The last two years have seen a fundamental shift in the ways enterprises operate. Driven by outside forces, almost every industry and sector has adapted to the hybrid working model. New technologies and infrastructure have emerged to support this rapid transformation. And for telecom expense management (TEM) vendors, this presents a unique mixture of opportunities and challenges.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, enterprises relied on a wide range of digital solutions to keep their people connected. This has continued unabated through 2022, as cloud connectivity, 5G, automation, mobile device management, and sustainability take center stage.
Read on to learn more about the current state of telecom expense management and the industry trends that are shaping 2022.
Current State of Telecom Expense Management
According to the latest Gartner research, telecom expense management providers evolved their offerings throughout 2021 to keep up with increased demand for telecom expense management services. The financial impact of COVID-19 has led many enterprises to outsource expense management so they can refocus their efforts on improving core business processes and optimizing internal resources.
At the same time, enterprises are upgrading communication tools with converged IT systems that offer greater flexibility. To manage these increasingly complex networks of fixed and mobile assets, enterprises rely on dedicated telecom expense management partners that offer full lifecycle support – from procurement to invoicing, inventory, and vendor management.
2021 saw hybrid working become the rule, rather than the exception. Enterprises across the globe have embraced the work-from-anywhere mindset, triggering widespread adoption of cloud-based communication and collaboration solutions to facilitate this shift.
Internal teams can struggle to stay on top of their expenses in the hybrid environment. Each device, application, and platform has separate invoices, pricing structures, and SLAs, but without adequate visibility, costs can quickly spiral out of control.
Telecom expense management companies have become a crucial strategic asset in the hybrid workplace, offering a range of services that span the fixed, cloud, and mobility spectrum. From Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solutions that ensure mobile networks remain secure, compliant, and cost-effective to MACD services that help enterprises keep track of equipment in large networks.
52% of employees are likely to consider shifting to hybrid or remote work in the year ahead.
Enterprises are looking for better ways to manage their telecoms architecture and IT services. And while a minority prefer to keep control processes in-house, many prefer to outsource their telecom expense management to experienced, managed service providers.
Telecom expense management is as much about service as it is technology. Modern enterprises want a strategic partner, not just software. They want a partner who can cut through the noise and deliver cost-effective solutions and support that cover every aspect of enterprise comms – from procurement and invoicing to vendor and dispute management.
In addition, we’ve seen a growing number of enterprises choose telecom expense management partners that have a truly global reach. Reliable, in-region resources and local market knowledge are vital for overcoming language and cultural barriers, understanding exchange rates, and navigating compliance issues. Vendors that can’t offer the same service levels in Japan as they can in the US, for example, are quickly falling behind.
The cloud has transformed enterprise communications. Today, employees can connect and collaborate with their colleagues wherever and whenever they wish, on a range of devices. However, this has increased the workload for internal IT and communications teams.
Most cloud service providers bill their customers based on software, platform, and infrastructure usage. They also offer multiple contract and service options, which only adds to the confusion.
Vendors have diversified their telecom expense management offerings with cloud spend management solutions that help enterprises understand today’s complex billing structures. According to the latest research, cloud services account for almost 34% of the global telecom expense management market.
Technology Expense Management
The line between traditional telecoms services and IT became even more blurred in 2021. Enterprises have embraced the Everything as a Service (XaaS) model, and this has intensified customer demand for single platforms that can track inventories, services, costs, and storage across an entire estate.
Telecom expense management companies have expanded their managed services beyond basic fixed-line infrastructure to include managed mobility services, SD-WAN, IoT connectivity, and more. Holistic technology expense management is fast replacing traditional telecom expense management among enterprises that want better agility, visibility, and cost-efficiency in their communications networks.
Technology expense management helps enterprises get a better handle on their assets and services. It improves visibility into technology inventories and reduces inefficiencies to reduce costs.
The telecom expense management market has gone from strength to strength in recent years. And recent research suggests the global market will only increase in value as more enterprises rely on specialist vendors to manage their estates.
Research from global industry analysts predict that the global telecom expense management market will reach $5.2 billion by 2026. Developed regions, including the US, China, and the EU lead the charge, with developing economies in Africa and the Americas set to drive future growth.
Key Telecom Industry Trends of 2022
We’ve drawn on our expertise and experience of the global telecom expense management market, supported by in-depth research of the latest innovations, to forecast some of the biggest changes that are shaping telecom expense management in 2022.
These range from advancements in new and emerging technologies, to fundamental shifts in service delivery.
In total, there are 9 key telecom industry trends that stand out in 2022:
- Cloud Connectivity
Mobile Device Management
Diversified Managed Services
1. Cloud Connectivity
Investment in cloud computing has continued at a furious pace as enterprises search for better flexibility, scalability, and resilience.
End-user spending on public cloud services alone reached $396 billion in 2021 and, according to Gartner, will grow to $482 billion by the end of 2022.
EMEA cloud spending will represent 12.5% of total enterprise IT spending in 2022.
Quick and easy remote access is essential for today’s digital-first enterprises that use the cloud to provide better employee, product, and customer experiences.
In an increasingly distributed cloud environment, the burden will fall on vendors to help enterprises manage their wireless expenses and reduce complexity in their cloud estates. This will be one of the more noticeable telecom industry trends over the next twelve months.
An influx of connected devices, services, and platforms has revolutionized the way we collaborate. And demand for Internet of Things (IoT) solutions shows no signs of slowing down.
5G connections will account for 48% of global mobile subscriptions by 2027.
5G offers speeds up to 100 times faster than current 4G networks. It also boasts superior data rates, application control, connection density, and security, without impacting speed or latency.
Adoption will vary from region to region and operator to operator. But one thing’s certain: telecom expense management companies will play a vital role in helping enterprises navigate uncertainty during this period of transition.
The switch from 4G to 5G will be a huge undertaking for operators and this will create additional costs for businesses. Telecom expense management vendors will help enterprises identify potential savings and take advantage of the commercial opportunities 5G presents.
Throughout 2021, telecom expense management vendors have strengthened automation within their platforms. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) have become important features of telecom expense management, allowing vendors to automate invoices, provider integrations, data processing, and more. This trend intensified in 2022 as telecom expense management companies move closer to what Gartner calls hyperautomation.
Hyperautomation is a business-driven, disciplined approach that organizations use to rapidly identify, vet, and automate as many business and IT processes as possible. Hyperautomation involves the orchestrated use of multiple technologies, tools, or platforms.
Adoption is vertically driven, with some industries experimenting with hyperautomation more than others. Among telecom expense management vendors, this new technology will eventually produce self-learning networks that can configure themselves to optimum conditions, scaling resources to improve efficiency and service quality, and reduce costs. Other benefits include better optical character recognition, more accurate language translation, and enhanced decision intelligence.
The worldwide market for technology that enables hyperautomation will reach $596.6 billion in 2022.
82% of organizations believe they’re vulnerable to cyber-attacks, according to a recent survey. Yet many senior IT and security leaders say they lack sufficient protection against cyber-attacks, often due to underspending or poor investments in security.
As our reliance on cloud-based digital communication platforms in the hybrid workplace grows, it’s more important than ever to have centralized control of all devices and channels. Enterprises must be mindful of where they collect, store, and use data.
In the short term, this will push telecom expense management companies even harder to secure data and ensure their customers comply with data privacy regulations, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Longer-term, vendors will look to implement cybersecurity meshes. These integrate widely-distributed security services into a flexible, composable architecture that can verify identity and policy adherence across cloud and non-cloud environments.
90% of security leaders believe their organization is falling short when it comes to addressing cyber risks.
5. Mobile Device Management
According to the latest data, there will be just under 16 billion mobile devices in operation around the world by the end of 2022. That’s around one billion more than 2021. Wider consumer adoption, the Internet of Things, and remote working have all contributed to drive this growth.
To support employees in the hybrid workplace, many enterprises have adopted Bring and Choose Your Own Device (BYOD and CYOD) policies that enable users to connect and collaborate in real-time from any location. Research also suggests that BYOD policies can reduce telecom spend, boost productivity, and help enterprises stay agile.
The global Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) market size is expected to grow from $16.6 billion in 2020 to $63.6 billion by 2026.
As mobile becomes ever more crucial to operations, enterprises will incorporate Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) into their existing telecom expense management services to ensure consistent billing and reimbursements. Telecom expense management companies will help them create secure and compliant closed-loop mobile environments that provide greater visibility and control.
6. Diversified Managed Services
Software as a Service (SaaS) continues to replace self-hosted solutions as the first choice for enterprises. Subscription-based models are more cost-effective, scalable, and accessible. But each new subscription makes it harder to manage your bills, secure your data, and control your expenses.
When assessing a telecom expense management company's capabilities, enterprises will prioritize those that can offer a wide range of services that covers everything from full lifecycle management for fixed and mobile communications to SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS cloud management services.
Device-as-a-service (DaaS) has also grow in popularity as more and more organizations adopt the hybrid working model. DaaS lets you augment your mobile network with the latest smart devices, so everyone has access to the tools they need. There’s no upfront investment. Instead, the costs are spread out and incorporated into your service agreement to reduce complexity and optimise spend.
In addition, enterprises will look for telecom expense management vendors that have a global reach so they can achieve the best results, regardless of their physical location.
The SaaS market is expected to grow from $130.69 billion in 2021 to $716.52 billion in 2028.
7. Lifecycle Management
Managing a telecoms estate in 2022 is difficult. Aside from basic fixed-line infrastructure, enterprises must monitor a multitude of communication platforms, subscription-based cloud services, mobile devices, and vast virtual networks.
Few enterprises have the resources and in-house knowledge to accurately monitor sourcing, contracts, governance, invoices, logistics, and device recycling across their entire estate. Without visibility or effective management, internal teams struggle to keep costs under control.
One of the main telecom industry trends of 2022 has seen telecom expense management companies make full telecom asset lifecycle management a central part of their offering. Enterprises will look to their providers to monitor assets, allocate resources, oversee end-of-life device management, and regain control of their telecom spend.
Both wireless and telecom cost controls are difficult to accomplish without effective management of the full lifecycle of devices and services.
Cost and process optimization is a priority for most enterprises post-pandemic. Yet recent estimates suggest the average business wastes as much as 30% of its IT budget across telecom and wireless solutions.
Internal teams often lack the visibility to accurately monitor spending, inventory, and usage. And of those that do, few have the time or resources to implement cost-saving measures when they spot issues. This is especially true for enterprises that have large or complex networks of devices, services, and platforms.
Enterprises will depend on telecom expense management companies to consolidate expense data into centralized platforms that offer greater visibility and transparency. Leading vendors will go one step further and use advanced data analytics and business intelligence to inform strategic decision making, helping customers manage their IT budgets and reduce waste.
Businesses waste an average of 30% of their IT spend across their telecom and wireless solutions.
Growing environmental concerns have put sustainability at the top of the agenda for many enterprises. As enterprises research new ways to reduce their carbon footprint, telecom expense management vendors will make reverse logistics a critical part of the device lifecycle management process.
Telecom expense management companies use reverse logistics to optimize spend and reduce costs by refurbishing or recycling old devices, rather than sending them to a landfill. This includes laptops, tablets, and smartphones. A properly refurbished device performs just as well as brand-new tech, so not only is it better for the environment, but it’s also cost-effective.
Google has been refurbishing its technology since 2015. They saved over $1 billion in operation costs, purely based on energy efficiency.
A Complex Environment Needs an End-to-End Service
The telecommunications landscape continues to evolve, presenting new opportunities and challenges. It’s clear that telecom expense management vendors must work harder than ever to provide the visibility, control, and consistency enterprises need to thrive in the hybrid workplace.
That’s why leading organizations around the world choose Cass.
With Cass, you gain access to a team of industry-accredited experts. We work as an extension of your team to provide a truly global, end-to-end managed service across your entire estate. This means we can help you:
- Identify cost savings
- Improve process efficiency
- Increase transparency
- Eliminate waste
- Provide reliable in-region resources