Experienced executives know the importance of carefully planning and managing growth. Uncontrolled growth has been the cause of many business failures. Processes, procedures, and systems that supported the company well when it was small or mid-sized cannot handle the larger operations growth companies become.
Insightful executives plan to improve or replace those processes, procedures, and systems in advance of substantial periods of accelerated growth. Of all the operations which must be addressed one that often gets overlooked is paying the bills.
Communications is Key to Success
One key function which must be maintained to help assure successful growth is the communications function. Businesses run on communications. Everything, every department, every operation depends upon continuous communication services so telecom and datacom expenses become paramount.
Over the past few decades many companies have turned to experts to help them with technology expense management (TEM) which has returned them substantial savings by identifying and correcting incorrect billing, discontinued services which are still being billed, taking advantage of pricing terms that have been superseded by superior new programs, renegotiating contracts, and more.
As these companies grow, the role of the TEM provider becomes even more important, with more potential savings opportunities. The question executives must ask is whether the TEM provider who has been so successful for them in the past can continue to serve them well as they grow.
The Obvious Observations
There are many ways in which companies may grow. In cases where growth includes geographic expansion the first area to question is whether the incumbent TEM provider has a global footprint that aligns with expansion plans short and long term. Having “presence” in various regions is not enough. Does the TEM provider have experience with vendors in those regions? Do they have proof points indicating a history of success helping customers in those areas? Do they understand regional practices, regulations, tariffs, and policies?
Beyond this base knowledge, can the TEM provider deliver services at the same level of quality as they do here? Can they properly manage multi-currency environments? Billing across multiple geographies often becomes significantly complex. Can they demonstrate how their systems effectively support this complexity?
The question accompanying each of these functionalities is how well they provide visibility into critical data. How much flexibility and drill-down capability is inherent in their dashboards? How strong are their analytics? How extensive, and adaptable, is their reporting capability?
Companies need consolidated visibility into all communications costs to enable effective management. With so many opportunities to embrace new technologies does the TEM provider offer the ability to accurately assess which are the most cost-effective and advantageous choices? Does the TEM provider render cost control as a strategic advantage?
TEM Impact on Digital Transformation
In its most fundamental form, digital transformation can be the incorporation of more new communications technologies. Beyond voice are network and internet-based unified communications delivered from the cloud as a service. These combine voice with audio, video, application sharing, and other data types to provide a very flexible environment in which users can communicate in whichever of these modes they feel are most advantageous in each circumstance. Depending upon the volume of transactions involved and the tolerance for latency customers may choose to leverage the public internet to securely transport data, or they may use software defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) to bond multiple network channels together creating greater economies that dramatically lower cost while increasing resilience and control.
All these services are billed periodically making them great candidates for TEM involvement. Does the incumbent TEM already manage these recurring expenses or will this be new for them? Are they already transitioning from the “T” in TEM standing for “telecom” to “technology?”
Are They Just ”Doing” TEM, or Are They Doing TEM Efficiently?
Customer experience has painfully proven it isn’t enough to just be providing TEM services. With more and more technologies being added, and far more complexity and criticality, are they consolidating into highly efficient technologies to manage all related expenses in a single, highly optimized platform rather than using a “patchwork quilt” of different technology tools to manage each channel?
Can your TEM support your ability to make the most productive, cost-effective solutions, and deliver the high interoperability required to achieve true efficiency of communications operations?
As your scaling accelerates TEM solutions must become more and more streamlined to moderate rather than contribute to growing complexity. TEM has always managed from procurement to payment of invoices. Now, it is reasonable to expect TEM to manage not just carrier circuits and trunks, but also cloud computing services, software licenses, co-location and Infrastructure-as-a-Service. Software-as-a-Service. Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity, even Desktop-as-a-Service.
TEM providers can no longer carry a catalog of point solutions for managing various expenses. Customers required a consolidated view of their entire telecom estate to help them make the right decisions. They require a single-source solution that earns their trust and respect for their ability to keep all related issues under tight control.
When selecting your next TEM provider or deciding to remain with your incumbent as you scale, be certain they are performing on a rapid development cycle with constant upgrades and updates to their systems. To earn your trust, your TEM provider must become an active partner in managing all the TEM facets of your entire computing and communications ensemble.
You Can No Longer Afford Surprises
When consuming services that are billed on a recurrent basis, that consumption can easily get out of control unless it is carefully and properly monitored with alerts and notifications that provide early warning. The first indicator of overrun utilization comes in the form of a career-altering invoice for overages totaling in the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. This has never been acceptable and only has the potential for getting worse.
Effective TEM prevents these unanticipated billings and eliminates the bad surprises IT and telecom managers have receiving repeatedly. Concerned your TEM won’t be able to scale along with you? Talk to Calero-MDSL today about making a smooth transition to a TEM partner who has scaled along with many mid-market and global companies.