By Larry Foster
Last week, I attended the AOTMP annual conference. AOTMP is a well-recognized international brand, and as the TEM industry has transformed and expanded in scope, so have the impactful strategic discussions and educational seminars offered at this event. Over the last several years, the PBX market has continued to experience ~10% annual compression, while cloud services are experiencing 15% compounded annual growth (CAGR). The best practices of Telecommunications Expense Management (TEM) are now helping organizations realize the strategic benefits of emerging cloud services. Throughout the steady stream of disruption continually occurring in the telecommunications industry due to mergers, acquisitions, and changing technologies, AOTMP has been stalwart in their commitment to education about best practices and the collegial sharing of use cases from which organizations can learn and exploit.
When I first started attending AOTMP’s events over a decade ago, technologies and communication-enabled services such as Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) were emerging concepts far from mainstream adoption. Leading UCaaS vendors like Microsoft and Amazon weren’t in the telecommunications business. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and YouTube were considered entertainment and not even on the radar for businesses. And communication-enabled platform businesses like Airbnb, Yelp, Lyft and Uber had not been invented yet. The mainstream adoption of UCaaS is just one of many massive changes in communication technologies over the past decade.
Communication technologies provide the underpinning innovations to Communication Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS), which has enabled the explosion of communication-enabled business solutions tailored to meet specific requirements of all types. Communication technology is now embedded into every leading cloud-enabled CRM, ERP, and ITSM solution and social media platform. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and embedded Business Intelligence (BI) technologies are transforming the strategic impact of communication-enabled services and providing new insights that organizations can glean from their virtualized global workforce. Digital services now integrated into every mobile device allow employees to work unimpeded anywhere and at any time.
This progressive transformation has completely changed the makeup of the modern workforce. Traditional luxuries previously only available in a physical brick-and-mortar office have been surpassed by 24x7x365 seamless and ubiquitous secure network access. Ten years ago, the focus of the annual AOTMP conference centered around educating attendees on the conventional concepts of Telecommunications Expense Management (TEM). Now, cloud services are rapidly transforming the heritage value concept of TEM from “analyzing invoiced expenses in arrears” to “analyzing pay-as-you-go services in real time to optimize investments in cloud services and prevent unwanted costs and security breaches.” This transformation is often catching organizations who don’t regard telecommunications as a strategic asset completely off guard. These organizations are realizing that the lack of unified insight into all of their cloud-enabled virtualized inventory can result not only in substantial financial liabilities but also make them vulnerable to unknown security liabilities. Congress’s recent focus on data security with social media companies like Facebook and Google will inevitably lead to the United States adopting some fundamental principles derived from the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which becomes law on May 25, 2018. The GDPR was addressed in a handful of sessions at the AOTMP conference and is just one example of the non-traditional telecommunication topics presented during the AOTMP conference.
Organizations that have embraced the principles of TEM and are leveraging tools to automate management of their communication lifecycle and ever-growing spectrum of cloud services are the best positioned to benefit from the constant change in modern telecom. To learn more about the changes in the TEM industry as it reorganizes around managing and optimizing cloud services, download our whitepaper “Applying TEM Best Practices to Optimize Your Cloud Investments.”