What Is Telecom Expense Management?

How can TEM benefit your organization?

Telecom Expense Management covers a wide variety of services – voice circuits, phone systems, internet services and corresponding maintenance agreements and service contracts.

To keep telecom-related expenditures under control your accounting system must be tracking monthly billing, service agreements, contracts, and even data consumption to ensure the client and service provider meet minimum performance and revenue requirements. Without having a consistent monitoring system in place performance and finances can be adversely affected.

Here’s a specific example where consistent monitoring pays off for the client. Perhaps you pay AT&T for internet service. The service agreement will include minimum performance standards the carrier must achieve. If it is not working to this standard (service level agreement – SLA) then the TEM’s job is to point that out and seek appropriate credits on behalf of the client.

Depending on the size of the company (ie. Fortune 500) there may be a telecom manager in charge of telecom assets. However, in many enterprises, there are no dedicated telecom managers.

In most cases, TEM may be left up to anybody from an accountant to an operational manager or IT staffer to cover. However, given their core responsibilities, TEM duties can often ‘fall between the cracks’ when left to these managers. It’s not their fault. Effective TEM work takes time, consistency, and a dedicated system of checks and balances.

Assuming middle managers can dedicate any time they often lack the necessary tools for the job. Having access to an online customer portal is a good place to start but many of the customer-facing carrier web portals are not sufficient. These are often basic tools and don’t provide enough data for the customer to retrieve all the necessary information.

These are just a few of the limitations that should compel businesses to seek an outside TEM agency for help. TEM agencies bring the necessary tools, knowledge, and experience to deal with the unique contracts, terms, and loopholes found in many telecom services.

What is WEM?

Wireless Expense Management – brings similar challenges as TEM but specifically covers wireless and mobile-related services. The challenges and potential saving opportunities can be substantial. It’s not unusual to lower mobile costs by 30% or
more in larger accounts (100 or more devices). The support requirements; however, can be even more daunting than wireline service. Why? Mobile service agreements are more fluid with shorter terms and more complicated discount structures.

In our experience in most organizations, a company’s wireless activity oftentimes is going to be more complex and more active than the more traditional type of telecom services. If, for example, everybody in your organization has a mobile device then there are simply more billing items to account for than traditional telecom service assets. You purchase an internet solution for the corporate office. The solution may be tagged with a single account number and corresponding contract. A corporate mobile service account, on the other hand, may have user accounts divided among many sub-accounts with hundreds of devices. Suddenly, billing management becomes much more complex. And we’re only describing the billing challenges.

Did we mention equipment management? If you have 100 corporate devices for your users (phones, tablets, etc) something is bound to break, change or need updating. When a smartphone breaks it needs to be fixed or returned. Someone has to account for the device. It gets complicated very quickly. This is why we find that most companies with a similar size and scope of wireless devices should consider outsourcing that management to a reliable partner like RAM. The time and resources required is considerable. In most cases, we can demonstrate a clear ROI for our solutions.

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