Digital communications seem very tidy. Nearly every type of collaborative solution can be accessed through a pocket-sized smartphone. A single login opens up platforms across the business. Employees can share documents with coworkers and send notes to customers from one screen.
But behind the scenes, enterprise technology can be a real mess. Old copper hardware lurks in data closets. Subscriptions for redundant and overlapping apps sit abandoned as users zero in on their favorite few. Employees have desk phones, mobile phones, tablets, or laptops, and often all four, even if they don’t ask for them. And software invoices flow through individual departments that either quietly expend them or forward them to an accounting group that’s too busy to notice that a single platform generates multiple bills each month.As the number of solutions continues to grow, the need for system consolidation and centralized visibility into all of this spend is also increasing. By consolidating their services and hardware through a unified expense management solution, your enterprise can gain a comprehensive view of where your dollars are going. You’ll have the accurate and complete data you need to manage contracts, reduce SaaS spend, optimize your technology, and make informed decisions about future digital transformation strategies and actions.
One component to consider is service and application consolidation. You may be paying for subscriptions to multiple video conferencing apps, but unless you can inventory and analyze those licenses, you can’t optimize their usage or reclaim them for use elsewhere. It’s also likely that some employees spun up individual subscriptions in the early days of remote work. Without visibility, you don’t have any way to find one-off licenses and wrap them into your enterprise-level contract for better pricing. Even more worrying is the lack of control you have over how, when, and where any rogue communication apps are used. If you’re subject to regulatory or governance oversight, you may be in violation of data retention or other rules without even knowing it.
Then there’s hardware consolidation. Managing inventory becomes a huge hurdle when procurement happens across multiple sources or employees leverage self-service portals that don’t link to a consolidated asset tracking system. Everything from determining the optimal device refresh cycle to maximizing your asset recovery and e-waste recycling efforts to negotiating the best price for new hardware hinges on a detailed understanding of your inventory.
- How many devices are in use in each department?
- What type of hardware do different job roles leverage?
- What’s the average age of the different kinds of hardware your business uses?
For example, organizations that lack visibility are finding themselves in a bind as carriers sunset their copper services. Tier 1 and 2 providers have already boosted their copper pricing significantly to compensate for end-of-life issues and push customers toward newer technologies. Unfortunately, many enterprises didn’t realize they still had copper lines powering functions such as elevator phones and fire alarm panels. Because they didn’t have the mechanisms in place to proactively develop a migration plan, these businesses risk painfully high rates that will continue to skyrocket as deregulation takes effect later this year. A centralized view of services, consumption, and spend could have saved a lot of money and avoided the frantic scramble to find alternatives.
Finally, vendor consolidation stretches across everything. Considering the number of SaaS apps that are likely in play within your business, coupled with the need for hardware to facilitate access to those platforms, you could have dozens or even hundreds of vendors at any one time. Consolidating the management of your vendor accounts doesn’t necessarily mean reducing how many providers you have—instead, a unified expense management solution delivers much-needed visibility across your vendor base by bringing your spend data, contract details, consumption histories, and other information into a single pane of glass.
Something as seemingly simple as negotiating a new contract with an existing vendor becomes a monumental hurdle if you don’t know your own patterns.
- How much are you spending now?
- What does your footprint look like?
- How many users do you have?
- What are your plans for growth or expansion?
Good visibility empowers you to negotiate with your vendors from a position of strength.
How are companies managing their services and hardware now?Some organizations still use spreadsheets to track apps and inventory. Unfortunately, this approach creates a laundry list of challenges. If something breaks, it’s not a quick fix. Plus, spreadsheets are ridiculously easy to delete, they’re notoriously inaccurate, and updating them is a time-sucking chore. Even those enterprises with one organization managing their wire line and another managing their wireless still face difficulties trying to vet information coming out of multiple reports and data repositories.
A unified expense management solution helps you consolidate your software, hardware, and related vendor spend data. This single pane of glass eliminates the need to hunt down reports from multiple systems and ensures you can validate the accuracy of your data. You’ll have visibility into what you’re paying for, your consumption patterns, and your opportunities to optimize your usage and get more value for every dollar.