By Tanya Seda, Chief Strategy Officer
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an unprecedented shift from customer premise services to work from home (WFH) services. This change has nearly every enterprise spinning with inventory concerns. Tracking user-based vs on-premise services has made network infrastructure management hard to manage without additional support. If you have been hesitant to engage with a Technology Expense Management (TEM) partner up until now, you should definitely rethink your in-house efforts.
A solid TEM partner can almost literally sweep in and clean up your tracking and management challenges. You already know the number and complexity of telecom invoices a business must process is staggering. You also know that you’re required to pay those invoices within 30 days, leaving almost no time for your team to make sure every line item is correct. Employees spend numerous hours reviewing these invoices, but the process is too manual, time-intensive, and complicated—and at the end of it all that work, not very accurate.
TEM outsourcing gives your organization an automated solution to help streamline fixed, cloud, and wireless financial and inventory oversight processes. It not only provides needed visibility into all of the telecom and IT suppliers and invoices, but it consolidates all of the invoicing data to make it much easier to take inventory of assets and dispute any billing issues.
TEM software provides valuable reports to help with audits, asset management, and expense management. If during the discovery process audits discover invoice errors based on contractual terms, service level agreements (SLAs), or recent moves, adds, changes, and disconnect services (MACDs), the TEM will send your team alerts to quickly resolve those issues.
Beyond transparency and consolidation, TEM outsourcing also automates bill payment to eliminate late fees, avoid service interruptions, and make sure payments are applied to the appropriate supplier invoices. It automatically allocates charges to the right cost centers giving you visibility to what technology is being charged to which department. Most TEM providers will help you resolve billing errors and refunds, and since errors often occur, the savings can be dramatic.
Below are some of the many benefits a TEM can help you manage:
Below are a few of the most important business values you’ll realize with an outsourced TEM solution:
It is critical for enterprises to have a central repository of every POTs line, circuit, user-based service (Zoom-Teams, etc.), router, cloud, storage, cell phone, order, invoice, etc. It is also critical to know how that inventory is configured, what its purpose for existing is, and how it is related to all the other inventory elements. If there is a shift in employees returning back to the workplace what will happen to those user-based services? Now you’ll know!
Order management is important to continually manage moves, adds, changes, and disconnects (MACDs). Technology order management is operationally complex, often entailing dozens of sub-processes that involve multiple supplier systems, and departments. The complexities of telecom order management are compounded when providers sell to the enterprise market where orders may be highly customized and multifaceted.
These activities include planning, organizing, and controlling financial activities. The executive tasks, such as procurement and utilization of funds of the enterprise are part of financial management. This process validates that what is being billed is what is actually being used. In the telecom portion of the TEM space, this means checking each line item from invoices and comparing them to the inventory.
The second part of this process is validating that the amount being billed is accurate. This is accomplished by checking the detailed elements of the bill against the configuration of the telecom service, the tariff, and the contract on a monthly basis.
Lastly, Financial Management involves the enterprise’s allocation of costs per department. After bills are paid accurately, then you allocate those charges fairly to the users within the enterprise.
Gain full visibility into and streamline every stage of the contract drafting, negotiation, and approval process. Prevent bottlenecks and ensure the right teammates are informed at the right time to drive efficient business results. Contracts contain the terms and conditions of the customer’s relationship with their carriers. It is critical to manage these contracts as you would manage any of your other corporate contracts.
It is one thing to maintain an inventory, pay bills or put processes in place to ensure accuracy. The other half of the value of TEM comes from the TEM provider’s ability to analyze and optimize your environment for the greatest value. At the same time, you’ll receive clear views of your entire technology ecosystem (under TEM management) via reports, analytics and recommendations. This provides fact-based information to support your budget and forecasts for telecom spend, perform “What If” analysis on network conversions or contractual terms, or simply distribute performance data about the telecom, cloud, and wireless network and its cost to stakeholders.
This is the management phase of the inventory life cycle. Every day in IT, assets break, change, move, etc. The only way network management systems can monitor the network is to have a solid inventory, how it used, who uses it, etc. Network management can only be as good as the inventory.
TEM has been available for a number of years and has grown in sophistication and capabilities to track changes in the technology infrastructure. Companies who use outsourced TEM realize considerable savings, managerial oversight of assets and service providers, and employee satisfaction. Isn’t it time to take that step?