Telecommunications expense management tools offer organizations visibility into how they use and pay for a variety of communications technologies, something that is increasingly valuable as technological models shift across the telecom services sector.
Historically, enterprise communications investments have boiled down to purchasing phones, fax machines, internet services and the various network services that support them – such as a direct line for fax machines. Over time, this model became more complex as VoIP services rose and more of the heavy lifting within communications systems could be done through the enterprise data network. This added new hardware considerations in the back office, and eliminated some others. Even then, however, the focus was on purchasing hardware to accompany a small number of services.
This model has been turned on its head in contemporary businesses. Unified communications systems can be delivered through the cloud, virtualized PBXs allow for hosted VoIP services, software-defined WANs let organizations take advantage of hosted network controllers. Furthermore, advanced technologies like videoconferencing are often available based around apps delivered as a service. All told, businesses now subscribe to the vast majority of their telecommunications systems, and only need to purchase a smaller number of hardware systems to support them. This adds complexity and often contributes to greater accessibility for custom communications solutions.
“The new focus on services has changed telecom pricing models.”
The new focus on services has changed telecom pricing models and created a situation in which organizations need more nuanced perspective on what they are paying for. Three ways that TEM solutions can support service-based telecom models include:
1. Tracking asset use
Hardware and services, though distinct in function, are all key assets, creating a situation in which tracking usage becomes incredibly complicated. On one hand, you must understand exactly how much of anything – be it phones or bandwidth to support a video conference – you may need at any time. On the other, there are many interrelated hardware, software and network resources that come together to deliver any one service, making it extremely difficult to track exactly what is being used to support end users at a given time.
TEM solutions frequently include asset management capabilities, allowing you to document all of the resources within your telecommunication configuration and identify how they are impacting your business. This visibility into exactly what you are subscribing to is invaluable as you work to identify any wasted costs within your organization or pin down if you have enough bandwidth resources to support a new service you are considering.
2. Identifying unexpected costs
Shadow IT is a major problem in service-based IT systems. Organizations that become heavily dependent on apps and services to support end users can easily run into a situation in which individuals subscribe to new solutions as they see fit, meaning the company is spending on solutions that the IT department doesn’t know about. As these systems add up, organizations can end up with a shadow IT department – groups of users who are purchasing solutions that the company pays for, but does not have visibility into or control of.
“A TEM system is designed to identify and track all costs.”
A TEM system is designed to identify and track all costs, making it is easier to identify when their is a discrepancy between the amount of money that you are expecting to pay for services and the amount that is actually going out of your budget. This not only helps identify if shadow IT is becoming a problem, it can also make it easier to identify service fees or other charges that you are facing, but weren’t initially expecting.
3. Centralizing data
This new service-driven telecommunication environment facing modern enterprises has created a situation where details on pricing can easily get scattered as companies try to keep track of infrastructure, service subscriptions and other varied prices that impact modern communications systems. This diversity of services and systems can lead to costs being accounted for in a wide range of budgets, making it difficult to track down exactly what is being spent, and what it is being spent on. Centralizing all telecom-related expenses in a TEM system ensures that nothing slips through the cracks and makes it easier to get visibility into infrastructure.
Businesses are facing an increasingly challenging and complex telecommunications situation, forcing them to reconsider how they manage, track and account for their assets. TEM solutions lay the groundwork for success here by providing the visibility organizations need to maximize value potential.