A multitude of specialist vendors exist to manage and optimize technology spend for mid-market enterprises. Blue Hill Research, an independent research and advisory firm focusing on the enterprise technology marketplace, released a report that discusses key trends in mid-market Technology Expense Management (TEM). Titled, Mid-Market TEM Vendor Landscape, it contains useful information for those mid-sized enterprises looking to take the plunge into IT spend management.
This is the first post in a series aimed at sharing findings from the report, coupled with our insight and experience, after 15 years in this business. Below, we highlight the top 3 things to know about mid-market expense management:
- Mid-market TEM Vendors Understand the Status Quo
- Unique, Niche Players Create Opportunities for Customized Solutions
- Lack of Competitive Bids Doesn’t Mean Lack of Options
1. Mid-market TEM Vendors Understand the Status Quo
According to the report, many smaller enterprises are still unaware of TEM – and those that recognize the need for it often debate whether to outsource or take it on, in-house. Mid-market TEM vendors are uniquely positioned to educate and help even the most cost-sensitive enterprises start down the TEM path with solutions that meet their wired and wireless management needs.
The single biggest challenge we’ve faced has been a lack of awareness that a solution like ours existed. CIOs in the Fortune 500 space are aware of large TEM players and the associated cost with implementing such a management solution, but their counterparts in the mid-enterprise space often didn’t know about this revolutionary way of managing IT spend. Once they understand it, we’ve seen engagement levels improve and satisfaction rates soar – up to 99% as of this year
“The client has seen a “domino effect” in which vCom treats its employees well, with opportunities for education and professional development, and these benefits are transferred to end-customers in the form of strong customer relationships.”
– Blue Hill research
2. Unique, Niche Players Create Opportunities for
The Blue Hill researchers found that mid-market TEM vendors provide a range of niche services and capabilities – from traditional functionality such as mobile usage management and carrier bidding services, to supporting emerging technologies such as IoT. Given the range of offerings available, they assert that smaller enterprises should be able to find the TEM vendor that’s a good fit for their particular needs.
We speak with many IT leaders who, because the market is so fragmented and there is a vast range between service providers, don’t understand the total value a managed services model could bring to their IT strategy. In our experience, when clients approach TEM from a full lifecycle management perspective, rather than as just a niche solution, the financial value proposition is much stronger. We’ve seen this borne out, time and again, regardless of the industry or the size of the organization.
The IT landscape and the plethora of spend items we manage is ever increasing. We argue that it will serve your organization better in the long run to have a comprehensive lifecycle management platform in place, along with subject matter experts, spanning from IT planning and procurement, inventory and invoice management, to financial accounting and smart business intelligence reporting.
3. Lack of Competitive Bids Doesn’t Mean Lack of Options
The report also finds that mid-market TEM vendors provide fairly specialized offerings, and are relatively region-specific and geographically focused. These characteristics impact the competitive bidding process for deals in the mid-market, resulting in fewer competitive bids among geographically and service-differentiated vendors in this space.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many mid-market enterprises choose the status quo because they are overwhelmed by the number of players and their niche custom solutions. We advise not to look at vendors based on geography, or module, or pricing, etc. –it’s almost impossible to compare the various types of products and services they offer. Rather, look for TEM vendor solutions that encompass both professional services and software. We’ve found that a full lifecycle management as a service approach better serves the needs of the customer –– not a little bit of one and none of the other, or vice versa.
“vCom approaches TEM in three major areas of focus – planning/procurement, operational, and expense management – but each stage of its offering is included as part of full IT lifecycle management.”
– Blue Hill research
Summing it all up
Take advice from pioneers like us in this market, a full lifecycle IT spend management model creates superior results over custom, piece meal solutions. There are many large (and expensive) players offering a similar approach, but mid-market players can escape the status quo without having to pay the hefty price tags of the larger players.
We can do this more competitively than others because we heavily subsidize our platform, leveraging our carrier relationships to reduce the burden on the end-user–so our mid-market enterprise clients can access the same opportunities that were previously reserved for larger organizations with larger budgets. More importantly, clients get total visibility and control of their IT spend down to the employee level giving them actionable insights to make smart decisions.
In our next post, we’ll discuss the report’s findings on some of the key differences to look for between IT expense vendors.