What Emptoris argues is needed even for basic telecom expense management is a platform to support all the requirements and lifecycle sub-categories (e.g., wireless, wire line, data, etc.) Any solution that is to create lasting savings and impact must incorporate domain-specific requirements including ordering, provisioning, changes, asset management invoice loading/processing, auditing, dispute management and mobile lifecycle management capabilities. To automate auditing and compliance, platforms should have tie-ins back to vendor billing systems and the ability to dynamically generate charge-backs without manual reconciliation efforts.
Emptoris suggests that more advanced telecom expense management capabilities may include the following features:
- The ability to conduct scenario planning and "what if" analysis to understand the impact of new services and potential business decisions (for example, the ramping up of voice over IP (VOIP) capabilities to replace existing infrastructure)
- Network route visualization and connection of data and physical supply chains including the cost information associated with each network route
- A unified mobile and wireline expense management solution based on a single, integrated platform
- Real-time mobile expense management where software agents on employee devices monitor, report and control roaming, text, data or voice usage. With such a systems- and device-centric approach, alerts can be automatically sent to employees or the company when usage thresholds are met and actions can proactively be taken to, for example, change the mobile rate plan of a roaming individual to reduce costs
As you can probably tell, most of these capabilities are highly domain specific to telecom (which is why only telecom expense management (TEM) vendors have them today). But how can existing e-sourcing, spend analysis, contract management, supplier performance management, supplier information management and related solutions fit into the telecom category equation as well? And what benefits will companies gain from potentially combining both category specific and generic process-oriented platforms? Moreover, what do other TEM vendors believe is necessary to achieve results in the telecom arena? Stay tuned.
- Jason Busch