Choosing a telecom expense management (TEM) provider is a challenge. Numerous vendors operate within the TEM sphere, all flaunting a different configuration of products and services, and all claiming theirs is the optimum solution.
With all the animation in the market, it can be difficult to separate the mission-critical from the complementary and focus on the offerings of TEM that really matter. Here, we cut through the noise and outline the three most important areas of a TEM program for enterprise organizations.
1. Billing Analysis
For global enterprise organizations, the telecom environment is awash with activity.
Moves, Adds, Changes, and Disconnects (MACDs) of telecom infrastructure –whether fixed, mobile, or employee-owned as part of a BYOD program – is common, and this hub of activity makes the process of tracking, analyzing, and managing expenditure virtually impossible to perform. As a result, errors within billing data are exceedingly common, generating overspend that can quickly add up to vast sums when repeated month on month.
For this reason, the first capability a TEM provider must be able to offer is to help businesses control this spend through in-depth billing analysis.
Utilizing powerful software and telecom expense audits, vendors must be able to compare service invoices against usage information to identify areas of overspend, dispute these costs at their source, and recover the additional expenditure.
And, what's more, providers of these TEM services should be able to manage this large and often unruly quantity of invoice data across multiple global locations, in different languages, in-line with different regulatory authorities.
2. Procurement Support
Every organization everywhere needs telecom services, but due to the confusion created from the telecom-specific terminology, complicated rate-structures, and multi-year commitments for various, disparate services, to stand any chance of obtaining favorable terms and optimum rates, specialist expertise is needed.
With visibility into many vendors and a deep understanding of what they are really willing to give, the second capability a TEM vendor must be able to offer is global procurement support.
With the provision of in-region resource teams, vendors must assist you in not only making sense of the industry jargon and pricing across different economic areas and territories – including localized dialect and currency, as well as time-zone specific hours of operation – they must also ensure your procurement teams have all this information to hand, when they need it, so the best decision in both native and non-native regions can be made.
3. Global Provisioning Support
Provisioning fixed lines on a global scale is no easy feat for enterprise organizations. Ordering services like MPLS from vendors in Italy, China or Brazil requires local knowledge, language proficiency and cultural understanding, and in countries like China, specifically, orders won't be accepted unless they're presented on a physical piece of paper where the company's "chop" has been affixed.
Unlike much of the Western hemisphere, there are no quick-access portals, no one-click-to-provision buttons, and no way for a TEM vendor to complete that service without the cultural insight and information required. Therefore, the third and final capability a TEM vendor must provide is provisioning support on a global scale.
Your provider must offer the expertise, technical knowledge, and willingness to ensure the right service is ordered, contract stipulations are adhered to, and all activities are accurately being reflected in the telecom inventory in real-time – because, simply put, without provisioning staff located in each region, visibility into the telecom environment is hampered, cost-saving opportunities are squandered, and installations will fail to be successful.
How to Identify Great TEM
The three capabilities we’ve outlined above represents the absolute minimum requirements that you should expect from your TEM provider, with the provision of other services including managed mobility and BYOD also highly favorable to the global enterprise.
To be sure your supplier is able to carry out these capabilities comprehensively, it's important to review TEM case studies. By considering whether similarly sized organizations have garnered success from TEM services, it's possible to gauge the success of your own future TEM program.
But, to assist you even further with your search for the optimum provider, Gartner has produced a TEM market guide. Filled with useful information regarding TEM providers, including why Cass is the only publicly-traded vendor that can offer true global delivery facilities, as well as up-to-date insight into today’s TEM direction, the report is a handy resource when making your TEM vendor decision – download it today for free.