In 2018, the International Data Corporation conducted a survey into the state of telecom expense management (TEM).
The report revealed that an increasing number of global enterprises are adopting formal TEM solutions to manage their ever-growing telecom estates. In fact, as many as 89% of global enterprises now rely on TEM to tackle the challenges of rising costs and ever-changing technology in the telecommunication sphere. Yet, for large organizations whose reach extends beyond their national borders, an in-house solution is rarely viable. To reap the full rewards offered by TEM, they need a fully-managed service.
But this raises an important question. When is the right time to partner with a telecom expense management vendor?
Thankfully, there are several tell-tale signs that can help you make this decision. Over the course of this article, we’ll highlight three of the most obvious.
Sign 1: Sustained Organizational Growth
Whether you’re expanding into new markets or regularly landing new contracts, organizational growth is always a cause for celebration. Nevertheless, it’s equally true that expansion brings with it added layers of complexity — especially where telecom expense management is concerned. And this demands tighter financial controls over your telecommunications estate.
As your enterprise expands with new markets and new staff, it doesn’t take long for your telecom infrastructure to resemble Alexander the Great’s Gordian knot. And in such a complex environment, it’s easy for business leaders to lose track of the amount of money they’re wasting on their telecom spend month after month.
There are several common causes that contribute to this lack of insight. These range from missed payments on individual assets or a costly misunderstanding of regional telecom regulation, to continued expenditure on obsolete resources, incorrectly applied credits, or any other form of basic billing error.
A DIY software solution can identify some of these problems. But, ultimately, its efficacy is entirely dependent on the knowledge of the people using it. If your business lacks internal skills or bandwidth, mistakes are inevitable.
Experienced TEM providers, on the other hand, possess the skills and expertise required to organize and optimize your telecom estate. They can negotiate the best deals on fixed-line contracts to make sure you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for. They consolidate complex billing information from multiple sources, monitor MACD activities as they occur, provide full visibility into your finances, and extract maximum value from existing resources.
The net result is not only short-term gains, eradicating process inefficiencies and waste, but year-on-year savings.
Sign 2: Frequent Service Interruptions/Outages
Escalating costs and late fees aren’t the only sign that your telecom estate has grown out of hand. Sudden, unanticipated service outages, resulting from unpaid bills or expiring contracts, are also a clear sign you need a TEM vendor to help you get things back on track.
Oftentimes, the reason the bill went unpaid in the first place is that the organization in question opted for a self-service DIY approach to TEM — despite the fact their internal teams lack the personnel and foundational knowledge necessary to monitor conditions within their telecom estate effectively.
Expertise is equally important in this regard. For example, the person or team in charge of TEM might think they’ve paid all outstanding bills on time, without realizing the credit they used on a specific invoice was actually applied incorrectly, rendering it invalid. Expanding organizations with resources and services numbering in the tens of thousands are at the greatest risk from these issues.
In either case, the result is the same: a backlog of unpaid invoices, late fees, and other charges that must be paid before your services can be recommenced.
Disruptive as service outages can be for the organization, not to mention costly and time-consuming to put right, such occurrences have a detrimental impact on your ability to deliver a consistently high-level of service to your customers.
This is especially important for any direct-to-consumer business, since even the shortest outages can translate to substantial sums in lost revenue. However, consistency and reliability are vital to success in B2B industries, too.
If a client struggles to get through to your sales team to discuss a potential partnership due to a disabled phone line, they might assume you’re no longer operating and decide to take their business elsewhere.
Sign 3: Declining Employee Productivity
Even the most advanced TEM software is unable to renegotiate contracts or liaise with providers to settle outstanding bills on behalf of your team. Internal teams will still be required to perform fundamental tasks like this. Consequently, the amount of time available to fulfil their everyday duties becomes severely limited, hampering productivity.
Springing additional duties on your employees, especially when they fall outside of their usual remit, can have just as detrimental an impact on their morale. If someone was hired as a cyber security specialist, only to find themselves spending an increasing percentage of their time sifting through telecom invoices, chances are, they won’t be happy in their work. And, as anyone who’s ever had to perform an onerous task will know, this can also hinder productivity.
Once again, a lack of technical knowledge can cause further issues. These can include overcharges, unnecessary expenditure, restricted access to vital resources, and unfavourable contract conditions.
The truth is, TEM software alone isn’t enough in the majority of cases. So, if you notice a significant dip in the productivity of the internal team that manages your telecom estate, it’s time to look for a reliable third-party telecom expense management vendor to give them the support they need. Aside from the cost savings, this will allow them to get back to doing what they do best; what they were hired to do.
Telecom Expense Management Vendors: Finding the One that’s Right for You
Organizations across the globe are waking up to the idea that the most effective way to keep costs to a minimum and optimize assets in enterprise telecom is to invest in a modern TEM solution. The best of which are those that offer a fully-managed service.
They are capable of delivering in-regional resources in over 90 countries worldwide and comprised of a team of experts with years of experience helping organizations reap the rewards offered by TEM.
You can find more information on the things you should consider when selecting an appropriate TEM vendor by reading Gartners’ 2019 guide to the TEM market.