According to a recent research report, the market for telecom expense management (TEM) services is forecast to grow by double digits. Driving this expansion is a recognition by enterprises that it makes sense to outsource the on-going management of data, voice, and mobile telecom expenses. For these businesses, a one-time telecom audit is not enough – they need a partner that continuously manages their telecom related expenses.
While it’s always good to be wanted, there’s one big catch facing firms that provide managed TEM services. Once they sign up a new enterprise customer, the real work begins – and often they are relying on highly manual processes and spreadsheets to do it. For example, one activity that takes a significant amount of time and effort is to obtain disparate expense data into a usable format for analysis. A large enterprise typically receives hundreds of different invoices each month, all in different formats. With a manual data entry and analysis processes, managed TEM providers will begin to struggle as they grow. They will need to “throw more bodies” at these tasks as they add new customers which is hardly a good way to grow profitably.
That is not the only problem. Manual data entry is always vulnerable to error, which in turn can affect the quality of the analysis managed TEM providers offer.
The good news is that there are software platforms that can help managed TEM providers grow their business without adding bodies. These software tools can also shorten the time needed to find savings for TEM customers, and improve the quality of their analysis.
Key Capabilities To Look For In A Managed TEM Software Platform
#1. Automated Invoice Translation and Validation
Any managed TEM software platform worth its salt should be able to convert invoice data into an analysis-friendly format. It should be able to handle all the common telecom invoice media (PDF, EDI, CABs, web-based, etc), as well as the invoice formats of all major telecom carriers. In addition, it should have some built-in data validation capabilities, such as the ability to flag missing invoice data and to reconcile invoice summary charges with detailed line items.
#2. Network Inventory Reconciliation
A second key capability is an automated network inventory reconciliation. This refers to the process of having a complete, centralized view of an enterprise customer’s network elements, services, sites, and hardware. At a minimum, a TEM software platform should:
- Provide a 360° degree view of network elements, services, sites, and hardware
- Reconcile a customer’s invoices against its network inventory, to ensure it is only paying for services it uses
- Ensure that any requested moves, adds, changes or deletions to services are reflected in network inventory and invoices.
Enterprises want actionable data – and they value partners who can provide it to them.
Therefore, when considering software, TEM providers should look for robust reporting and dashboard functionality. This can include:
- Pre-configured reports, visualizations, and dashboards
- The ability to auto-schedule delivery of reports and visualizations
- The ability to integrate with leading BI applications
Some software platforms even give managed TEM providers the ability to offer their customers a customized reporting portal that can be branded as a new revenue-generating service.
#4. Automated Audit
Finally, a TEM’s software platform should help automate standard expense audit activities, such as comparing the pricing of similar services (e.g. MPLS) from different carriers or checking for potential opportunities to aggregate or groom network services. Many companies feel like they are playing “Where’s Waldo” when they are auditing their invoices. We really need to leverage current and evolving automation technology, such as ML and AI, to make this much easier and more scalable.
Not Just Efficiency – Bottom Line Benefits
In short, the right software platform can not only improve the efficiency and productivity of a managed TEM offering, it can help a managed TEM provider grow faster and more profitably and build stronger long-lasting customer relationships.
A Software Platform to Consider …
If your TEM business is considering a software platform to help it grow, you should check out Cloud Age Solution’s telecom SaaS platform, gpxcloud. It reflects all that we have learned from decades of experience and is built on a highly scalable “cloud-native” software architecture.