For more companies, managing communications expenses can be, in and of itself, an expensive endeavor. In large part this is because such expenses are often not managed in the most efficient way. As a result, money is lost both in time/resources to manually process invoices, and optimal savings are not achieved for contracts.
Wireless management — keeping track of mobile devices and services — is a relatively new addition to the already often cumbersome process of tracking communications expenses. As such, even companies that have landline communications expenses under control are still figuring out the best way to optimize their wireless costs.
The good news is that wireless management has emerged as a specialty among some telecom expense management (TEM) firms. These firms have done the legwork around best practices for managing wireless spend, and can help out companies that are struggling with this task.
To find out more about what’s currently going in the field of wireless management, TMCnet caught up with Pankaj Gupta, founding president and CEO at Amtel (News
). Gupta shared his insights about wireless management and how it fits into the broader TEM field.
TMCnet: How would you define ‘wireless management’?
I define wireless management as a suite of services that includes full service procurement management, hierarchical order management, inventory, and invoice management of wireless services at an enterprise using Amtel’s award-winning TIMSTM
TMCnet: How does wireless management stand apart from the broader field of telecom expense management?
PG: Wireless is the most dynamic piece of the telecom expense management pie. Landline telecom management is very static; things don’t change very often. Wireless services, in the other hand, are constantly changing at enterprises. New activations occur, along with upgrades, plan changes, disconnects and suspensions. Whenever a change occurs, it must be correlated on the billing side. Wireless management also involves policies and compliance issues that don’t apply to landline telephony.
TMCnet: In what ways has wireless management changed in the past 3-5 years?
PG: It has changed a lot. Companies have come to realize the productivity gains associated with wireless services, and the number of employees with company-provided wireless phones is increasing exponentially.
TMCnet: How have technology developments improved the way wireless management solutions are designed, delivered and used?
Wireless management has become fully automated — across procurement, order workflow, inventory, contracts, GL allocations. System for wireless management can automatically perform policy management adherence. All these capabilities are available through software-as-a-service (SaaS (News
)) delivery via a Web interface. This means enterprises do not need to invest in hardware or software for wireless management.
TMCnet: What advice would you offer an enterprise that’s in the process of selecting a wireless management solution?
PG: First, make sure you select a platform that offers the flexibility to be launched companywide and that it allows manager level access for ordering and charge management.
Also, make sure the solution you pick includes a knowledge base of all carrier plans and devices that is constantly updated with new data. Many platforms in the market have been adapted from landline solutions and therefore lack the features required for successful wireless management deployment.
TMCnet: What is TIMSTM and why did Amtel create this solution?
PG: TIMS is a SaaS-based landline and mobile services management platform. Amtel clients don't have to buy any hardware, software licenses, or software maintenance plans. This platform was designed from the ground up for wireline and wireless integration. Our methodologies allow each client to have their own customized application and secure database.
TIMS provides advanced procurement management. The platform performs end-to-end telecom lifecycle management. The advanced procurement module allows organizations to centralize procurement and enable self service to end users. Orders are entered based on corporate policies and are electronically approved by the user's manager and then forwarded to the vendor with appropriate codes. This leads to complete visibility and tracking of orders and charges. Advanced procurement is available for mobile services, voice lines, data circuits, calling cards, conferencing (audio, video, Web), pagers, Internet broadband and more.
TIMS provides automated inventory and invoice management. The inventory module stores all key components of telecom services (locations, service plans, speeds, etc.). It is automatically updated from the orders module. Invoices are brought into the system electronically, send to departmental heads for spend approval, electronically audited against orders and contracts before splitting up into GL codes for cost allocation to accounts payable. Our professional services team opens billing tickets with the vendors for any discrepancy.
provides mobile policy management. One of the unique features of the TIMSTM
platform is the comprehensive wireless policy management capabilities. Our staff helps organizations set up groups based on job profile/location/hierarchy, design procurement bundles of device and plans; and establish spend limits based on policy templates for voice, data, text, roaming
, and international usage. The system runs policy audits against multiple parameters and sends monthly reports to managers, flagging constant outliers of the corporate wireless policy.
TIMSTM provides hierarchical company-wide deployment. Each Amtel client gets unlimited licensing for all users of the organization. This allows deployment of applications company-wide. Managers can monitor the telecom spend for their group. Users can see their own orders, inventory and usage. The system is designed with hierarchical privileges so that, for example, CxOs or IT administrators can see company-wide information but end users see only their portion of telecom services. This greatly helps in bringing spend responsibility in the organization.
TIMSTM provides multi-currency and multi vendor support. It ties together all the information of distinct telecom vendors into one platform. The system is designed to route orders to sub group teams within the vendors for reliable order management. organizations can track foreign invoices. The system is designed to set up different currencies for normalized reporting view and more.
TMCnet: Can you provide a few real-world examples of how Amtel’s TIMSTM solution is helping enterprises achieve success with their wireless management initiatives?
PG: One example is a large manufacturing company that spends $11 million per year on wireless expenses. Amtel helped this company achieve 12 percent savings by using services optimization. The company obtained 200 hours per month savings on IT time for procurement/order management, 160 hours per month savings for invoice processing and cost allocation, 6 percent savings for invoice audit, 5 percent savings through contract negotiations, 2.5 percent savings in eliminated waste/fraud, and 0.1 percent savings on late fees. Overall, the return on investment (ROI) for the company, thanks to Amtel, was 350 percent.
In another example, a utility corporation that spends $2 million per years on wireless expenses achieved 14 percent savings by using services optimization from Amtel. The company saved 100 hours per month on procurement/order management, 100 hours per month on invoice processing/cost allocation, 5 percent savings through invoice audit, 5 percent savings through contract negotiations, 3 percent savings in spend accountability, and 0.2 percent savings on late fees. Overall, this company’s ROI was 300 percent.
TMCnet: Looking ahead 3-5 years, what do you see in store for wireless management?
PG: I predict a very rapidly growing market segment for wireless management was new devices, plans and applications are adopted by more and more companies.
TMCnet: What else should people know about wireless management in general and TIMS specifically?
PG: TIMSTM was designed completely by Amtel engineers. The company Amtel has grown organically during the past seven years, without investor funding. We are very stable financially and work in the best interests of our clients.
To learn more about the mobile side of TEM, please visit the Wireless Management channel on TMCnet.com, brought to you by Amtel.
Mae Kowalke is senior editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae’s articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.