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How to Implement a Telecom Expense Management System?

Posted by Chris Thierry | October 20, 2011 9:00 AM

Fixing the Telecom Expense Management Problem

Congratulations!  You’ve recognized that a problem exists –it is brewing, or otherwise throwing flames that need to be tamed. Your prior year’s objective to quantify and qualify your telecom costs has once again gone awry, and that 20% reduction you committed to, up in flames!

Problems with Telecom Expense Management?

Begin with the end in mind!

I cannot emphasize how important it is for you to determine what information you require from your Telecom Expense Management (TEM) system.  Order processing, automation, A/P, GL, reporting, budgeting, trending, audit and control, verification, exception reporting, visibility, history?  … just to name a few!  By defining and clarifying your outputs, you can then start gathering and organizing the inputs. Consider the types of service you want to capture or categorize in your TEM – Think! What information do I need from a TEM software?

Define, gather, collect and validate your inputs and automate wherever feasible.

Take inventory!  Work with your carriers to ensure all billing is accessible from a portal – and preferably in a format that can be read electronically.  Identify and source any special reports you may require from your carrier – especially wireless.  This is frequently part of your contract negotiation with your carrier. If your billing omits equipment or service detail, request this information from your carrier in advance.

Assess your company’s automation process and arrange for HR and GL feeds that can be made available via a recurring electronic feed.  Engage your Finance department to understand the business rules for processing accounts payable and assess what in the AP cycle can be automated to reduce/eliminate paper copy and manual intervention wherever possible. A successful implementation of a TEM will facilitate automation wherever possible.  

My place or yours?

Are you looking for a hosted service or will you source your own hardware?  Often this is prefaced on a corporation’s security policy, so anticipate your hosting requirements in advance.  It can take several weeks to approve and receive hardware. How will a third party gain access to your environment should you choose to host your own TEM?  Work with your Security department to avoid any surprises.

Plan on a 3 to 6 month implementation.

Wireless can be implemented in 8 to 12 weeks with adequate planning. Wireline can take up to 6 months depending on the complexity, customization, number and type of services you are capturing  in your TEM, and the availability and quality of data.  Other factors include the skill level of the resources available to the project and the ability for an organization to provide and automate feeds such as an employee file, department, cost centre or GL.    

Remember; begin with the end in mind!   Choose a Telecom Expense Management Provider that can provide the right combination of turnkey, customization, and expertise to meet your criteria. Tame the fire now before another year of savings goes up in flames.

Download our TEM Self-assessment Checklist for more information on the current state of your Telecom Expenses.


Authored by Kim Leahy, Client Engagement Manager  



Written by Chris Thierry

Christopher is the president, founder, visionary, and driving force behind Cimpl, which first started in 2000 as Etelesolv: his goal is to bring holistic enterprise solutions to companies of all shapes and sizes. Moreover, Christopher’s devotion to the well-being of his employees has made Cimpl one of Canada’s Top 50 Employers. He’s also dedicated to giving back to his community, by serving in multiple industry associations. He’s a mentor for the Canadian Youth Business Foundation and a member of the Young Presidents' Organization, the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, the CIO Association of Canada, and the Telecom Expense Management Industry Association. Christopher holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems and Marketing from the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University. He is also a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Entrepreneur’s Master’s Program – a program specifically designed to optimize the skillsets of founders of high growth companies.

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