When firms think about analyzing their data, they may focus on the volume of data – the thousands of rows of spreadsheets and other information that needs to be processed. Or they may be concerned about the variety of invoice data that needs to be standardized, a challenge we discuss in a separate blog post. But there is another dimension of data analysis companies need to prioritize. Velocity.
One reason is just good business practice. In a recent letter to Amazon shareholders, Jeff Bezos emphasized how “speed matters in business” and focused on the importance of “high-velocity decision making.” Bezos suggested, “Most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70% of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90%, in most cases, you’re probably being slow.”
But the “faster-is-better” argument is especially critical in the world of telecom expense management. In fact, we would argue once you have gotten your customers’ data into usable condition, the key objective should be to analyze it as quickly as possible.
The reason is simple. Telecom expense management and auditing firms are commonly paid when they identify savings and cost reductions. The longer it takes for them to find these savings, the less profitable the client engagement, and the less time they have to support other customers. One way to get faster is to take the “human” approach. In other words, hire more people to do the data analysis, or find people with the expertise and experience that allows them to “know where to look” for potential savings. Many TEM providers and consultants rely on this approach, even though it can get expensive and is hard to scale as they grow.
Automation Comes to Telecom Expense Management
Fortunately, data analysis automation technology has evolved, and companies do not need to use such a manually intensive approach.
Cloud Age Solution’s gpxcloud software platform is an example of this technology in action. It automates some all-important data reconciliation tasks, such as comparing line-item detail with summary charges, checking for missing elements, comparing invoice items to a customer’s actual inventory of services, and extensive validation on GL coding.
It is also possible to set up automated configurable audits. With this capability, users can define an audit based on one or more charge descriptions and rates and define which provider and accounts to run the audit. These configurable audits are run every time an invoice is loaded, and they can be run manually if needed. For example, you can configure an audit to check all of the rates on your Verizon MPLS circuits automatically.
Faster Data Analysis = Business Advantage
In short, using automation is the most efficient and cost-effective way for managed TEMs, auditors, and consultants to improve their data analysis velocity. It not only leads to faster recommendations – it leads to faster implementation of savings through, for example, initiating and closing disputes with carriers. And it’s a highly visible way for TEMs to stand out from the competition – after all, customers always want the partner that can win the race to produce expense reduction.
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