There is never a more important time to invest in a solid TEM (Telecom Expense Management) Provider than today, especially if your business is operating in an environment that’s heavily reliant on wireless telecommunications to include cell phones, mobile computing, and tablets.
So much of our internal communication and external customer facing is done via a multitude of platforms. We may use email, chat, and phone to communicate internally. We may use website service portals, chat, email, fax, and phone to communicate externally. All of these methods of communication require a robust telecommunications management solution.
Procurement, management, maintenance, and cost analysis of telecom services and equipment can be daunting. Hiring a solid TEM provider to conduct all the tedious parts of telecom procurement and maintenance frees up valuable internal resources for your company while keeping your organization on the forward edge of communication and innovation.
While looking for a qualified TEM provider among the hundreds available worldwide, there are some key factors to focus on while involved in the hunt. The more a TEM provider can take off your plate, the better you’ll be able to focus on the key mission of your own organization, instead of being mired down in telecom expense management red tape.
Nothing is worse than being tasked to identify potential service and equipment vendors, compare rates, negotiate service plans, and finalize contracts. A good TEM provider should be able to do all of this for you while keeping you informed the entire way.
Look for a provider that will communicate with you and properly identify your needs. Once those needs are identified, that TEM provider should be able to locate a few top vendors best equipped to meet your needs. After the TEM provider has presented you its recommendations, then all you should need to do is choose the option that best suits your goals.
Once a vendor has been selected, a good TEM provider will be able to negotiate and finalize a service agreement or equipment contract. Though the final decision is yours, you should be able to sit back and put your full confidence in your TEM provider.
Much of the messy work of telecom expense management is involved in the management of all telecom assets and services. Because the nature of communication is so multi-faceted, a number of devices and services fall under telecom, which means countless vendors providing all sorts of different kinds of equipment that fall somewhere on the spectrum between strictly IT and strictly telecom.
It’s up to you to decide how much of this management you want your TEM provider to be involved in. The best TEM providers will manage all of this for you. This is the most worry free option. However, if your budget is limited, you’ll want to look for as much as you can afford in a TEM provider.
Ideally, a TEM provider will manage your asset inventory for you so that you have a single source to turn to for a comprehensive list of all equipment and services by vendor.
Likewise, a comprehensive list of all contracts and invoices should be maintained by the TEM provider. Ideally, the TEM provider will maintain a client portal you can use to view all of your data. The best TEM providers maintain optimal visibility for their clients.
Your TEM provider should be able to communicate and work seamlessly with all of your internal departments related to telecom management, to include procurement, IT, and finance departments. There should be two way communication so that while your company can access a customer portal, the TEM provider can also be equipped to integrate with any internal systems or databases that require TEM relevant information.
Your TEM provider should be performing regular audits of invoices to ensure you are not being inaccurately billed for services or equipment you don’t possess. You should have clear visibility into your TEM provider’s audit system, or at least receive regular audit reports.
Your TEM provider should be managed by experts in the industry who can offer regular advice to help you optimize services and telecom solutions. A good TEM provider will be your ally in receiving the most up to date and relevant telecom solutions for your business.
Your TEM provider should also help you look forward as you continue to consult with them. You should always be in agreement regarding the direction you want to take your company and its telecom needs, whether that means expansion or just maintenance.
You shouldn’t be the one who company employees are running to for help with your telecom expenses. A good TEM provider will handle all of the help desk functions of telecom. If your company is having issue with a certain vendor, your TEM provider should be the one to work out the problem for you.
A good TEM provider should be accustomed to working out the best deals for their clients with a variety of service and equipment vendors. If you feel a potential TEM is not responsive to your needs in the very beginning, chances are they aren’t going to be proactive enough to get the best deal possible for you when dealing with vendors.
The good news is given today’s expansive telecom and IT environment, there are plenty of TEM solutions to choose from offering a variety of services and solutions. Taking your time to prioritize what services are most important to your organization, will help you identify the TEM providers most likely to fit the demands your company needs to be met.
At a minimum, you should find that a good TEM provider is able to negotiate adequately for you, provide assistance for your employees when questions arise, consult with company decision makers regarding telecom equipment and solutions, provide auditing services to make sure you are being fairly billed, integrate with your internal data systems, and procure and effectively manage all of your telecom needs.
By ensuring that any TEM provider you choose provides these minimal services, you’ll be able to take the brunt of the tedious telecom management work off your company’s shoulders and outsource it in a cost effective way.