Is Your Telecom Expense Management Provider Good Enough?

7 June 2022 | Posted by Cass Information Systems, Inc.

It has never been more important to find the right expense management solution for your enterprise and get the service and results you need.

The telecom expense management (TEM) landscape is changing. The need for businesses to keep their employees connected during the challenges of COVID-19 propelled an uptake in the technology we use to communicate. This tech transformation wasn’t optional – it was the defining feature of business survival. And the level of interconnectivity enterprises need isn’t showing any signs of slowing. Microsoft just announced that they have 270 million monthly active Teams users, an increase of 20 million since the last quarter.

As communication continues to change, the telecom expense management market has shifted and providers are evolving their offerings. In this blog, we’ll explore the key factors to look out for when choosing a delivery partner.

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Technology and Telecom Expense Management Providers

Historically, the definition of telecom expense management centered around cost control of fixed-line telephones, internet, and mobile network providers. Now, expense management must go beyond traditional fixed and mobile TEM. Enterprises are looking for providers to manage their growing network of services, like Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).

As a result, the market has diversified to stay relevant. This is also known as technology expense management. This means there are now both technology expense management providers and telecom expense management providers offering the same or similar services. But don't let this cause any confusion. The most important factor is that your partner is managing what you need them to manage.

At Cass, we align with Gartner’s definition of telecom expense management. This definition outlines that TEM services help enterprises to order, provision, support, and manage costs of corporate telecommunications, associated IT services and their inventories. This has evolved to include different types of communication technologies such as mobile telephony and data, cloud licenses, unified communications as a service [UCaaS] licenses, and Internet of Things [IoT] connectivity. It also includes business intelligence (BI) and reporting to support strategic decision making.

5 Things TEM Providers Should Do for You

1. Deliver the Basics Brilliantly

Enterprises need to track, manage, and report on all telecom assets accurately. Look out for a provider who can monitor all the devices and service agreements in your telecom estate, including MACD (move, add, change, disconnect) activity. This will provide a holistic view of your telecom inventory management. This helps to control costs and makes it easier to spot inaccuracies.

A provider should also continuously audit your telecom environment using data from your inventory, billing records, tariffs, and contracts to make sure you’re getting the best results possible. Reporting should be in a clear and concise format so it's easy to understand the benefits they deliver to your business. You can share those successes with key stakeholders and budget owners across your enterprise.

2. Stay Relevant

Is the provider offering traditional telecom expense management or are they also a technology expense management provider? As customer expectations continue to change, providers need to be flexible and develop their services to fulfil those requirements. That means they might need to manage all assets within an enterprise telecom environment, including mobile telephony and data, cloud licenses, unified communications as a service (UCaaS) licenses, and Internet of Things [IoT] connectivity. Many enterprises also look for TEM providers to offer managed mobility services (MMS) to run alongside their TEM service.

3. Grow With Your Business

Your telecom expense management provider needs to be able to fulfil your technical and functional requirements. Choosing a supplier whose core customer base is medium-sized businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees probably wouldn’t get you the best results if you’re a large enterprise. A provider needs to be able to hit the ground running and manage your multiple contracts, assets, and tariffs seamlessly. They also need to accommodate your growth by adapting to any changes in your business.

4. Have Global Capabilities

If your enterprise is a multinational corporation (MNC), it’s essential your telecom expense management provider can deal with the challenges of working across different countries.

A good provider will be familiar with the language and currency of every country you conduct business with. One advantage this provides is when it comes to disputing any bill discrepancies that arise in your telecom environment. If your provider doesn't have experts around the world, you could miss out on important savings and leave disputes unresolved.

You could also miss out on savings and service quality if your telecom expense management provider limits you to certain carrier companies because they have existing partnerships with preferred suppliers. TEM providers should be carrier-neutral to ensure they can forge strong relationships, take advantage of offers, and negotiate contracts with any carrier to get you the best results.

Ideally, these global capabilities should be offered as part of in-region resources. This is where your provider is in the local time zone, speaks the language, understands the culture, and knows how to avoid the pitfalls of the nuances of country-specific telecom regulations. This will avoid any headaches around non-compliance, language barriers, and working times.

5. Service Quality

Telecom expense management providers shouldn’t just be meeting your software requirements with their offering. One of the most important things on top of having the right software for your needs is reliable, consistent customer service. 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether to do business with a company, so it’s crucial to get this right.

TEM is a complex and evolving field, so you need a supplier you can rely on. Choose a vendor with years of experience who manages their services in-house and can support you wherever you are in the world. It also helps to ask for evidence of them delivering results for their clients. They should easily be able to share success stories to put you at ease. As an example, Cass worked with a biotech company and in just over a year saved them $2.43 million in cost reductions and achieved a 165% return on their TEM investment.

How Does Your Telecom Expense Management Supplier Measure Up?

The quality of your chosen telecom expense management or technology expense management provider will vary depending on your requirements. But it's important not to settle for less if you’re not seeing results or getting the level of service you expect. Any reputable TEM provider will be easy to work with, save you money, and free up time so your teams can focus on other tasks. If they’re not delivering that, then it might be time to look for an alternative.

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