Organizations that are thinking about buying a telecom expense management (TEM) solution, those that are about to sign a contract, and those that have had a program in place for some time, all need an effective Statement of Work (SOW). This requires managers to unite around common goals and objectives.
Misalignment is far too common with TEM programs. It results from engagements that vary considerably and the fact that not all TEM providers offer the same capabilities, or at least talk about them in the same way. In addition, many organizations do not have a unified view of what they are buying. An organization must obtain internal consensus and alignment on the areas for improvement before creating a SOW. Developing an internal consensus will require executive sponsorship for the TEM program, and executives can help set priorities for the program.
Before creating a SOW, it is important to understand and define TEM; managers must decide what they are buying. An effective TEM program manages the full lifecycle of a telecom expense. It will:
- Track – Monitor usage detail from users across the organization, and charge back for a variety of services using configurable rating structures such as legacy PBX, VoIP, and Unified Communications.
- Manage – Centralize telecom move, add, change, and disconnect (MACD) activity and manage provisioning requests through templates that adapt to organizational needs.
- Expense – Automate the process of invoice receipt, allocation, validation, approval, and payment for telecom bills.
Managers may want to compare the current approach to what they are buying as this will help ensure that the Statement of Work improves on the current program. Managers should be brutally honest in identifying areas that need to be improved and where the improvements will add value.
TEM Statement of Work
A TEM SOW captures and defines TEM activities, deliverables and the timeline for the work to be implemented. It must describe the work to be performed in detail. The costs for the services should be clear, and areas that are related, but out of scope must be identified. It should explain why the organization is seeking to procure a TEM solution. Identifying specific goals and expected cost savings over time is critical. “At a minimum, the SOW should include the amount of spend, the volume of MACD activity, and the quantity of cost allocations.
There are many benefits achieved from effective Statements of Work. A SOW can be part of the Request for Proposal and it may also be used for a Service Level Agreement (SLA). It will save time and require little clarification once they are written. Providers will be more likely to participate in the RFP and they will be able to provide realistic pricing based on expected staffing requirements and other implementation costs. Most important, a clear SOW will ensure a successful implementation and ongoing success, with a strong relationship between the enterprise and provider as they work together to drive savings and manage the full lifecycle of telecom expenses for the organization.