Most technology expense management (TEM) tools have the same basic features. They digitize technology invoices, parse data from invoices, automate invoice verification and expense allocation, transmit processed invoice data to client accounting systems, and store invoices electronically.
What makes Technology Expense Optimization (TEO) different from traditional TEM are six key capabilities; dynamic inventory management, service level invoice auditing, embedded exception resolution tools, automated multi-level invoice allocation, proactive contracts management, and custom workflow integration.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at each of them.
Dynamic Inventory Management. An inventory of enterprise-wide technology services starts to get stale the second it is entered into a database unless there is a dynamic mechanism to refresh service details constantly.
The best TEO solutions automatically update inventory each time an invoice is received, and exceptions are resolved. This helps you ensure that your centralized database of services is always current.
Service Level Invoice Auditing. With service level invoice auditing in place, before a technology invoice even appears on your screen, it has been tested against dozens of automatic audit checks in the background to identify any billing inconsistencies.
The system matches billing data to service inventory data from the invoice header level all the way down to the service number level, essentially performing a line-by-line comparison.
Embedded Exception Resolution Tools. You need a solution that doesn’t just identify billing issues, but it also provides the ability to research and fix them right within the application with only a few clicks.
From invoice detail and billing history screens to billing dispute entry and tracking, to invoice exception clearing tools and one-click alert refreshing, TEO software offers everything needed to ensure invoices exceptions are efficiently resolved.
Automated Multi-Level Invoice Allocation. Look for a solution that gives you the option of allocating technology invoices at the header level, the sub-account level, or the service number level. You won’t need to re-allocate invoices every month since allocations are stored and automatically inherited from month to month unless you wish to change them. That means you’ll only need to spend time allocating any new services each month. That’s more time you can devote to higher-value projects for your organization.
Proactive Contracts Management. In addition to contract summaries that extract the critical terms of in-force technology contracts, Technology Expense Optimization software cues up proactive email notifications to your team when contract milestones requiring action are approaching. These alerts help avoid inadvertent auto-renews, tariff rate conversions, and extensions of off-market contracts.
Custom Workflow Integration. The needs of your business are unique. That’s why you should look to partner with a TEO solution provider that can tailor the tool and process to the needs of each client. It should be possible to integrate the data into your accounting package, vendor management applications, and ERP tools. The new workflow should fit into place seamlessly with what you do today.
In addition to these software features, there are some other considerations to take into account when looking for a technology expense optimization solution provider. You want a partner that will work closely with you to ensure that the solution creates value for you.
Supplier Relationships. If your solution provider has a strong network of technology suppliers and clients, they get pricing visibility and insight into the best options and improve your negotiating power.
Technology Experts. Expense optimization requires a deep understanding of the technology solutions that you have in place. Look for a partner with dedicated client representatives that work with companies like yours to implement technology solutions.
Managed Services. If you really want to optimize expenses without doing the heavy lifting, look for a managed services provider. If you go that route, the services team will help you collect competitive quotes, manage the transition from one vendor to another, assist with issue resolution, and help with contract negotiation.
These days, technology expenses represent a significant portion of the budget in almost every enterprise. TEO is the smart way to make sure that every dollar is being put to its most efficient use.