Here are the top 3 most prevalent issues facing our clients regarding their new, in-progress or existing Technology Expense Management (TEM) implementations.
1.Inventory Integrity is Challenging for TEM Providers
The biggest complaint our clients make is that their TEM provider does not have a complete and accurate inventory of their services. This complaint is commonplace, because most TEM providers view a billing inventory as the only definitive record to reference through their daily practice, when in fact, there are two in play.
The first should be a client inventory that houses all the historical activity (MACD); and second, the billing inventory that comes from the invoices and vendor reporting. The syncing of these two sources aligns to provide a true accounting of what services the client has and affords easier integration into the order management platform for efficiency gains. Having a variety of data points, allows for transparency at a more granular level that captures additional data points like:
- A-Z Site Locations
- Demarcation Points
- IP Address Ranges
- Underlying Providers
- Equipment Types
- DID ranges
- Access ID/Port ID with speeds (Access/Port/CAR)
- MAC IDs
By using a single billed approach to your inventory typically promoted by the TEM Providers, you won’t have a truly accurate view into your technology expense data. Instead, it is likely that you’ll need to navigate several portals and further aggregate and normalize data to generate comprehensive reports.
2. Over-estimating your Technology Expense Management Provider’s potential to achieve savings
Over-estimating your TEM Provider’s potential to achieve savings can backfire. Many decision-makers forecast savings based on implementing a better Technology Expense Management system alone because, of course, that’s how it was sold to them. However, a lack of understanding around how these savings truly can be achieved, many organizations set themselves up for disappointment.
While it is true that the average TEM implementation can get you to a state where your bills are being paid effectively and timely, they frequently lack the detail for actionable intelligence that leads to immediate savings around cost optimization, correcting billing errors, and the removal of unused services.
Furthermore, assuming a TEM can simply create savings through a reduction in staff, automated audit, or consolidation of vendors, can again, be misleading. In fact, a reduction in staff can have a negative impact, as the system may not be fully set up after the initial implementation. The inventory may not be accurate or only partially built, thereby allowing errors to continue. These sorts of issues put organizational decisions at risk with incomplete or inaccurate details.
3. Is Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Really Free from Human Interaction?
A newer component offered by TEM providers is an automated process that collects line-item detail so that every single charge on your IT/Telecom invoices can be audited. Robotic process automation (RPA) is the application of technology that allows you to configure computer software or a “robot” to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses, and communicating with other digital systems.
Though it reads like this is a technological cure all, like all new technology, it comes with limitations. TEM Providers are continually challenged by the data they receive from each vendor. A robot can capture only the information published and still only if the information is correctly formatted. Some vendors provide large amounts of data, whilst others provide summary or only illustrating cursory data. Compounding issues is the fact that many vendors are continually changing circuit, subaccount, and service id naming conventions that create breaks in automation through the use of RPA and require human intervention to correct. This is a frequent problem faced by many TEM providers today, one they don’t readily broadcast.