It’s becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between the telecom expense management (TEM) vendors that can provide a true global service from those that merely say they can. The TEM market is crowded with many providers who are promising a service they simply aren't delivering. When considering a TEM vendor, it’s crucial to look at the delivery of their service and whether they’re offering the fundamentals of TEM.
What are the fundamentals of exceptional TEM service?
Gartner suggests that the core offerings of TEM are billing analysis, stability, procurement and provisioning, and that TEM is delivered as a service, not just via software.
For those companies with or without a provider in place, they may be unaware of additional benefits of working with a truly global TEM service, such as better visibility of costs globally, ongoing cost savings, ensuring your vendors are billing your company correctly, local in-region support, and the competitive advantage your company gets by having a single view of spend and usage data when it comes to running their next RFP.
What does global TEM look like?
In our experience, global TEM should include more than just the fundamentals. Many providers slip up and are not offering a complete, global solution to their clients.
Effective global TEM requires its vendors to make real change. TEM vendors offering a global service need to be able to perform in-depth auditing at inventory level on a global scale. Businesses should expect a complete service, not just a simple, standard solution. When expecting a global TEM offering, an enterprise experiences significant setbacks and frustration if their chosen vendor over promises and is unable to actually provide regional support.
Instead, a truly global TEM vendor should have their own service delivery resources in every region of the world. By having delivery resources across the globe, you can ensure a consistent global experience by utilizing the same processes, software, and reporting. A global provider should use this worldwide influence to build relationships between your regional resources. At the same time, they can deliver common governance across your business.
International teams have greater visibility over a business’ telecoms infrastructure, meaning they can unify processes such as benchmarking, billing, procurement, and data protection. Essentially, a true global TEM vendor should be able to expand your service.
Differentiating true global providers
When looking for a global TEM solution, it’s important to analyze their service offerings and ensure they offer services on a global scale. The following services make up the foundation of TEM but differentiate between vendors offering global services and those that aren’t.
Telecom billing errors are common, and having enough information to effectively understand your telecoms bill is crucial. Normally, a region-specific provider will work with you to identify areas of overspend in your bills and then manage those costs at their source. Any issues with expenditure are then recouped by the vendor on your behalf. A global provider will understand regional telecoms and speak the regional language to truly identify where the best places for savings can be made.
Vendor churn is a real issue within the TEM industry, with vendors being bought and sold all the time. Assessing a TEM vendor’s stability is important, as losing or changing TEM vendors can cause massive problems for customers.
Regional vendors offer a wealth of local knowledge that can help your business in the region. However, stability needs to be experienced in all service delivery areas. If your TEM vendor performs adequately domestically but can't deliver the same service internationally, customer satisfaction will plummet and a change in providers will inevitably follow.
Procurement & Provisioning
Telecom procurement is complicated and often misleading, with many vendors claiming they offer more than they do. Your provider must be able to offer global expertise and give you access to vendors with both local and global capability.
Normally your regional provider should be able to give you a list of key vendors who can deliver what your business needs, when you need it. However, a true global provider will be able to form real relationships with vendors across the world, while offering your business a single platform for managing all your devices across their entire lifecycle.
Not only that, but there’s a huge variety in telecoms infrastructure across the world. Specific cultural and technical understanding is needed when ordering services globally.
Service, not software
Your TEM vendor should become a seamless extension of your team. By sharing the full extent of their expertise with your team members, you can maximize their effectiveness and utilize their help far beyond the implementation period.
Your local provider uses technology alongside a managed service model to provide value through audits, advice, optimization, and support. With a global TEM provider though, everyone gets this support, no matter where in the world they are. This help is provided in local languages and business operating hours. Global TEM must be a real partnership.
Local TEM providers have the resources to navigate benchmarking, sourcing, and procuring the best rates for telecoms services and contracts specific to country. Local knowledge means that common barriers such as language, currency, country-specific laws, and formatting can be overcome. However under-developed TEM markets might lack local resources, leaving you with less visibility.
In contrast, global providers have in-region capabilities to source important resources, obtain viable rates and assist in negotiations. They similarly can navigate language barriers, laws, and currencies, but unlike country-specific providers, they can translate language and formatting between foreign countries.
Country-specific TEM providers offer in-depth knowledge of local rates and currencies to manage costs and obtain accurate billing information. This is invaluable when it comes to understanding your telecoms expenses for a particular region. However, processing your costs globally is different – poor visibility leads to erroneous spend.
Global providers use a single, centralized banking system to process multiple currencies. This removes the burden of transferring costs between countries. A global electronic payment network also provides security for your funds, transparency in their transfer process, flexibility, and visibility to help avoid payment mistakes.
Much like payment processes, individual country-specific providers have in-depth, local knowledge over their privacy or data laws, ensuring your data use is compliant. Data encryption laws vary between countries, making it harder for a country-specific provider to navigate the legality of telecoms management across nations.
If your telecoms infrastructure extends overseas, a global TEM vendor operates within the various cyber-security and data privacy frameworks across the world. Due to the changing nature of data security, the prospective TEM vendor must be equipped to handle that change on a global scale.
To optimize your telecom infrastructure, you’ll need to utilize an end-to-end audit. Vendors can only audit as far as they can see, however. This means a country-specific vendor, while having comprehensive knowledge of their country’s network, lacks the visibility to audit worldwide.
Global TEM vendors gain a level of visibility that covers a company’s entire telecom infrastructure if their network extends overseas too. Global vendors perform in-depth, in-country audits coordinated with global audits also, giving a much clearer image of the entire ecosystem.
Delivering a true global TEM service
Considering all the aspects mentioned that differentiate a global TEM service from a country-specific offering, Cass has been identified by Gartner as a TEM vendor capable of delivering a global solution.
It's crucial when searching for a TEM vendor that you scrutinize their offering thoroughly to ensure they're actually capable of delivering the global service your business needs. Our service is more than simply telecom expense management. Our fully-managed, global service sees our team of experts work as partners to your business, delivering a service that improves visibility and control over your telecom network and costs.