Telecom Expense Management Trends Include Large Businesses Opting for TEM Providers
February 22, 2013
By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor
There are some key and important trends being seen in telecom expense management (TEM), which are highlighted in a report from the Gartner (News - Alert). Among these are more multinational companies opting for using a TEM provider. TEM services offer businesses more efficient procurement and support, and improved cost management.
To better understand TEM, it basically includes processes conducted by IT and finance staffs involving the ordering, provisioning and supporting of corporate communications services. These include mobile and fixed technology. Businesses often do not have their own staff to manage telecom services and devices – and move to outsourcing of these services. Large multinational businesses are among the most likely to be seen moving in this direction. They often look to third-party service providers.
Gartner analysts Eric Goodness and Phillip Redman conclude in the report that using a TEM provider is an economical way to manage spending on telecom services. TEM providers also manage the diversity of tech devices given the increasing popularity of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) to work.
TEM includes a variety of offerings. These include sourcing management to negotiate prices, terms and conditions for communications services, ordering and provisioning to support the commissioning and deployment of network services and mobile assets, inventory management, invoice and contract management, usage management to identify cost objectives and usage permissions, dispute management, reporting and business intelligence to improve financial forecasts and plans and expense management for mobile phones and mobile data-enabled tablets.
Among the companies highlighted in the sector by Gartner was IBM (News - Alert). For example, IBM Emptoris is a leader in the sector. Emptoris, a provider of strategic supply, category spend and contract management solutions, is part of IBM following a 2012 acquisition. IBM Emptoris improves procurement through better performance, higher savings, lower risks and improved compliance. It is also noteworthy that in 2011 Emptoris acquired Rivermine (News - Alert), a TEM company, which had been identified as a sector leader in Gartner’s prior report.
Also, IBM has a global TEM services business in its Global Technology Services (GTS) unit. The GTS TEM business supports solutions from different vendors such as Emptoris/Rivermine and Tangoe (News - Alert).
Not all is positive about the company. In its review of IBM, Gartner says IBM “needs to do more to reconcile its various TEM offerings.” It appears IBM is now working on that recommendation.
In addition, Gartner said IBM's GTS is recommended for customers who need a “technology-neutral, fully managed service approach, irrespective of region, service environment and amount of spending.” Also, IBM's SWG is recommended for “TEM managed services and process outsourcing solutions, irrespective of region, service environment and amount of spending,” Gartner said.
IBM's SWG and GTS units are recommended for their project and program management skills for large, multinational TEM projects, Gartner said. These relate to integration and management of TEM software and solutions. In addition, IBM's SWG fits the needs of customers wanting to integrate TEM financial management with traditional spending management (such as what is offered by Emptoris). SWG, too, got strong scores for the ordering of telecom services, optimization of service contracts and payment of invoices.
Also, it was pointed out that prices charged by IBM's GTS unit are often higher than those of its competitors. IBM, Gartner adds, should release an integrated value proposition – after the IBM acquisition of Emptoris. IBM’s GTS and SWG units are ranked in the bottom half of Magic Quadrant participants for user satisfaction related to some 15 service categories, Gartner adds. The report says that IBM's GTS, too, needs to “improve its process for auditing monthly invoices for fixed telecommunications, timeliness of inventory building and alignment with HR systems.”
Edited by Rachel Ramsey