Your TEM Roadmap –

From out of control to total control in 5 steps.

In today’s business environment most companies reasonably focus on their core responsibilities. As technology has evolved their telecommunication needs, cost & usage have evolved. In the process their telecom services have grown from hard to control to out of control.

Others follow a pattern of ignoring their telecom spend until it has become enough of an annoyance to attract attention. By that time, telecom expense has been inadequately audited, over budget, inefficient, and simply out of control.

FACTS:

  • Few if any companies have the time or the tools to efficiently take on telecom management.
  • The lack of automation, visibility of details, and tracking of telecom issues leads to out of control telecom spend, out of control asset management and inefficient use of the telecom management team’s time.

Anyone who has taken on the task to remodel a room has learned quickly that without the right tools the job takes 10 times longer than needed. With attention to detail you may get the right result. However, the amount of time that it took was completely unnecessary. How many times have you said to yourself (while in the middle of such a project), “This is ridiculous!”

Without the right tools and best practices, your Telecom Management staff struggle long & hard to achieve their current results. In some cases they struggle just to keep the telecom services operational.

What about your company? Are your current telecom services simply too hard to control with out the right tools & assistance? Are you concerned your telecom expenses may be out of control?

This “Roadmap” will not only help you answer those questions, it will offer some ideas and tips for getting back on track.

We will now walk you through the 5 proven steps of this roadmap to Total Telecom Control.

Step 1: Assess the Situation

What does the “man in the mirror” say when you ask him these questions?

  • Is all of your telecom information in one central location?
  • What are the total costs of telecom expenditures across your entire company?
  • What percentage of your telecom invoices are incurring late charges penalties?
  • What are the contract rates for your telecom services and are you confident what this is?
  • What you are being invoiced for?
  • Are you taking advantage of all possible volume discounts?
  • How many times a year is your telecom invoices audited?
  • How long does it take to audit and process your telecom invoices?
  • Do your audits of invoices frequently result in finding errors?

Do you have sufficient visibility and management control over telecom usage?

  • Who in your organization has the time or expertise to go through every invoice from every telecom vendor line-by-line?
  • Who then has the time to compare the invoices with the contracts to make sure the pricing is correct?
  • Could their time be better spent?
  • Do you have an accurate inventory of all company telecom?
  • Can you break down your costs by division, service type, location, and cost by employee?
  • How are your telecom budgets monitored for efficiency?
  • Do you have guidelines in place for telecom usage?
  • Who can efficiently report telecom invoice problems to the right department?
  • On what information do you forecast future telecom expenses and how accurate is it?

Step 2: Admit you have a Problem

Analyze your company’s situation.

If you can answer the previous questions with positive results, you are most likely not experiencing serious TEM challenges.

If you could not answer some questions, or the answers provide painful insight into costly telecom management oversights…

It is time to analyze the problem and seek help.

Step 3: Understand what TEM IS (and what TEM is NOT)

Aberdeen Group: “Telecom expense management (TEM) is a term that typically describes a method for tracking, cross-charging, and paying invoices in a timely manner. However, Aberdeen research prefers the holistic approach of a “total telecom cost management” solution that also stores contracts, handles orders, manages asset and service inventory, and provides standardized analytics on an enterprise-wide basis.”

Telecommunications Expense Management (TEM) IS about achieving savings and control of telecommunications spending by using automated tools such as software and business processes working together for active management of telecom in a procure-to-pay life cycle.

Telecommunications Expense Management (TEM) is NOT software only. Software without active use of best practices in business processes will not result in TEM success.

As a TEM partner, the TEM solution strengthens your “offense” as your enterprise aggressively pursues cost savings and asset management, while it adds “defense” to protect your firm from unnecessary time consumption & costly human errors.

Step 4: Review and Consider solutions based upon Best Practices

Companies experience the best possible TEM results by integrating the Best in Class software tools with industry recognized Best Practices for telecom Service & Equipment Lifecycles.

When automated web–based software for optimizing cost and usage, payment reconciliation, contract validation, and asset management is combined w/ the following Best Practices, true telecom expense management provides the maximum level of benefit to participating enterprises.

Listed below are descriptions of Telecom Expense Management Best Practices:

Asset Management

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

At the core of any effective TEM solution is efficiently managing the inventory. You can’t manage that which you do not know exists.

  • Can you accurately determine, who has what wireless devices, & where?
  • Do you know what wireline assets are needed and what you have in each location?
  • Is there any unnecessary redundancy?
  • Are there obsolete services that could be replaced w/ more cost effective solutions?
  • Do you know how telecom services are configured at each location, there purpose, & there relationship w/ the other assets, as well as how these services are utilized?
  • Are you paying redundant, obsolete or disconnected services and for how long?

Invoice Validation

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

Processing telecom invoices properly is a complicated task. To process an invoice according to best practices, a repeatable set of processes must be created and implemented.
Proper invoice validation includes:
Importing or transferring invoices into a validation & exception handling system.

Changes in assets must be identified & compared with current inventory list for accuracy.

Invoice charges must be validated for accuracy, producing a list of exception information & charges.

Exceptions must be tracked, disputes resolved, & changes to telecom spend noted for review in future invoices.

A system of approving each invoice should be implemented so that costs, exceptions, and changes are properly accounted for.

Expense Optimization

  • Analyze rate plan and feature usage.
  • Optimize telecom spend for peak ROI.

Inventory management, bill pay, & initiating processes that ensure accuracy is one thing. It is quite another to exploit all the data captured through the TEM processes. Analyzing the wealth of collected information to the benefit of your company is key to cost control & management.

Optimization needs to be applied as a consistent practice with your TEM solution. Both cost & usage needs to be visible from a “mile high” view to a “granular” and by wireline asset & wireless device. Additional visibility into features, charges, equipment is essential.

In the current business environment, the timely analyses for errors & wasteful spending is critical to controlling telecom spend. Errors, exceptions and changes should be identified & noted, then tracked to recovery &/or completion.

Comprehensive cost & usage reporting by appropriate hierarchy (cost centers), by service type, location, & cost per employee is valuable to optimization as it empowers telecom management control spend.

E-Procurement

  • Automated web–based software for procurement that is useful in assisting optimizing cost & usage, payment reconciliation, contract validation, and asset management.

Once you have a quantifiable inventory in a centralized data base, it is extremely important to keep it accurate. To do this, initiate an automated repeatable process that only permits approved assets into inventory. This process should allow assets to be changed & removed from inventory while the whole procedure is duly noted.

Additionally, applying standards for procurement of specific assets is required.

To have all this and to know your inventory real time, not relying on cryptic vendor invoices and dated information is indispensable.
The data collected in the E-Procurement of wireline services and wireless devices assists in optimizing cost and usage, payment reconciliation, contract validation, and asset management.

Help Desk Support

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

A Help Desk support system is another key to maintain staff productivity & efficient telecom lifecycle management. Help Desk support provides the crucial single point of contact for move, add, change, troubleshooting, resolution, & reporting of all telecom assets in inventory.

Companies with extensive wireless usage inevitable have users with technical difficulties. A fast resolution to these distractions is key to maintaining efficiencies & productivity.

Contract & Policy Consulting

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

A company’s telecom relationship is defined by the terms & conditions of the telecom contracts in place with their vendors. The same care should be given to managing these telecom contracts as the corporate ones.

It has been established by industry experts that mature “2 year old contracts spend 20%-35% more per year on voice/data services compared to recently negotiated contracts” (Gartner). Therefore, the timely & continual monitoring of these service aggreements are extremely important.

Additionally, it is critical to manage the terms & conditions of these agreements. You need to ensure that the deftly negotiated terms are met by both parties. Gartner has revealed that 80% of corporate telecom invoices are incorrect with average over billings of 6-8%. Clearly the ongoing evaluation of these agreements provides significant cost control opportunities.

Manual Wireline Audit Option

  • Hand’s on, eye’s on approach
  • Update & provide accurate inventory
  • Reports can be used to facilitate transition to TEM solution

Manual Wireline Optimization

A wireline auditor will help your company gain insight into their telecommunications spend and asset inventory. The hands on approach of the wireline auditor will identify billing errors, unused services, and inefficiencies in your telecom services that are discovered through in depth analysis of the data presented and insight into your vendor’s billing practices.

Manual Wireline Validation & Asset Management

It has been said, “Garbage in, garbage out”. How can you be sure that the data you are loading into the automated TEM solution is accurate? The wireline auditor will validate all services and devices to confirm the validity of the assets as they proceed with the manual audit. In so doing, they will provide an accurate inventory of wireline services that could later be used for a TEM solution once automation is desired.

Often these manual audits are accomplished on a contingency basis. Provided enough recoveries/savings are achieved, they can help to offset any future implementation fees associated with a future move to an automated TEM solution, making the proposed TEM solution a budget neutral proposition.

Your Wireline Audit Provider Should:

  • Receive, process, validate and make ready for payment all telecommunications invoices
  • Identify and pursue areas of concern, billing errors, trends, optimization, & savings opportunities
  • Provide comprehensive Reporting for Expense, Asset, & Inventory Management
  • Recommend appropriate actions (Savings opportunities)
  • Implement approved recommendations & procurements
  • Track all implemented recommendations & procurements to completion
  • Recover on behalf of client refunds(credits) &/or procure projected future savings opportunities

In the process your TEM partner would be providing an accurate inventory of wireline services that could later be used for a TEM solution once automation is desired.

Step 5: Select and Implement your desired TEM system.

  • Receive, process, validate and make ready for payment of all telecommunications invoices
  • Allocate all expenses according to client’s established business rules
  • Identify and pursue areas of concern, billing errors, trends, optimization, & savings opportunities
  • Provide comprehensive Reporting for Expense, Asset, & Inventory Management
  • Recommend appropriate actions (Savings opportunities, MAC’s, Installs & Uninstalls)
  • Implement approved recommendations, procurements, MAC’s &/or deletes
  • Track all implemented recommendations, procurements, MAC’s &/or deletes to completion
  • Recover on behalf of client refunds(credits) &/or procures projected future savings opportunities