By Tanya Seda, Chief Strategy Officer
2020 isn’t just the current year: it’s also the term for perfect vision and having that kind of clarity for your technology and communications expenses is very important! As the complexity of communications, collaboration, cloud and bandwidth demands grow, now is the right time to look for better ways to manage these costs and their associated agreements. And there’s no better way to manage that complexity than with a technology expense management (TEM) solution partner.
A TEM solution delivers benefits that create new efficiencies, better visibility, and more effectively procure services. Below are six benefits:
Automation accelerates efficiency and removes the potential for error. It also eliminates additional work that results from those errors. While efficiencies are found in many different areas, the top ones enterprises see are in lifecycle management, namely: updating inventory, completing work orders, clearly defined approval processes, and routine tasks that can be handled more effectively through automation.
Invoice Processing & Management: The mistakes that happen in a manual invoice process during the purchase-to-pay cycle are common and problems are bound to surface. With a TEM solution there is no longer a manual invoicing process. A technology expense management solution should employ robotic technology to download and process electronic invoices, identify errors, discrepancies and overcharges automatically – all with greater accuracy and less “human errors”.
Maintaining an accurate and robust inventory is a huge step toward savings for the business. By understanding your existing assets, you can better determine exactly what kind of assets your company really needs. What are most important for your business and which haven’t you used in years–but continue to pay for. Having visibility into what you own gives you a clearer picture of what is benefiting your business, what you have too much of, what you don’t have enough of, and what you simply aren’t using. Inventory management becomes streamlined with the right TEM partner, and you benefit from being able to optimize your asset mix, manage those assets more effectively, with fewer people working fewer hours. Making sure your TEM solution has enough “customer specific” fields to build out a detailed inventory for services is essential for managing those assets. Automated workflows through the telecom expense management solution handle every aspect, so your team doesn’t have to.
Keeping control over mobile devices and their associated costs can seem like a never-ending task. A TEM provider will enable you to not just determine employee usage, but also provide visibility into how those mobile assets are assigned, and the services and costs they are consuming. Authorized users can view their own usage, validate against company policies and better manage their consumption behaviors, all of which saves the business money. Data consumption continues to grow 20-30% annually and will continue that growth with the deployment of 5G and more IoT connected devices. Identifying high data use and alerting individuals who might be using the data for non-business use is essential in controlling and ultimately reducing costs.
Your TEM partner should own the entire dispute management workflow. This allows you to better manage the process of filing disputes with carriers and providers once errors are identified. This helps the recovery of credits and allows you to optimize expenditures and improve cash flow. Any billing errors or fees for late payments are detected or prevented, and the platform also collects credits more quickly. Industry experience shows that 20% of invoices are billed in error – and not in your favor!
Speed up response time and sourcing from providers by using a single provider portal. In addition, when you grant a provider access to the portal, it eliminates countless calls or emails trying to resolve issues or assess needs. This improves standards and mitigates any back-and-forth with vendors when not all necessary information is provided to the vendor.
A telecom expense management solution can also scale with your enterprise as you grow, which is not as easy to do with an in-house team. While you may be only beginning to see the challenges of managing a fleet of mobile devices and growing data costs, you can expect complexity and dependency on telecom to grow in the future. With the adoption of cloud services, the enterprise must be ready to shift in how they organize and manage their TEM programs to support the inevitable network transformation. This requires IT to shift responsibilities beyond legacy telecommunication services as their infrastructure becomes more dynamic and enabled by cloud-based services and virtualized networks.
We find that it often takes time for IT leaders to understand the value of implementing a holistic expense management program, one that accounts for the management of all assets, deployed mobile devices and cloud-based services. That said, by investing in telecom expense management, they soon discover that they can reduce costs and redirect resources to growth objectives with the satisfaction of knowing that costs are not spiraling out of your control. Your TEM vendors fees should be fully recovered by the cost savings they identify.