Author: Kevin Donoghue, CEO - Telesoft
Managers often underestimate the amount of money that they are spending on telecom because telecom expenses are often misclassified, like when locations and individuals tend to submit charges on expense reports when they pay their own bills. With these gaps in mind, once established, Telecom Expense Management (TEM) programs need to evolve to capture these unmanaged expenses.
There are two ways to grow a TEM program. First, organizations that have a hierarchical structure may find that it is possible to simply announce that all telecom expenses must be managed by the program. Today, few organizations are structured this way so it rarely works. The second approach is to build a business case demonstrating cost savings and efficiencies. Managers need to show that everyone wins when expenses are managed through the program. This requires a continual effort to market the program internally to highlight its’ benefits.
If ‘mavericks’ believe that TEM is simply about processing invoices, they will continue to think they don’t need to be part of the program because they can rely on the Accounts Payable department to process invoices. Until the program demonstrates that it is finding savings, creating new efficiencies from volume purchases, and automating labor intensive processes, mavericks working in regional offices will resist efforts to unify the expense management functions for telecom charges.
One of the best ways to identify metrics that capture people’s attention and demonstrate the benefits of the program is to partner with stakeholders to explain how the program works. TEM program managers should ask their stakeholders which reports they would like to see on a regular basis. Most business units welcome the opportunity to obtain better visibility into the variables that make up their profit and loss statements.
Enterprises that are not proactive in building a business case for TEM and actively promoting the benefits internally will forfeit a significant amount of savings. Programs that maximize spend under management can use scale to drive savings with telecom carriers. When a TEM program grows, the invoice management, expense oversight, and payment functions are centralized. Programs that grow benefit everyone because every dollar brought under management drives more savings to the bottom line.