As organizations turn to their 2022 budgets, we've seen many enterprises consult their telecom expense management (TEM) provider for insight and data points to inform telecoms budgeting. Here are 3 things we advise CFOs to do to prepare for the year ahead.
1. Audit Your Telecoms Infrastructure
From misapplied billing and incorrect contract rates to services you no longer use or need, a telecoms audit helps you take charge of your telecom budgets and recoup unnecessary outgoings.
As you explore processes and redundancies, you'll find ways to avoid unnecessary costs and improve productivity. Then you can start to put value onto those productivity improvements and fold them into your overall TEM costs for the coming year.
Be mindful of hidden costs
- Poor compliance monitoring
You need to audit telecom invoices regularly to find and fix billing errors – which are surprisingly common.
- Inconsistent wireline pricing across multiple regions
For organizations with hundreds of locations, it's easy to lose sight of wireline spend for basic wireline services like MPLS, broadband, ethernet, etc. There are often sizeable discrepancies in regional costs, above-market-value pricing etc.
- Aligning wireless usage with carrier options
Aligning actual voice and data usage to carrier plan options is no easy task. The only way to match consumption with the correct subscriptions is to know the usage profile of each individual user.
- Low visibility into wireless spend and shadow IT
At an enterprise scale, visibility into wireless telecom spend can be difficult to achieve. This makes shadow IT a particular threat to your budget. Without centralized wireless spend, it can be challenging to enforce purchasing/cost management protocols and maintain spend visibility.
- Failing to secure the best rates and discounts for services
The wireless cost management landscape changes day by day. Most companies don't have the internal resources, deep understanding of wireless carrier plans to confirm if they're paying a fair price.
We recommend continuous audits, due to their ongoing benefits and enhanced visibility. But, if you or your TEM provider is not performing them regularly, it is recommended to perform at least one per year to prepare for next year's budget.
2. Do Market Research
Macroeconomic factors often impact budget performance and KPIs. In the post-COVID era, the TEM market is looking to further expand into providing support for SaaS and UCaaS billing. This is in response to the growing reliance on Zoom and WebEx in a world of more remote working.
As global digital transformation continues, we can expect NFV/SDN-driven network and operations automation, and 5G deployments.
Key Trends for 2022 That Could Impact TEM Budgets
According to research, by the end of 2022, half of all smartphones sold globally will support 5G. Organizations need to consider the impact and the opportunity of this growing trend, which may necessitate widespread device upgrades that require an effective budget solution, such as device bundling.
Cybercrime continues to be a constant threat to businesses worldwide. In 2021, it's predicted to cost $6tn in damages. Gartner notes that "many assets now exist outside of the traditional security perimeter", which highlights the move away from perimeter protection towards edge solutions such as UEM.
- Anywhere Operations
Gartner also highlights anywhere operations among its wider tech trends. This will naturally have an impact on telecoms and cloud budgets as more organizations start to think "digital first, remote first".
3. Audit Your Provider
For the last five years, the TEM market has been growing in maturity. We have seen significant churn and a lot of unhappy customers putting up with poor service.
Enterprises that are on a 3- or 5-year commitment will be coming up to renewal in 2021, so as you prepare your budget for the coming year, take the time to review your current TEM provider.
Questions to ask your TEM provider
- Can they provide the same quality of service as your enterprise expands?
- Will your TEM provider offer regular SLA reporting?
- Have they been able to keep up with recent global changes?
- Is billing analysis still providing value?
- Have you received negative reports on procurement projects?
- Can your TEM provider give you the service and support you need for the foreseeable future?
Remember: while many vendors claim to offer global telecom expense management services, some struggle to deliver the same quality of service in multiple regions. This can be a pain point that impacts your saving opportunities.
TEM providers whose global solution is to rely on separate vendors have processes, software, and reporting that vary in quality. This leaves customers with data and information in a variety of formats and no support for getting valuable insights.
A global provider with its own in-region resources will have standardized processes. You get better quality service, accurate data, and easy-to-digest information. Having access to local experts, native speakers, and knowledge of country-specific regulations makes your TEM service more effective.
Make Sure Your TEM Provider Is A True Partner
Uncertain times make budgeting enough of a challenge. But with the right TEM partner by your side, you can trust that the information you get is reliable and the savings that are promised end up in your books.