Many multi-national enterprises are choosing to manage Telecom Expense Management (TEM) on a global scale due to the benefits that come with a centralized approach. Done correctly, organizations can gain a holistic view into their communications, breaking down insights and data between global, regional, country and division categories. A central model can help simplify and consolidate IT management. Greater savings can be achieved through economies of scale by optimizing aggregated costs to gain leverage with carriers and vendors. Adherence to standard processes and policies across the globe also helps security and prevent exploits of local weaknesses.
The benefits and opportunities are well worth pursuing, yet they come at the cost of overcoming challenges in an increasingly complex business environment. Understanding potential challenges early within the process can go a long way to ensuring a successful TEM program. In this blog, we will discuss common difficulties enterprises face when considering a global TEM approach and the lessons learned from two organizations that have been down this path and the types of questions to ask before starting your journey.
Difficulties in Going Global
When considering a global approach to managing TEM, an organization must contend with these common challenges.
- Decentralization – It can be difficult to get internal buy-in for a global approach in organizations spread across multiple business units in different countries. Dealing with multiple organizational models and multiple business entities can be both confusing and difficult for all stakeholders to understand.
- Complex business environment – Managing TEM on a global scale means managing multiple carriers, varying taxes and payment rules, multiple currencies, multiple languages, local business cultures, logistical regulations around device purchases and disposal that vary on a per-country basis and more. Telecom is governed primarily by national authorities. Even in a globalized world, the diversity of cultures and legal frameworks mean operational imperatives will vary according to the local context.
- Deciding how to realize economies of scale – Your organization will need to decide whether it will manage the complexities of a global TEM program internally, externally or through a hybrid approach. If you manage externally or through a hybrid approach, will you utilize multiple local vendors, or migrate to a single global vendor?
Lessons Learned from Experienced Enterprises
In order to overcome the difficulties in going global with your TEM program, understanding the experiences and lessons learned from other organizations similar to yours can go a long way.
- Cost Savings Are Real (And Demonstrating ROI Can Achieve Buy-In) – For headquarters, hard dollar cost savings in a TEM program may be under 10% if the headquarters is already well managed. But when instituting a global program, customers cite much stronger ROI from the regional offices that have been left to manage their own devices. These offices can offer cost-saving opportunities closer to the 30% range, plus offer process improvements that make centralizing the management of the full communications lifecycle an even greater ROI opportunity. Being able to demonstrate the ROI is a great way to get buy-in from multiple stakeholders in decentralized organizations.
- Centralizing Your Asset Database – Organizations that set off to manage all their inventory on a global scale quickly realize that creating their central asset database is not only critical but also one of the biggest challenges. Regional offices often don’t have accurate, up-to-date records, so be prepared to help support this process. Having an accurate inventory and asset database is key to gaining control, visibility and, ultimately, cost savings.
- Working with Regional Offices – When it comes to managing data, some locations will openly share their data, while others may not be as willing. While this can seem frustrating, regional office employees may be concerned about job security, or they simply may not have the data because it’s never been properly managed. Therefore, building a solid relationship with each regional office leader is the key to providing the support they need to help them get the most relevant information.
The Bottom Line
Whether you choose to undertake a global TEM program internally, work with a vendor or work with multiple vendors, there are a number of questions you should be prepared to ask yourself or your potential vendor. We understand that institutionalizing a global TEM program can be overwhelming, but with the right expertise and guidance, your organization can reap the benefits while avoiding the regulatory traps, potential penalties, and other challenges.
Want More? Hear from Adobe and Sanofi, two organizations that have been down this path as they share the lessons learned during their journey. Watch the panel discussion now.