For organizations that are just beginning to evaluate Telecom Expense Management (TEM), Wireless Expense Management (WEM), and Managed Mobility Services (MMS) – and even for those that have had a program in place for several years – there are four “must haves” for all successful programs.
1. Executive Buy-In
Executive support from the customers’ team goes beyond simply signing off on the budget, as executives can help set the rules that define success. This is critical because these programs and stakeholders have many different goals, and without success criteria, one teams’ success may be perceived as failure to another. Executives can help align different goals and prioritize what is most important, while driving overall adoption of the program. This will ensure the solutions’ provider receives information needed to implement the program. Once it is implemented, executive support will help ensure that the system is utilized to track all telecom and IT assets and to generate the right reports.
2. Ability to Process Bills
The ability to process bills may seem like an obvious feature for all programs. The challenge comes from consolidating the wide range of billing formats that carriers provide. Carriers may have unique formats for electronic bills and a good system will be able to process all of the different formats. It must also be flexible and capable of adapting when carriers change the formats. Finally, if the bills are not available in electronic format, the system must be able to cope with large volumes of paper invoices. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) may not accurately capture the information on a phone bill so the system must be backed by scanning and manual entry for some paper bills.
3. Granular Reporting
Dashboard reports are great, but enterprises also need granular, detailed information in order to chase billing errors. Obtaining granular information will often depend on the level of detail in which bills are processed. Even existing programs can benefit from a review of the level of detail available to the enterprise, and a discussion of ways to improve the information generated from the program.
4. Cost Savings – Good to Start, but Not the Whole Picture
While these savings may be what gets the ball rolling, TEM, WEM, and MMS programs provide many benefits that go beyond cost savings. Security enhancements and risk mitigation from reporting are important benefits that are often overlooked. Additionally, many organizations are seeking to apply their mobile policy and accounting rules globally. In other cases, compliance to each country’s regulations is a major objective for the program. There are also indirect savings from ensuring that orders are placed with preferred providers at lower contract pricing. Unifying these processes and improving collaboration with a program is another important benefit. However, most programs start with a justification that relies on cost savings, and this is okay for a starting point – but it’s just the beginning of a successful program.
Enterprises should take some time to evaluate their program and work with their solutions’ providers. Executive buy-in, the ability to process bills, granular reporting, and cost savings are all critical to drive success. New programs should evaluate these areas. For existing programs, it is never too late to work with the solutions provider and have an open, constructive discussion on ways to improve these areas.