9 min read
Oct 06, 2016
Telecom Expense Management

A Beginner’s Guide to Telecom Expense Management Software

Telecom expense management is a set of processes to manage and optimize enterprise communication services. Find out if your business needs to invest in a software tool to manage these processes.

Deeksha MalikContent Analyst

"Telecom expense management software" sounds about as exciting as a day at the DMV. But don't be deceived by the dull name, sorting out your telecom expenses could save you some serious cash down the line.

In this article, we'll cover all the basics of telecom expense management (TEM) software: what TEM software is, if it's necessary for your company, what features to look for when buying, and some examples of popular TEM software.

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What is telecom expense management software?

According to Gartner, telecom expense management is a set of processes implemented by a company's IT and finance departments to manage and optimize enterprise communication services. It comprises of both wired and mobile services, including data and voice usage. These solutions are designed to manage the telecom expenses efficiently and make it easier for a company to manage complex telecom setups.

Here's a real-world example: an electrical repair company that sends its 20 electricians out into the field with mobile phones might be losing money every month due to overpaying for data, minutes, or other features. Not only can a TEM solution provide you an overview of your service, it can spot areas that you might be losing money on and make suggestions to fix it.

TEM solutions help manage and reduce telecom expenses, and also they assist in dealing with most aspects of enterprise mobility, including inventory, ordering, and procurement.

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How to tell if your business needs it

There are five questions to ask yourself to find out if your business is ready to invest in a telecom expense management solution. Understanding your current organizational challenges will help you in making an informed decision.

  • Do you feel that the way you have been managing your telecom expenses is not working anymore? Is the process of manually managing these expenses becoming too time consuming? Are you concerned that these expenses aren't being recorded properly right now?

  • Are you struggling to keep a track of voice, data and internet usage across departments in your organization? Are you facing challenges in monitoring and differentiating voice and data used by employees for their business and personal use?

  • Do you have a bulk of invoices that needs to be processed frequently? Do your labor costs and overhead expenses incurred to process these bills actually cost more than the total bill amount?

  • Is your company facing challenges in flexibly managing the telecom needs of the mobile workforce such as wireless expenses, procurement of devices, and rate plan negotiations? Most telecom expense management solutions include features for managed mobility services and mobile device management (MDM).

  • Are you facing difficulty in allocating telecom cost and chargebacks to different departments within your organization?

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What to look for when buying TEM software

Choosing from a never ending list of telecom expense management software and selecting the right vendor amongst those who all seemingly offer similar bells and whistles could be difficult. Before you decide to go for a one-size-fits-all-solution, take a moment and think about some of the following factors:

  • Will you go for an in-house software or choose a cloud-based solution? With cloud deployment, you can store multiple telecom expense related reports and documents in one centralized location.

  • Will you be able to integrate it with other solutions that you are already using in your company? Can it fetch data from one application to another? Telecom expense management solution offers integration with MDM platforms, and with existing company systems such as customer accounting, human resources, and ERP applications.

  • What mobile capabilities should I look for while buying TEM software? Does it have an iOS and Android app? Common features of a mobile telecom management app include bill payment, invoice processing, alerts & notifications, usage & expense reporting, and technical support in some form such as FAQs or a remote help desk.

  • What are the pricing options available? Pricing optimization software is generally available with two pricing models: one-time license and subscription-based.In a one-time license model, users make an upfront, one-time payment for the purchase of the licenses and own them forever; think of it as akin to buying a Blu-Ray disc. In a subscription-based model, users buy software for a specific duration at a set price; think Netflix. Subscription-based pricing is prominent in cloud-based offerings, while on-premise solutions are usually available with one-time licensing model. With an on-premise solution, users also need to purchase software updates and upgrades.

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Some examples of TEM solutions

Now that you've got an overview of TEM, plus some relevant terms and features to look for, it's time to start looking for software. Here are some of the top TEM solutions and their features:

Telecom Expense Management: Telecom Expense Management by Calero is an expense management solution which assists companies in managing fixed-line voice, data, and internet expenses on a single platform. It automates invoice processing, as well as manage the process of filing disputes with network carriers. It also automates and centralizes the management of hardware, software licenses and digital assets.

WinBill: WinBill by TeleManagement Technologies is a solution that manages monthly telecom expenses. It automates the entire telecom expense process, manages telecom budget, tracks recoveries and bill disputes with vendors, and eliminates the scope of late payment fees. The solution automatically imports electronic bills from carriers and service providers. It notifies users when vendors start billing new services and inform them if disconnected lines or services are still being billed.

Clearview: Clearview tracks telecom invoices, contracts, inventory and procurement for voice, data and internet. Clearview spots overcharges and also negotiates with vendors for better deals. The software helps to simplify invoice auditing, processing, and payment through built-in tools. Other tasks which Clearview performs include invoice imaging, trend reporting, and GL feed reporting.

Tangoe TEM: Tangoe's telecom expense management (TEM) solution offers inventory visibility, usage governance, spend management, and operational support for the lifecycle of telecom, mobility, and cloud applications. The solution helps businesses reduce and manage service delivery costs, maintain and improve service levels, audit and validate assets, enforce regulatory and corporate governance, and a lot more.

Users can process invoices and manage contracts and payments using Tangoe's TEM. By using the tool's usage management feature, users can also identify overspending as well as align budgets.

The software comes with procurement tools to carry out and streamline ordering and fulfillment.

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Don't phone it in!

Your next step involves checking out the full list of all telecom expense management software on the GetApp page here.

If you want to go a step further and compare these solutions, browse through our comparison page and compare software based on features, integrations, mobile support, online presence, and pricing.

Whether you've already bought a TEM solution or you are still figuring out which solution to go for, we'd love to hear about your experience. So go ahead and sound off in the comments.

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