. Modern-day TEM firms are now stressing the importance of managing utility expenses in the same vein as traditional telecommunications expenses and we agree with this position.

If you’d like to consider Tellennium in your TEM platform/vendor comparisons, contact us to schedule a brief demo; our technology, processes, and team are set up to include utility expense management within our solution offering. 

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