Advanced Telecom Systems Observations

Telecom Expense Management (TEM) is a term used to define an approach to managing all telecommunication service expenses such as voice, data and wireless with a combination of software tools and manual auditing. In managing all these services and related processes, its goal is to minimize costs and maximize process efficiency. click to read

For a small company, it can be as simple as checking over your phone bill every month to make sure you aren’t billed for services you don’t want. For larger companies, it is a more formal program to optimize spending on telecom services. Most of the attention goes to bill auditing and getting refunds for billing errors, but an effective TEM program can do more than that.

A Little History

The cost of voice and data communications is dropping. One casualty of this price plummet is that you no longer have experienced account teams who know your account and are your single point of contact. The new breed of account representatives there to serve you is inexperienced with your telecom needs and is more sales-oriented than needs-oriented.

For many businesses the overall telecommunications expense is growing. Workers are more mobile and the amount of communications between companies and their employees, including the huge volume of information they exchange, has been growing as well. Email, Internet, PDAs, ecommerce and our increasing tele-commuting workforce all lead to an increased demand for instant and continuous exchange of information using many kinds of telecom devices. The increased complexity of devices and services and the lack of transparency in carrier charging models have led to confusion and a need for a way to manage and control telecom costs.

In today’s business landscape, many companies are downsizing support staff, carriers are providing less support, and communication in general is becoming larger and more complex. Out of all this confusion, Telecommunications Expense Management was born. TEM provides a structured and professional way to manage the telecom spending of a company, no matter how large or small. This management can be in the form of software used by a manager or an outside telecom expert.

What Are the Problems?

There are quite a few. These include but are not limited to:

1) Using multiple carriers for different services that use different invoice formats. This makes it difficult to match and allocate costs effectively;
2) Not having a complete inventory of the company’s assets including wireless devices, headsets, hardware, computer networks, etc.;
3) Difficulty in being able to apportion telecommunications costs to divisions, teams or departments with any accuracy;
4) Not having the company resources to manually audit each invoice. Between 7-12% of bills are in error. For large companies, this is a substantial amount of money they could be losing every month; and
5) Not understanding costs. You can’t control the cost of something when you don’t understand how it’s billed or what you’re getting for your money.