The world is shrinking. From the moment we dubbed our current epoch the ‘information age’, transformation was inevitable. Today, we possess unbridled access to infinite data streams, and are more interconnected and interdependent than ever. The internet facilitates near-instant communication across time zones, borders, and continents without obstacle and when we say we need global products – we really mean global.
So what happens when you need to source intercontinental telecom expense management (TEM) but know most organizations are unable to deliver anywhere near the level of service you require? Here’s a method of sorting the wheat from the chaff.
Much in the same way you mustn’t run before you can walk, it’s ill-advised to attempt to source a TEM provider before you’ve identified both your needs and whether they can deliver them.
If you’re a small or medium-sized business with few international locations and only a handful of branches, sourcing a global TEM juggernaut to handle your telecom estate is unnecessary. However, if you’re a global enterprise, with hundreds of international locations and branches spread over multiple continents, then its not only important, but imperative you select the right provider.
To whittle down the myriad of TEM vendors into a shortlist of those that can deliver everything you need, you need to create an RFI.
Your RFI should seek to ask a standardized set of questions concerning the vendor’s history, capabilities, future plans, ownership, and other key details. When you’ve gathered all responses, you can use them to create a qualified pool of potential partners.
Many TEM providers attempt to differentiate themselves by claiming they have the most powerful tools or can process bills the quickest. But tools are only as valuable as the person using them and speed is often related to poor process or using estimates instead of true measurements.
For tips on how to choose the TEM provider that’s right for you, we’ve written an in-depth article. But, in short, you need to choose a vendor that can offer more than just software, one that performs in-depth billing of every line of every invoice, and delivers stability and customer satisfaction.
Once you’ve outlined a number of key TEM vendors to target, the next stage is to approach them.
If you’ve gone a step further and already decided on your vendor of choice, then your best bet is to get in contact. But if you have a shortlist and want to size-up the competition, you need to draft an RFP.
An RFP is a much like an RFI, except it is only sent to a shortlist of potential vendors and is much more in-depth. Your RFP should include a list of questions that each company interested must answer. These could include similar experience, sample timelines, company processes, team members, and other pertinent information.
At this juncture, it’s also tempting to seek granular level details on things like payment terms, contract lengths, and ROI. However, information such as this is often reserved for the negotiation stage, which happens once a vendor has been selected and, regardless, calculating the cost-saving benefits of a TEM program is complex – a point explained more-fully in our detailed guide.
At best, you can ask for information pertaining to similar companies they’ve worked with and the results they’ve achieved. Using these TEM case studies as a rough guide, you can hope to gauge the breadth of results you might be able to achieve.
Once all RFPs have been collected, normalized, and analyzed and a decision has been made, the final step in sourcing a global TEM provider is the procurement of services.
By this point you'll have a thorough understanding of the type of service your organization requires, alongside proof that your chosen vendor can deliver, and the understanding of how your company will benefit. But, as is common in business, a negotiation of start-date, contract-length, ROI, and cost of services is inevitable – particularly when a dedicated procurement team is involved.
To achieve the best outcomes for your organization, it’s imperative that communication between you and the provider is clear. It’s good practice to state the aspects of the deal you're happy with, the points you want to discuss, and to ask your provider to do the same.
Negotiation will be quicker when both sides are satisfied with what is being discussed, in turn, helping to improve implementation time so you can start to receive the benefits of a dedicated TEM program that much more quickly.
While many TEM providers can talk the talk, to really know you've made the right decision, working alongside an established vendor with a history of impeccable customer satisfaction will provide the assurances you need.
A Truly Global TEM Provider
In today’s hyper-connected world, enterprise organizations must operate in a global fashion, meaning the services they procure must also be global in nature. For telecom expense management (TEM), sourcing a truly international provider means identifying a vendor that meet that criteria, approaching them with an RFP, before finally procuring their services and negotiating favorable contract conditions.
As the only publicly-traded vendor with the delivery capabilities to support sourcing projects on a global basis, delivering in-region resources across 90 countries worldwide, Gartner has dubbed Cass a true global TEM provider. We help enterprise organizations across all vectors and verticals to cut costs, streamline processes, and consolidate, manage, and optimize the telecom estate. If you're interested in what Cass can do for you, why not speak to a Cass specialist today about sourcing global TEM for your organization – get in touch.