Telecommunications spending in the United States alone is over $580 billion, according to Statista. These expenses go beyond business phone systems, covering mobile data plans, cloud-based conferencing apps, unified communications platforms, video chat and more. Finding the right telecom expense management (TEM) vendor to manage these costs requires the understanding of industry best practices while determining relevant metrics for the RFP(request for proposal).
What is the organization’s process methodology? If there is a preferred methodology, such as lean Six Sigma, decision makers need to understand how prospective vendors approach management to avoid mismatches that can cause delays in deployment, communication problems, and long-term frustration.
Does the vendor offer full life cycle solutions for voice, data and mobile? Telecom expenses encompass voice, data and mobile, so using a vendor capable of handling the full life cycle ensures a streamlined process and an end-to-end solution.
How long has the TEM vendor been in business? A vendor who has experience handling a wide range of enterprise telecommunications provides businesses with more real-world expertise, which is particularly helpful with complex accounts and specialized requirements.
What is the level of spend under management? Businesses should look for a vendor that has experience with clients involving a similar level of spend. For example, an enterprise level business shouldn’t pursue a vendor who has only worked with small businesses and have the same expectations they would with a seasoned provider.
What is the volume and type of mobile devices under management? A company should look for a TEM service with expertise dealing with a similar device volume and type. This question is critical for companies reliant on mobile devices for remote teams and day-to-day business operations.
How many and what type of clients does the vendor have? Entrusting a new vendor with the company’s budget is a risk many businesses aren’t willing to take. Basing decisions on the amount of time the vendor has been in business doesn’t give the full story. It is important to consider the industry type and size of the vendor’s clients to determine whether their experience is relevant.
What kind of analytics does the vendor provide? Determine whether the vendor has an analytics backend available or if they compile and send reports with the data. A company should get its telecom expense information analyzed for budget and business intelligence purposes. Some benefits to this analysis include understanding overall telecom spending, spending categories and spending trends.
What reporting formats does the TEM service offer? This ensures the data is reported in a format that a business can use. If the business uses software that can’t open the formats used in the report, the company has to acquire additional software, increasing the service’s cost.
What is the average invoice processing time? Speedy processing helps reduce late fees and the risk of paying inaccurate invoices over a long period. It also assists with the vendor payment consolidation process, increases adaptability and helps with exploring new options if the current expenses don’t fit the company’s needs.
How often do audits for billing errors occur? Telecommunications bills may include errors such as charging inaccurate amounts for services or charging for services not included in the contract. Frequent auditing identifies problems before they cost the business a significant amount of money.
Choosing the right TEM vendor for a company requires asking the right questions. When the vendor understands exactly what a business expects in its proposal, both the company and the vendor begin their relationship on the same page.