Making a Good Telecom Expense Management Program Great!

Leo Berz

The 2013 AOTMP conference was held last week in Orlando, Florida. The highlight was the Industry Excellence Awards that recognizes companies for outstanding performance in telecommunications management. The competition was fierce, but I am happy to share that Ecova’s client, GameStop, was this year’s winner in the Fixed & Mobile Business category. Last year, Ecova celebrated 24 Hour Fitness’ recognition for the Environment Optimization Excellence Award.

Most telecommunication professionals have been involved in a structured Telecom Expense Management(TEM) program at some point during their careers with varying degrees of success, so it begs the question “why are some TEM initiatives more successful than others?” As a longtime telecommunications professional myself, the AOTMP conference inspired me to explore what makes a good TEM program GREAT!

I have been pondering this question for a while, and have come to the conclusion that it’s not the size of the company, the industry sector, or even the TEM program or provider a company uses (as long as it is a reputable one)―the difference can be attributed to five keys areas that any company can adopt.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll write about each of these areas separately, but wanted to start off with a quick overview so that you can see them together in context:
1. WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE
Einstein is often quoted as saying that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If you don’t have a TEM program in place today, you need to implement one and change your processes to work in concert with the platform or provider you selected. If you have a program in place, you need to continually change to refine the program and adapt it to changing business needs and the telecom environment.
2. COMMITMENT WITHIN THE ENTERPRISE
Managing complex telecom networks and controlling expenses requires multiple departments to work as a team towards a common goal. If your TEM program ‘belongs’ strictly to one department, such as finance or IT, you will not get the same results than if it was managed by a cross functional department, such as the Process Improvement or Cost Management departments, with the clout to initiate change.
3. BIG PICTURE, LONG-TERM THINKING
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are telecom networks. It takes time to develop, implement, and continually improve on a great TEM program. True success requires a holistic approach that integrates all aspects of telecom management, not just invoice processing and auditing functions, for example. Strategic Sourcing and Service Order Management needs to part of the solution as well (more to come on this later).
4. TREAT YOUR TELECOM NETWORK AS A BUSINESS ENABLER, NOT JUST AN EXPENSE
Telecom infrastructure and network services have always been a considerable expense. However, with the maturity of Unified Communications and IP-based services, companies have the ability to leverage their investments to help drive business objectives in ways never before possible.
5. PARTNERING WITH A TRUSTED ADVISOR
While selecting the correct TEM provider is important, developing a true partnership with your provider is critical. A company that hires a TEM provider and then take a hands-off approach often limits its overall ROI; whereas a company that leverages its partnership will benefit from a much higher ROI and as a result, will develop a best-in-class program benefiting from the collective knowledge of other companies.
I look forward to sharing additional thoughts with you on telecom expense management. In the meantime, learn how Ecova can help you navigate the ever-changing telecom environment.

 

Related resources:
Telecom Reverse Auctions and Your Procurement Tool Box
Internet Protocol: It’s a Game Changer in Telecommunications
To Infinity and Beyond: The Changing Telecom Environment

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