Telecom Expense Management (TEM) has transformed from management of just the telecom expenses to encompass all technology expenses across all spend categories, quickly becoming Technology Expense Management.
Inspired by Adversity
The COVID catastrophe has inspired acceleration of this evolution. More than ever, companies are dependent upon technologies to enable their continuity and, ultimately, their survival. Improving their ability to function at the endpoints, mobile has become a larger proportion of telecom than ever. Mobile technologies are advancing far faster than wireline as the world slowly moves away from the public switched telephone network (PSTN) to transporting all data types, including voice, video, text, telemetry, and more across the global internet.
Expanding TEM to encompass all expenses, including cloud services, mobile services, leased-line services, and internet, becomes crucial as dependence upon all these technologies grows.
Computing and communications technology have become a strategic enabler to all operations making it all too easy for associated spending to get out of control if not carefully managed.
Converging expense management across spend categories also brings the transition of responsibility upward in the organization. When the expenses of the mobility team, the fixed line team, the network team, the systems team and others are all brought together none of those team managers can really be charged with overall responsibility. Ultimately, this ends up in the office of the CIO, CTO, or perhaps the CFO. This brings the information needed for large-project decision making to the senior level that makes the actual decision.
When budgeting is conducted at the department level it’s seldom more sophisticated than taking the previous year budget and adding 5 to 10%. You lose the ability to optimize the expense in terms of supporting the strategic goals of the business. When department and business-level leadership partner, budgeting takes the operational and revenue-generating issues into the equation yielding budgets that are far more responsive to the actual needs of the organization.
During this current pandemic you suddenly find you've got a lot more people leveraging their home wi-fi or their mobile phone because they're not in the office anymore. You may not see that you probably don't need as much bandwidth through your office infrastructure as you did a year ago but you do need more bandwidth to support customers and employees all over the world who are now working remotely. How do you optimize their experience during, for example, an SD WAN transformation?
The Value of a Single Global TEM Provider
Prior to involving a TEM provider most multi-national corporations assign responsibility to each region to track and manage their own technology expenses. Seldom do multiple regions adopt similar tools or methodologies to accomplish this, rendering it all but impossible to aggregate the data for a consolidated view across the enterprise.
If you're using multiple vendors, it's going to be very hard to consume the data coming out of each of those systems in a similar way. To accomplish this, you're now integrating with all those vendors and systems instead of just one. Say you need a new report or a new view because the CEO or the VP you report to all of a sudden has a strategic initiative that requires a new way to slice and dice the data. You have to modify views from all your systems. Doable, but you end up focusing more on reformatting reports and trying to pull everything together instead of focusing on your strategic objectives.
Completing IT Management
To complete the picture of efficient operation, we must look beyond the technology. Beyond the hardware and software that comprise the servers, storage, routers, switches, modems, operating systems, and the physical performance of all these ‘things’. Beyond all that to the total cost of operations. The adoption of cloud computing has been hastened by the fact that it insulates users from the varying realities of cost of operation, translating them into fixed periodic fees that are completely controlled and predictable and that IT and communications make a maximum contribution to company profitability.
This is why TEM must encompass all related spend categories. Not just telecom, but datacom. Not just bandwidth, but software, and storage, and processing, and applications, all devices, across all departmental functions. TEM keeps all those expenses under tight, optimized control that drives the excellent contributions they make to the corporate bottom line.
Read our related white paper - Benefits of Expense Management Across Spend Categories.