Traditionally, telecoms expense management (TEM) was all about managing costs. These days, tracking your telecoms only meant keeping an eye on your landline phone bill. Today, communication environments are more comprehensive, as systems evolve, employees work remotely and the internet totally revolutionises how people communicate with each other.
As such, modern TEM has to be so much more robust than the TEM of old. This holistic approach to keeping tabs on your telecoms infrastructure is often referred to as telecoms lifecycle management.
From reactive to predictive
In the past, a company with many telco bills would go off and buy some sort of telecoms expense management software to install onto their internal servers. But because this was “on-premises” it couldn’t integrate with anything. Essentially, it was a standalone solution. This approach completely counteracts the success of TEM software because the businesses were monitoring their telecoms environment from a reactive perspective.
Yes, you could use this software to upload your invoices and track spending, but only after the fact. Modern companies are increasingly realising that what they need, and want, is a fully integrated service that monitors everything in real-time. This allows them to streamline inefficient processes quickly and curb overspending before it happens.
By moving things into the cloud, there’s so much more scalability and flexibility. Companies are automatically more predictive and more connected with everything that’s going on.
Making the move towards independence
In the early days of TEM, service providers would offer businesses some sort of telecoms tracking solution as part of their contract offerings. While some may still offer this kind of thing, more and more businesses are realising how important it is to have an independent view of their telecoms landscape.
Bundling your telecoms management in with your contract from your service provider is a bit like allowing someone to mark his or her own exam paper. How stringent are they actually going to be? By partnering with an independent party between service providers, businesses can easily contest bills and expenses that seem out of the ordinary.
In fact, the services companies need to effectively manage their telecoms spend go way beyond the scope of the service provider’s responsibility. While you may think that the telcos have a tricky relationship with TEM software providers, we actually make their jobs easier because we handle customer usage and expense queries so they have more time to focus on their core business.
A shift in thinking and ways of doing things
One of the greatest challenges is changing our clients’ perceptions around what modern TEM and TLM actually can do. This is especially true when compared to the very simple telecoms management systems (TMS), which are only capable of doing a tiny component of what modern TEM software can do. Clients often don’t realise the level of efficiency, freedom and security that can be achieved when embracing a more complete, cloud-based approach.
Think for a moment about what’s happened in the food delivery industry. At first you’d have to go to a restaurant or fast food place to order a meal. The first evolution of this process was Mr Delivery, a service that brings food straight to your door.
Now we have things like UberEATS and OrderIn, which allow you to order food via an app and track your meal’s progress as it travels to you. This technology component has been added to something that always existed. And that’s the idea behind the changing face of telecoms expense management; it’s about enabling your business using technology.
For us, the next step is into the realm of high performance telecoms, which allows businesses to make smart decisions and better focus on business operations. The future is much more integrated and complex, with people being connected anytime, anywhere.
Business will drive these refinements. But there will probably have to be a few more horror stories of people making big mistakes before everyone starts to pay attention. Companies that don’t have the mechanisms to support, control and manage these changes, and aren’t willing to automate their environment, could be in trouble.
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