TechTalk, the vCom blog

What Is Telecom Expense Management?

Rapid innovations in wireless, voice, and data telecommunication services have made their management increasingly complex for business enterprises. In many cases, even with the availability of an in-house team and telecom expense management (TEM) software, a business enterprise may find it convenient to team up with a competent, experienced, and reputable TEM vendor. You’ll have a lesser risk of impacting your business finances with avoidable expenses, invoice errors, and unnecessary service purchases by having specialists at hand.

You might be wondering, “What is telecom expense management, and what does it entail?” TEM has been around for close to two decades at the enterprise level, and organizations have improved their IT processes and financial health by implementing telecom expense management solutions.

At vCom Solutions, we offer traditional expense management services such as helping to manage contracts, maintaining up-to-date inventories across all of your providers, automating vendor payments, providing analytics into usage, and auditing your invoices. However, TEM is only a part of the IT lifecycle, and our services extend further to offer customized management of the entire lifecycle. 

We can manage it all, from the planning and procurement of IT expenses to undertaking the ordering, service, and support operations. Furthermore, you will be able to access all the activity details in one centralized place.

What Is Telecom Expense Management (TEM)?

Telecom expense management (TEM) is a management discipline primarily focused on managing and tracking the telecommunications expenditure of business enterprises and finding legitimate ways to reduce these costs. While TEM originally began with managing expenses involved with fixed-line or voice telecom networks, these management services have now expanded to handling mobile networks and other tech categories such as IoT, SaaS, and the Cloud.

Why Is TEM Crucial for Business Enterprises?

As part of a larger, more holistic IT lifecycle management initiative, TEM is crucial for your business since it can help you control costs and evaluate and track your communications systems and services’ ongoing expenses. TEM can also help you to assess whether you are meeting the needs of your organization. 

For example, you might offer your enterprise workforce a range of wireless mobile devices. Your business will need to create and implement a sophisticated telecom expense management plan and update it regularly to manage and support these devices.

What Do TEM Services Include?

The telecom expense management concept began primarily as a way to control voice and data costs. TEM aimed to provide much-needed visibility into the spending associated with these costs. Invoice errors were common, usually in the carrier’s favor, and audits were time-consuming. There was little ability to understand if the organization was being invoiced correctly or was still paying for previously disconnected services.

Today, TEM has evolved into a more comprehensive management system that businesses can use to control costs across the IT ecosystem. Tasks such as managing fixed and mobile data and devices, undertaking cloud license tracking, and implementing IoT connectivity come under the TEM umbrella.

The cross-functionality of TEM across the IT, finance, and procurement departments is made efficient with visual dashboards that display how much you are spending on various telecom services. By centralizing different services, you can make maximum use of available resources and improve your communications infrastructure. Since running an efficient TEM program requires specialized knowledge, many companies find it more economical to work with a TEM vendor than handle the responsibility in-house.

 

 

What Are the Benefits of TEM Services?

The primary benefits of TEM are cost savings, better utilization of your telecom budget, and improved efficiencies. Crucial to maximizing these benefits is ensuring that the TEM company you engage with can help you build, manage, and maintain a complete asset inventory. Extracting data from multiple siloed sources (including invoice records and spreadsheets) is crucial to building a complete and accurate inventory. 

By validating your invoices’ accuracy, you will be able to catch errors and make time-saving improvements. You can focus on essential services and eliminate everything unnecessary or redundant. This focus will allow you to control your monthly and annual business expenses better. Additionally, you can automate reports and alerts to make proactive decisions and keep managers and stakeholders informed about any significant usage changes or cost patterns. 

Most TEM solutions offer integration with the back-end AP system to streamline invoice processing. With invoices automatically loaded into the TEM system, you can avoid errors when entering invoices and manually processing bill payments. Streamlining business workflows and billing processes can also include tools that enable you to review contracted rates, identify hidden costs, and audit invoices in a more time-efficient manner. 

You can avoid late or missed payments by automating the payment process and making direct electronic payments to the bank. If any billing issues occur, you can address them by quickly retrieving and auditing the filed invoices. 

Another benefit of automating TEM services is that you can monitor your internal spending, audit the access and usage of your network and mobile resources, and gather sufficient data to budget for future needs. You can assign essential devices to personnel who will require them and restrict unnecessary usage from those who don’t.

How Do You Hire a TEM Vendor?

Managing various telecom components for your business can get intricate and overwhelming. Rather than burdening your staff with the time-consuming issues related to inventory and invoices, vendors, contracts, service and device selections, and software management, it makes more sense to let a knowledgeable vendor handle them on your behalf.

Before hiring a TEM vendor, identify the specific requirements of your business and determine whether the management solutions on offer can meet these requirements. 

If you require assistance with identifying your business needs, a reliable TEM vendor can help you detect existing issues and resolve them. The TEM service provider might, for example, locate where your IT contracts are, verify whether you have incomplete inventories, find out whether you are spending money on obsolete resources, or track your monthly telecom spend. Before reorganizing your telecom estate, ask whether a complete lifecycle solution will be necessary for streamlining your telecom and IT expense management process. In some cases, you might benefit from investing in specific, customized service components.