In an increasingly connected world, managing your wireless, voice, and data network infrastructure has become increasingly challenging. Part of that challenge comes from the growing complexity of telecom assets, the networks that support them, and the increasing cost of these services. In fact, according to Gartner Group, technology spending is expected to reach $3.7 trillion in 2018. Of that, communications services ($1.387 billion) and IT services ($931 billion) will make up most of this spending. With telecom expenses eating up a larger slice of companies’ budgets, and as workers become increasingly dependent on IT and telecom to do their jobs, it’s more important than ever to look for smarter ways to manage telecom expenses to gain visibility, improve efficiencies and cut costs.
Telecom Expense Management (TEM) solutions are one way to simplify management and keep these costs in check. TEM incorporates expense management and tracking, budgeting, contract management, service inventory and reporting. Options for TEM vary from web-based self-service TEM applications to full-service management utilizing a business process outsourcing (BPO) model. Let’s look at what makes up TEM solutions and dive into what to look for when comparing options.
- Analytics capabilities- One of the most critical benefits of TEM solutions is the system’s ability to capture data, provide a 360-degree view into an organization’s telecom landscape and connect billing to service infrastructure and contracts. For example, if looking specifically at mobile enterprise services, mobility monitoring and analytics capabilities within TEM solutions can provide valuable insight into devices and how services are being used. This data can deliver greater intelligence which helps fine-tune a company’s mobility strategy. Analytics can provide insight into carriers and vendors, as well as highlight ways to streamline the efficiency of mobile communications. Business intelligence and analytics capabilities can also identify trends around what content mobile workers are consuming. It can also monitor KPIs, track roaming charges and unutilized devices, and match employees with optimal service plans and features for their work habits. With the ability to measure and aggregate data about how telecom services are being utilized, organizations can make smarter decisions concerning security policies, device deployment, and future investments.
- On-premise, cloud-delivered or full-service managed TEM services- Deployment options for TEM solutions include on-premise installations, cloud-delivered, or full-service managed TEM services. For those looking for a DIY approach, on-prem or cloud-delivered TEM solutions can deliver a cohesive and simplified view into telecom service costs as well as insight into existing infrastructure. On the other hand, many organizations may want to shift gears away from in-house management. In doing so, these companies are pushing more-administrative processes out of their own hands to managed service providers so they can focus on their core competencies and business imperatives. Outsourced TEM services might include, wireless and wireline management, procurement and order fulfillment, inventory management, IT service inventory maintenance, telecom audit, invoice management (including invoice receipt, processing and payment, credits, refunds, and payment management) and vendor management and contract negotiation services. With an accurate IT inventory companies can identify potential savings hiding in telecom expenses and eliminate any errors that may be costing money or inadvertently stealing profits. By streamlining order fulfillment, auditing, asset management, and payment processes, organizations are using internal employees’ time more efficiently and making strides to simplify operations.
- IT expense management and Communications Lifecycle Management… looking beyond TEM- A complementary category to TEM which should also be considered is IT Expense Management or ITEM. ITEM encompasses the expenses, usage, and assets of a company’s entire communications, cloud and application portfolio. These solutions give enterprises a framework to manage IT infrastructure in a unified way with a complete view of invoices and processes. In addition to ITEM, Communications Lifecycle Management or CLM is a related area of business process optimization that elevates the conversation around TEM. CLM is a framework that pushes beyond the promise of lowering telecom costs through audits, focusing instead on pushing business results through optimization. The idea behind CLM programs is that they provide a holistic approach to managing fixed and mobile telecom resources to gain technical and operational efficiencies. CLM looks at the full spectrum of the communications lifecycle from procurement to payment, which may include ordering SD-WAN, 4G LTE or other connection options, as well as the management of services and devices. Regardless of whether it’s called TEM, ITEM or CLM, solutions and partners that synchronize management activities into a single fixed and mobile telecom management program are the most effective.
Regardless of which route you take, look for TEM or TEM-like solutions to help lower costs and increase understanding of communication and telecom resources across the expense lifecycle. Whether you’re looking to streamline operations or reduce risk, an innovative TEM strategy and experienced partner can help. Talk to Telapprise today about how to bring greater control and transparency across the full spectrum of communications spend and telecom management activities.