Procurement teams face a number of challenges in ensuring goods and services are sourced at the best possible price. Without the tools to analyze technology usage and data across the organization, it is incredibly difficult to fully understand a company’s technology requirements and know what represents a deal that's favorable to the organization.
In addition, procurement must stay on top of hundreds of annual contracts, RFQs and RFPs across email, vendor portals and PDFs.
Enterprises must also consider the legacy of their procurement activities. Procurement teams spend a considerable amount of time negotiating the best possible rates with technology vendors, but can struggle to ensure those rates are being reflected in the billing once the procurement process has been completed.
Many successful organizations employ a Technology Expense Management (TEM) solution to assist procurement teams in understanding their technology environment, strengthening their bargaining position and cutting out manual tasks. Here's why.
Understanding your environment
TEM systems provide a centralized inventory for all usage, assets and costs in your environment to drive smarter decision making. Reporting platforms such as MDSL’s Smart Dashboards provide clarity over global technology costs and help understand trends to identify redundant spend in your environment. A solid understanding of technology costs and accurate data on your spend with individual providers can provide a much stronger negotiating position, particularly when agreeing to a minimum spend commitment.
In addition to key information about your contracts, TEM can provide contract calendars and rollover reminders to help you stay on top of costs and plan for upcoming procurement activities.
TEM platforms include vital tools specifically built to assist procurement teams, for example MDSL’s Quote Management, which centralizes and expedites the quoting process. Quote Management makes it much easier for procurement teams to choose the best quote, centralizing the responses of each vendor and allowing enterprises to compare price, lead time, bandwidth, deadlines, SLAs or any other conceivable, configurable criteria. This is all done within the TEM Platform, from issuing RFQs to choosing a vendor, placing the order and automatically updating inventory.
In addition, Quote Management makes it easy to inform vendors as to why their bid did not win, promoting stronger competition in future bids.
Automation can revolutionize the way you handle requests from individual employees. Advanced TEM systems utilize workflows and eBonding to allow employees to self-serve from a catalog of pre-approved devices and services. This rapidly increases the speed at which orders can be placed and fulfilled, and reduces the burden on internal IT teams by cutting out many back and forth interactions with employees and technology vendors.
Comprehensive TEM platforms support integrations with ITSM platforms, such as Service Now, to ensure consistent records with the TEM inventory by automatically updating new and existing assets created in either system, resulting in greater accuracy and negating the need to manually update both systems.
Many enterprises rely on MDSL's Automated Invoice Processing (AIP) to significantly reduce human error, eliminate manual processing and ensure that their hard negotiated rates are being honored by flagging vendor misbillings and overcharges.
In addition to software, some TEM providers offer strategic services to assist procurement teams. TEM providers supply expert support to lighten the workload, conduct audits, make recommendations, or fully take over contract negotiations and RFP Management on the client's behalf. These engagements often lead to enterprises finding budget to implement a full TEM solution.
Finding the right provider
Utilizing TEM, procurement teams can benefit from centralized data, improve communication with other enterprise groups, and cut out a significant number of manual processes. In choosing a provider, enterprises must consider how many areas they require assistance with as well as the range of services that can be managed through a single vendor relationship.
- Can they provide assistance for multiple categories of technology? In addition to telecom, do their capabilities extend to technologies supporting digital transformation, including cloud, IT assets and IoT?
- Global capabilities are another quality to consider. Is the vendor capable of providing a consistent support across your global locations. Do they have experience in dealing with local languages, vendors, currencies, cultures and regulations?
- Do they invest in features and integrations to support the procurement process?
A provider who can offer a wide variety of flexible support will ensure you get the right balance of software and services for your needs.
To learn more, contact a member of our expert team today.