Telecom expense management (TEM) enables organizations to improve efficiency across their entire telecom estate. However, achieving this at scale within a global enterprise can become overly complex.
For global businesses, the potential for inefficiencies in telecom management is greatly increased. Differences in service levels, user experience, and billing between regions or countries can cause significant inefficiency and cost discrepancies down the line. These problems can also disrupt business processes that depend on your telecoms, or negatively impact logistics that end-users rely on, such as your mobility lifecycle.
Therefore, when choosing a TEM vendor, you must ensure that the agreed TEM contract can effectively support the requirements of a global organization.
An Effective Telecom Expense Management RFP
A detailed request for proposal (RFP) can help businesses uncover the nuances of a TEM contract that will either help or hinder your global requirements. Many providers may appear sufficient on paper, yet lurking within the ‘small print’ of contracts are hidden clues that reveal a vendor’s true service capabilities.
To learn more about how to discover these differences, read our 'What goes into a TEM RFP?' blog.
However, if your focus is global capabilities, you must build a detailed RFP that includes questions that target global experience and in-region support for financial management.
Gartner’s 2021 TEM Market Guide uncovers the key variations between TEM providers, and we've consolidated these up-to-date insights with our own TEM expertise to provide some key considerations you need to bring to the table when putting together an RFP.
The Local Capabilities of the Provider
Many TEM vendors claim to be global, but fall at the first hurdle when it’s essential to provide capabilities that are region-specific. For example, suppose that anomalies were discovered between your telecom service invoice and the supplier’s agreement. However, the supplier is in a region where your TEM provider does not have local language or local currency capabilities. Without the local knowledge, it is far more difficult to dispute the charges.
Include requirements in your RFP for regional teams, exactly where you need them to be. Truly global TEM vendors will have teams that can manage or dispute expenses at the location of your supplier, regardless of time zone, and in a language and currency aligned to the supplier. This helps your business streamline processes and avoid cost inefficiencies that could grow unabated.
The Provider’s In-region Resources
To understand local market conditions, you need a TEM vendor with regional teams and resources. These teams will help you maximize the value for money from suppliers, aided by location and understanding of local culture. This knowledge helps build a close relationship with suppliers on your organization’s behalf – to maintain trust, service levels, and visibility of financial management with suppliers.
More so, when your TEM vendor has a better understanding of regional conditions, they can support benchmarking, sourcing, and procurement. They’ll help you obtain the best viable rates and assist with long-term contract negotiation and management.
It’s vital to include this in your RFP requirements, as with all this regional knowledge at-hand, your business can quickly respond to financial market conditions.
Global Automation and Inventory Management Processes
Maintaining an accurate telecom inventory can become a burdensome task when managed on a global scale. It also requires localized currency support, and a comprehensive oversight of global trends.
Therefore, your RFP should cover whether the TEM vendor has the platform and automation capabilities to successfully manage the financial management requirements of your telecom inventory.
An effective, global TEM provider will begin capturing your data and compare it to carrier billing records immediately, and audit billing data line-by-line to find financial discrepancies. This helps them better understand and account for your telecom inventory quickly, and continue accurately reporting on your telecom inventory in the long-term.
It can be even more advantageous to select a TEM provider who displays this information on a central, cloud-based portal for telecom expenses – improving your own visibility of TEM.
Global Experience and the Vendor’s References
Understanding whether your prospective TEM vendor has experience managing telecom expenses on a global scale is vital for the decision-making process. However, not all global TEM providers are equal. Some may present capabilities that appear sufficient at face-value – but require extensive time and resources to manage beneath the surface. Or, they may not manage them effectively.
Your RFP should question the global and regional-specific capabilities of the vendor, either directly or through partnerships. Within the RFP process, you should check the prospective vendor’s capabilities by reviewing their references from organizations of a similar size, geographic spread, and service requirements. Including this within your RFP will help you quickly distinguish the quality of service of TEM from the provider.
Use Your RFP to Find A Truly Global TEM Provider
With a capable and global telecom expense management provider, your business will achieve cost-savings, financial control, and peace of mind across your global TEM processes.
To learn more about what you need to include in your RFP, click to read Gartner's 2021 TEM Market Guide for free.