What Is Telecom Expense Management? Here's Why It's Important
With the rising costs of mobile, internet, and other critical business technology services, telecom expenses can easily spiral out of control. Spending on telecommunications services is predicted to reach $1,595 billion globally in 2024,1 so finding ways to control costs now can help your organization get the most value out of your IT investments.
TEM (telecom expense management) is the practice of reducing unnecessary spending through auditing, inventory tracking, and optimization. By managing technology expenses, companies can save substantially on their budgets – and even streamline IT and telecom assets. Read on to learn more about the benefits of telecom expense management and how working with an experienced TEM provider can help you save money.
History of Telecom Expense Management
Telecom expense management originated as "bill auditing" in the 1980s. With the breakup of AT&T in 1984, the telecom market became more complex and competitive. Businesses needed help navigating contracts across vendors and optimizing their overall telecom spending, and they turned to outsourced experts to audit their telecom bills, consolidate services, negotiate better rates, and manage inventory.
From Manual to Automated: The Evolution of TEM
The internet boom of the 1990s introduced more telecom complexity with more service options for data transmission, networking, and IP telephony. Bill auditors became essential to controlling costs across fixed voice, mobile, conferencing, and data services. Solutions evolved from manual bill auditing to automated software systems for invoice processing, cost allocation, asset management, and usage optimization.
Adapting to the Cloud Age
Bill auditing companies began calling themselves "telecom expense management" providers in the 2000s. As wireless, cloud, and unified communications gain more traction, TEM providers have adapted by managing real-time usage and expenses across the various platforms and devices used within an enterprise.
What Are the Benefits of TEM Services?
TEM services provide many valuable benefits to multi-location enterprises and small businesses alike. Some of the biggest benefits of technology expense management include:
Businesses lose as much as 5% of revenue to leakage,2 and billing errors are a major contributor. TEM services help reduce unnecessary expenses by identifying and correcting errors, negotiating better rates, optimizing service plans, eliminating unused services, and more.
Detailed reporting provides visibility into telecom usage and costs across your various departments, users, locations, and service types so you can make data-driven decisions.
TEM services can help monitor assets from acquisition and deployment to the day they become obsolete, resulting in more effective and accurate inventory management.
Automation, contract consolidation, and IT integration streamline the management of your telecom assets and expenses, enabling your in-house teams to focus on other critical tasks.
TEM solutions can help your business gain actionable insights into optimizing your assets for the present – and how to meet technology goals in the future.
Who Should Use TEM Services?
Any organization supporting a large, distributed IT environment needs the benefits of technology expense management solutions. With more complex networks, devices, and telecom services in use, errors and inefficiencies often creep in and drive costs higher. That's why manually managing telecom expenses is no longer practical or cost-effective.
Processing thousands of telecom invoices, license agreements, asset records, and usage reports across an enterprise is extremely challenging without automation and oversight. As telecom costs rise, TEM provides the visibility, control, and optimization needed to rein in expenses.
Ultimately, any business can benefit from the expense reductions and efficiency gains of proper telecom management.
How Can Working With a TEM Provider Help?
Partnering with an expert TEM vendor offers several advantages over managing your telecom in-house, including:
TEM providers employ dedicated experts focused on telecom management. They stay up-to-date on the latest technologies, service offerings, regulatory changes, and vendor policies and benchmark best practices across their client base to identify opportunities for improvement. In-house teams often lack the time for this continual learning.
Working with a TEM partner can reduce the burden on your internal IT staff, freeing them from the time-consuming tasks of consolidating and auditing invoices, monitoring services, resolving disputes, and more. And because providers can monitor telecom usage, licensing, and expenses in real-time, your IT teams can focus on meeting core initiatives rather than having to analyze volumes of telecom data.
Access to Tools
Without a TEM partner, you'll likely have to invest in software, systems, and infrastructure to perform ongoing technology expense management. Providers offer usage management platforms, help desk capabilities, and billing tools, eliminating the need to maintain these TEM-specific tools in-house.
As a third party, your TEM provider can take an unbiased look at your telecom environment to identify savings and improvements. If you’re using services you don’t need, your provider can help find them all and make recommendations for better communication solutions.
The telecom landscape changes constantly, and keeping up can be a challenge. TEM providers continually monitor the environment and identify opportunities to adjust service plans, eliminate unused subscriptions, and right-size offerings to fit your changing needs without overspending.
Advantages of Outsourcing TEM Services
Outsourcing your technology expense management to a TEM provider offers many advantages over hiring an in-house team or a developer to build a telecommunications platform. The right TEM provider can help you save money by identifying and correcting issues like billing errors and duplicate services and can also streamline the process of recovering credits from overpayments on accounts across your IT environment.
Outsourced TEM can also help you boost productivity by freeing up internal resources. No longer will your staff be consumed by daily telecom details and disputes – they can focus on initiatives that move your business forward instead. TEM providers also supply insightful reports and recommendations based on your usage trends so your in-house teams can better forecast future telecom costs and make strategic plans accordingly. Rather than playing catch up, you can confidently allocate budgets aligned with your changing telecom needs.
Save More With TailWind’s Telecom Expense Management Services
Telecom expense management is essential for organizations looking to optimize their technology budgets. With costs rising across all areas of IT and telecommunications, taking a strategic approach to managing your expenses is critical.
If you're struggling to manage multiple technology carriers and services across your multi-location enterprise, TailWind can help you start your TEM journey with a telecom audit. No matter how many locations or invoices you deal with day-to-day, we'll find them all and give you visibility into each branch for a better understanding of what you’re spending – and where you can save.
Our proven three-step process begins with understanding your needs, conducting a thorough evaluation of your expenses, and executing optimization recommendations that help you maximize savings. Ready to get started? Contact TailWind today to schedule your telecom audit.