TEM SMART-SOURCING: NOW THAT MAKES CENTS

Don’t Be Crazy

It has often been said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over again expecting different results”. For most companies, when it comes to telecom expense management (TEM), it is truly sane (not to mention cost effective) to find a better way to manage these costly & vital assets. In this darkening economic climate it may be time to get “sane” and assume better control of these expensive assets so vital to the efficient operation of your enterprise.

Philosophy 101

Determining a corporate philosophy by which to proceed, for many is the first order of business. Ask yourself these questions to find your way forward:

  • Who has ownership of the telecom assets?
  • Is there a centralized repository for the telecom contracts, invoicing, and telecom data information?
  • How often are your telecom assets being audited?
  • What procedures does your company have in place to identify errors, overcharges, and ensure recovery of these unnecessary expenses?
  • What percentage of your invoices is incurring late charges?
  • Do you have an accurate up to date inventory of all these assets?

And most critically, who in your organization has the time or the expertise to go through every invoice from every telecom vendor line-by-line, asset by asset? This question is most important in helping you to proceed in developing the right plan of action.

Outsourcing V. Insourcing

Outsourcing/Insourcing; what’s a company to do regarding TEM? TEM can generate an extensive list of pros and cons. Most companies bring an existing corporate philosophy that favors internal management of services opposed to outsourcing. Yet, these same companies often have neither the time nor the expertise available to manage these important assets well.

Others have had a difficult time assessing which business unit in their company has ownership of the Telecom services which is so critical to their efficient management. Either way almost all companies recognize something needs to be done about these hard to control and expensive assets.

Outsourcing

There are many facets to determining which approach will work best for your company. There is usually no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that provides the best TEM solution for each firm. Some companies throw up their hands in frustration and relinquish all TEM responsibility to a third party (TEM) vendor and outsource. This embodies a move in the right direction from manual internal procedures; however, outsourcing doesn’t necessarily comprise the best solution for most companies.

Primary drawbacks to a full outsourcing approach:

  • you may be paying one high price for a mix of high along with low-value functions
  • you are introducing an additional vendor relationship between you and the carrier that will also require management

There are some valuable contributions outsourcing will provide:

  • Automated bill validation & error identification
  • Processing refunds

There are also lower value items such as:

  • Cutting a carrier check once the invoice has been validated
  • The outsourcing of invoice processing
  • Perhaps reallocation of internal resources to core responsibilities

The blending of high and marginal contributions normally requires a steep cost associated with the service provided. The approach of the outsourcer may vary; however, one thing is certain, each vendor requires oversight.

Worst Case for Outsourcing

Human assets once committed to carrier management will often be consumed with managing the outsourcing manager. That coupled with the negative of losing touch with both vendors and telecom services, will likely not result in the best telecom expense and asset management for your firm.

Insourcing

Counter to outsourcing is the purchase of TEM software to be operated in-house, by telecom-experienced personnel. At first “Insourcing” may appear to be a cost effective solution. While eliminating the need to manage the outsource manager, insourcing falls short by not utilizing a consultants vendor expertise and knowledge of multiple client agreements, rates & tariffs currently available in the marketplace.

Some additional efficiency lost by insourcing:

  • The lack of additional eyes & hands on managing of telecom data by non biased third parties
  • Telecom expertise & disciplines not available internally
  • Adding highly motivated (performance conscious) experts committed to achieving savings & efficiency results

Get Smart; Smart-Sourcing

Contrary to the two opposing philosophies, Smart-Sourcing is the strategy “most likely to succeed” and achieve the best TEM results. Blending the best of both sourcing strategies is both sane and effective. That’s right, it’s just plain “SMART”.

In Smart-Sourcing industry recognized *Best Practices are combined:

  • With the further training of your in-house telecom team
  • Professional telecom expertise co-management
  • Utilizing cutting edge software technologies

By choosing a vendor agnostic, non-biased TEM provider that compliments your strongest internal assets with the disciplines better performed by the third party, your company can achieve control, efficiencies, and cost savings that otherwise are simply out of reach. For example; Outsourcing an entire management discipline such as Help Desk or e-Procurement may make sense where other areas such as Usage Management are best handled in-house. Full appreciation of what your company does best along with what a TEM vendor might more efficiently replace just makes “good cents”. Perhaps allot of cents!

What are your plans to get control of your hard to control telecom services? Is the answer, “more of the same”? In today’s dark economic and competitive environment, well that’s just crazy.

ROI

Enterprises integrating wireless automation, Smart-Sourcing, together with industry recognized Best Practices, find an immediate ROI while the savings generated typically run between 3-5 times the costs of software alone. Companies engaged in effective Smart Sourcing of telecom management will undoubtedly find expense & man-hour efficiencies far beyond what they are currently experiencing.

Get Smart! Smart-Sourcing is likely your immediate answer. “Spinning too many plates” to look further? Look for a TEM solution who will provide you both automation & the hands necessary to spin those plates without breaking even one.

* Best Practices you should know:

Asset Management

  • Automate tracking of telecom inventories and contract dates
  • Curb wasteful spending by smart-sourcing

Invoice Validation

  • Track and recover billing errors
  • Process invoices more efficiently while limiting human error

Expense Optimization

  • Optimize telecom spend for peak ROI
  • Analyze rate plans and usage details

E-Procurement

  • Centralized order control
  • Automated web–based software solution
  • Assists in optimizing cost & usage, payment reconciliation, contract validation, & asset management

Help Desk Support

  • Providing a single point of contact for move, add, change, troubleshooting, resolution & reporting on all telecom inventories.

Contract & Policy Consulting

  • Analyze contracts and agreements.
  • Control costs with enforceable corporate standards for acquisition and use.
  • Ensure contract compliance.

 

Gary Sambursky
Business Development Manager
Integrity Communications, Inc
Integritycsi.com