Act in haste, repent at leisure; seek wise counsel; rely on your brain not your emotions; learn how to actively listen; and count to ten. That’s Inc.’s view of the five keys to great decision making. We believe the new Gartner 2019 TEM Market Guide will be a great help with the first three at least, should you be considering a new TEM Vendor.
The advisory firm’s new report is crammed with useful information on the current state of the TEM market and its key players, but, to give you a taster, here are our three key takeaways.
1. TEM Software Alone Is Not Enough
In the report, the words “software”, “SaaS”, and “platform” appear a combined 101 times while the word “service” alone is used 218 times. Services are therefore mentioned more than twice as much as tools.
But is there any real significance behind this difference?
Well, yes – a core theme running through the report is the trend towards service over software. As noted by Gartner:
Enterprises are moving toward fully managed and outsourced TEM services delivered with cloud-based applications.
The guide notes that greater pressure on enterprise resources and governance to control budgets and IT services is driving this shift. Rising complexity in IT and telecom estates has also been instrumental, and Gartner reports seeing customer frustration when invoice loading and inventory have proven tough. If you delve a little deeper into the causes behind this drift to a managed service, three will invariably surface:
- TEM customers are increasingly aware that many software vendors are not well-versed in payment servicing and back-office processing and cannot deliver the substantial value tied to a full-service solution.
- Much of today’s workforce feel that time is a scarce resource. A managed service puts hours back into the working day, freeing up team members to focus on, for example, those business transformation projects they never have enough time for.
- Data becomes information when it is presented in a meaningful context. By engaging a service team of TEM experts, you make better decisions, based on accurate and timely inventory and expense data – rather than just acting on hunches.
2. Mergers and Acquisitions Can Be Messy and Aggravating
Unfortunately, vendor churn has been part and parcel of the TEM industry for some years. Many TEM providers are owned by short-term investors so the danger of the vendor being sold (or worse) during the contract is ever-present for the customer. This is often highly disruptive – the service is interrupted, staff may need to retrain on a new platform, and the business must bear the expense of re-implementing projects.
Gartner offers some counsel on this issue in its “Market Recommendations” page, stating that sourcing, procurement, and vendor management leaders should perform due diligence on TEM vendors involved in merger and acquisition (M&A) activity. The focus should be on a provider’s capacity to maintain:
- day-to-day activities
- service delivery
- future platform roadmaps
- financial position
In its “Factors Influencing TEM Vendor Selection” section, Gartner mentions the usual suspects – price, service delivery etc – but also acknowledges the impact of M&A activity. The research firm neatly sums up the current climate:
There is some uncertainty regarding roadmaps and long-term plans associated with platforms’ integration through M&A activity and whether vendor consolidations will impact day-to-day services.
Gartner reveals the ownership of many of the TEM companies it features, but for more advice on investigating company makeup, and on avoiding the messy complications of churn, see our earlier post: How to Assess a TEM Vendor’s Stability.
3. In-Region Resources are Vital to Global TEM
Another market recommendation made in the report is to examine the local capabilities of the vendor to ensure they will meet local fulfilment needs and service levels. At face value, this can all sound a bit obvious and inconsequential.
But in reality, there’s vast variation in the way telecom infrastructure is provisioned in different corners of the world, so certain technical expertise, language proficiency, cultural understanding, and local knowledge is crucial if, for example, an American TEM company is to expect any chance of success in China or Italy.
But maybe you’re still questioning these assertions or thinking the importance of local capabilities is often overblown? Well, another way of looking at it is to ask the question: what sorts of things do we know go wrong when in-region resources aren’t in place? It’s a long list, but here are the top three:
- Savings are lost: When TEM vendors aren’t familiar with the local dialect and currency, they often can’t process multiple currencies or can’t properly dispute erroneous charges, bringing about disappointing results for their customer.
- Fines, sanctions, and penalties: Before a company can use its telecom network to transmit personal data globally, it must navigate a maze of country-specific privacy laws. It’s all too easy to slip up on some unfamiliar regulatory mandate, and claiming ignorance rarely “lets you off the hook”.
- The best deals aren’t secured: Without a detailed understanding of the local telecom market, a TEM provider would essentially be “bringing a spoon to a knife fight” when they try and help you benchmark, source, and procure the best contract rates and terms. It’s only with regional resources in place that a TEM vendor can impart worthwhile advice on viable rates and terms, negotiate waivers, and know what a vendor is really willing to give.
Hopefully, our three key takeaways have served as a useful taster and will also help you in digesting the full guide. If you’re considering TEM vendors and want to make the best possible decision, our RFP post will also prove useful, as will Best Practices for Choosing a TEM Provider. To book a consultation or to hear more about how we can help your organization control costs and manage telecom devices, you can also contact us.
And of course, the new 2019 Gartner TEM Guide is yours to download here for free, anytime.