The service of Telecom Expense Management (TEM) has come under fire recently. I was attending a Telecom Expense Management summit put on by CCMI and the person in charge actually referred to TEM as an application and compared it to Spellcheck.
Recently, members of Telecom Talk debated the ability to produce a ROI from TEM. The members seemed to come to an agreement that there is some initial return, during the first year, when audits are performed and billing errors are discovered and unnecessary services are identified and removed, but that it’s hard to justify the expense of TEM in the 2nd and subsequent years.
When is TEM is not a good option:
If your business is operated out of just a few locations, your telecom services shouldn’t be too difficult to manage. A company controller should have the time and understanding to review bills; to look for inconsistencies, billing errors and third party charges.
Businesses that have a set number of locations, with a static phone and internet service inventory, fall into the same category as smaller businesses. Their service inventory and billing shouldn’t be too difficult for IT, accounting and bill processing staff to manage.
If you have full time telecom people, they should be on top of your company’s voice and data services and the bills they generate, or why are they still employed? If you’ve decided to keep this job function in house, the people performing the role should have your telecom inventory, costs and billing under control.
Who are good candidates for TEM:
Businesses that are in growth mode are constantly ordering new services; their service and billing inventory is anything but static. Without a service like TEM, the management of telecom services will become increasingly difficult.
Businesses that have acquired other businesses have also acquired all of the company’s telecom assets. Procurement and record keeping can vary drastically from one company to the next. TEM is a good way to improve the visibility of a company’s voice and data service inventory and facilitate its management.
National and international businesses typically utilize many different providers for their telephone and internet services. Even the largest, most pervasive carriers, like AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink, don’t provide service to every region of the world and no company should have all of their telecom eggs in one basket. Multiple carriers can mean multiple bills and TEM can help a company better manage the result.
For smaller companies, with more static telecom service inventories, I would recommend regular scheduled audits as an alternative to TEM. The audits don’t need to be performed by company staff. Experienced telecom consultants can be hired for far less than a TEM service would cost and those people can usually justify their cost with the savings they produce.
Another option is a telecom agent or agency. They will perform inventory and bill audits and provide market pricing at no cost for the opportunity to broker replacement services.
If you’re uncertain if TEM is right for your organization, let CarrierBid help you. CarrierBid offers a number of TEM solutions and alternatives to TEM.