When enterprises hear about the potential of TEM, they look forward to achieving deep savings from their current telecom environment. The problem is, these solutions are often implemented in a haphazard way that leaves much of their potential beyond the reach of the software itself. The software simply becomes a fancy but inefficient bill-payer, losing any promise of continuous business intelligence to improve technology decisions.
A Broken Industry Promise
TEM was originally positioned by the industry as a software-only solution with the hope of simply loading in inventory data and taking insights into cost-savings opportunities out. However, many solutions remain stuck in a purely transactional mode — relegated to providing transactional reports, rather than achieving data-driven insights that help enterprises identify efficiencies and achieve significant savings. The reality is TEM is merely a tool for data storage.
Many enterprises didn’t realize that they needed to infuse innovation and creativity into their processes to get the most out of their TEM solution. Apathy toward exceptional internal service management led to failure on their part to realize millions of dollars in unclaimed savings and efficiencies.
Poor Internal Ownership/Visibility
There’s often confusion around who owns TEM, with IT and finance both serving as stakeholders. With no single owner, no one owns it outright. Compounded by the different goals inherent in these two teams (service management vs. savings), the real value of TEM falls through the cracks and remains unrealized.
Antiquated Software Platform
The 15-year old antiquated software platform, from user interfaces to manual back-end processes and a lack of automation, makes it difficult to gain visibility into your actual services and spend. TEM has not adapted to new technologies such as mobile devices, colo and usage-based IT services. For example, legacy billing systems produce invoices with error rates of 12 to 20%, industry research has indicated.
Competition on Price, Not Service
Mergers, takeovers and VC-backed solution providers are all vying to serve at the top of a “mature, fractured and highly competitive market,” Gartner says. As a result, many are competing on price rather than the level of service they offer. According to Gartner, “mobile TEM engagements have been undercut by as much as 30% in competitive bid situations.” In many cases, enterprises pick a solution based only on cost; as they do so, much of the solution’s potential is lost.*
Lack of Continued Investment
It’s not enough to purchase a platform and then hope it does the job without periodic audits. Enterprises need people, processes and expertise around their platform — and some organizations are unwilling or unable to make those investments. Without it, their TEM platform ends up being a glorified bill-payer (at best).
With these as well as other challenges, it is no wonder that many Enterprises are frustrated with the results. Join us in the upcoming final article of our TEM Blog series: “The Broken Promise of Telecom Expense Management – Part 3: Let’s Fix This!”
*Gartner: Competitive Landscape, Independent Telecom Expense Management Providers, 2016