So you’ve decided to take back control of your technology costs. Your business has decided that there is a major need to take back the reigns, and gain full transparency over your telecom and technology environment. Perhaps you’ve already selected the solution that best suits your needs. You’re well on your way to having everything you need to centralize and visualize your technology usage, cost and inventory.
The first step that you need to take is to prepare for the implementation process. Integrating a TEM solution into your business can take a while, and you’ll want to take steps to make sure the process goes smoothly. You’ll need to ask yourself some questions before you get started. These steps will help you better understand how to implement a telecom expense management system.
In order to define your requirements and needs, you’ll first need to understand the difference between fully-managed and self-managed TEM. Deciding between these two levels of engagement will involve assessing the way your business handles its telecom and technology environment. A self-managed TEM will involve more work than a fully-managed TEM, and will require a strong understanding of your telecom and technology expenses, and how to best manage them. You’ll need high visibility, and sufficient resources to support the internal model. Should you choose to take the fully-managed route, the services offered to you will be maximized, and everything will .
2. How do we get started and what’s expected of me? (The Step-by-Step Process)
There are several steps that you’ll be required to take in order for your TEM vendor to get things going. For starters, you will ideally receive a template listing all of the data your vendor needs in order to set things up for you. You’ll likely have to send over a lot of information. This usually includes a non-confidential list of employee data and organizational data, inventory information, corporate agreements from your providers, AP file requirements, and so forth.
First thing’s first, there will be some sort of a kick-off meeting to show you what the platform looks like for the first time. You’ll discuss your expectations, how you plan on engaging with them, and so forth. The vendor will have several expectations of you, and will most likely request a variety of documents and data in order to properly set things up for you. Some of the major steps you’ll go through following that first meeting include:
- Employee and organizational information: The vendor will need this information in order to set up the platform for you. All of your HR information can be sent over manually. With a vendor that offers automation capabilities, like Cimpl, you can set up a feed where you update your HR information in a file accessible to the vendor. This way, it is automatically updated for you throughout your engagement.
- Inventory data: Good technology expense management providers will manage an accurate inventory for you. In order to set up your inventory in the platform, you’ll need to send over your invoices as well as regular inventory file updates if you are using an adjacent asset management system. The solution provider will need to get access to a list of all assets, including lines, devices, and more, and everything will be loaded into the platform.
- Other data: Most of the other data will be brought in from your invoices. Things like costs, cost centers, account numbers, services, and so forth will all be loaded via the data on your telecom provider invoices.
- Loading, loading, and more loading: Once the TEM provider has all of the data they need, they’ll begin loading all of the information into the platform. Once everything is ready to go in the platform, you’ll be able to get started and be able to test it out.
- Discrepancies Analysis: Once the vendor has all of your information on deck, they can begin what has defined Telecom Expense Management from the beginning; analyzing discrepancies. The data in your invoices, and in your provider’s invoices, will all be compared to your inventory. Any missing services, or inaccurate charges, will be identified and handled.
- Provisioning: Ideally, your TEM provider will allow you to place orders directly within the platform. This can make things a lot easier for both end-users and managers alike. You can choose how you want this to work, either having end-users place orders themselves with levels of approval, or allowing only managers or MACDs and Admins to access ordering and provisioning.
- AP Files: The accounts payable file is a customized document that demonstrates all data associated with costs, cost centers, GL codes, and anything related to your financial needs. This document is really tailored for the Finance department to get visibility into cost allocation.
3. How will I be supported?
Typically, your vendor should provide training before you’re sent off on your own. Ideally, the TEM provider will take you through several training sessions in the platform. In the case of Cimpl, those sessions are recorded for later viewing. This should help you get started and develop a basic knowledge of how to use the TEM solution. Often, there will be other resources and training materials offered as you get used to the platform.
After the training stages, you’ll be transferred over to the support team. From this point on, you’ll be assigned a support person to take care of any questions, concerns, and any other needs you have. A good TEM solution will have a great support system. As an IT manager, you often face deadlines and hefty projects that will require you to fully grasp your telecom and technology expenses. While using a TEM solution will be a great help in accomplishing these things, it is always helpful to have someone available to you any time you run into questions, or need help with new projects.
4. How long should I expect implementation to take?
Implementing time all depends on the complexity of the project, the level of integrations and the number of workflows that are required. It will also be dependent on the availability of the information and if you’ve dedicated a champion to the integration on your side.
5. How will everyone get onboarded?
In terms of onboarding your entire staff, the more you communicate with your staff the upcoming changes in advance, the easier the transition or the onboarding of new processes will be. Keep people in the loop as much as possible. Communications should be sent to those that will be using the platform. If you are hoping to have the entire company use the platform, from managers, to end-users, everyone will need to learn how it works. Confirm with your vendor that they offer communication templates that you can use to make the announcement, which will save you time and energy. Keep in mind the kind of resources offered by TEM vendors. Without sufficient training materials, this process will become lengthy. Things like user guides and training videos will go a long way in speeding things up.
Getting through all of these steps in one piece might seem like a lot, but selecting the right technology expense management solution will make all of the difference. Each and every business is unique in their needs and requirements, with differing telecom and technology environments. Start off by assessing your individual business needs, and then move from there. Cimpl delivers an industry-leading technology expense management platform, consistently providing three brand promises – Save Money, Save Time, and Maintain an Accurate Inventory. Cimpl offers an array of training support from start to end, including an interactive online user guide, and monthly training webinars.
For any questions or inquiries related to IT, telecom and cloud expense management, get in touch with Cimpl.
AUTHOR: Victoria Lewin