Did you include Inventory Management Requirements in your RFP for Telecom Expense Management?
You are in the middle of preparing your Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Information (RFI) to renew or change TEM Vendor. You got to draft the right requirements, but where do you start? Choosing the right telecom expense management solution can be a laborious task, as there are many of them (about 200 TEM competitors – According to Gartner). They offer different services and software, and you have to make sure you ask the right questions before choosing which one you’ll want to work with. You’ve probably thought of asking the obvious questions about invoice loading, auditing and dispute management, but did you consider questions on Inventory Management? This article will give you some key questions you should include in your RFP or RFI.
Before launching a RFI or RFP, you’ll need to gather some details about your current environment and about the TEM vendors you will be inviting to bid. Gartner published in 2013 a “Toolkit: Telecom Expense Management RFP Template” which included a specific section on Inventory Management. Here are the requirements you should consider including in your RFP.
Services and Assets
Your vendor should provide you with a TEM software that can track and manage carrier invoices, contracts, service and equipment records, match it to an employee feed and communication inventory (lines, toll-free advanced features, DID range, access services, etc.) to help you identify discrepancies and disputes. You shouldn’t have to switch between systems of records to access the information, it should be centralized in one single TEM platform for all assets and services. You should still ask your future TEM vendor what type of different asset/services they manage to see if they support yours. It would be easier if they already supported the types you use and would prevent you from having to switch to another vendor that offers it.
- The inventory for wireline and wireless assets be tracked in one unified solution.
- The solution will reconcile inventory data against invoices and report discrepancies.
- The solution tracks and manages other types of IT services and assets.
- Provide the list of the different asset types you are managing (wired, wireless, infrastructure, IT, other).
- Provide the list of the different service types and attributes you are managing (MPLS, Megalinks, SIP Truncking, Switch redirect, etc.)?
Your TEM vendor should offer you the ability to organize the inventory by business unit, cost center, departments and by employees. You should also be able to group the inventory and services as needed by geography or by project. The relational database structure should be flexible and easily adapt to your organizational needs.
- The solution will provide wireless cost allocation reports based on organizational hierarchy.
- The solution will support organizational hierarchies for reporting costs per business unit, locations, departments and projects.
- The solution provides report and inventory visibility in according to the user role-based access.
It is important for a TEM vendor to track the entire lifecycle of an asset and to automate the inventory changes over the span of an asset’s useful life. The actions can be taken by the administrator, the managers as well as the end-users. It all depends on the requirements you need for your specific environment.
- A self-service portal access is available for end-user to source services and make changes to their existing services.
- The solution provides the ability to implement workflows for work orders and approval processes.
- The solution can be integrated with third party solutions for two-way inventory updates and employee feeds.
Your TEM vendor should track the service contracts with all the information related to a provider and its services. It should support many different providers and the possibility to enable the ones you need and the possibility to request a provider that isn’t on the list. Same goes for enabling or adding different service types.
- The solution will manage service contracts for multiple providers of different services.
- The ordering/provisioning function is integrated with the inventory and expense modules of the application.
- The solution is configured to create/add new service providers.
- The solution is configured to create/add new service types.
- The solution offers transaction history tracking.
- The solution offers access to a central provider portal for your service providers to update and track requests.
You have to check with your TEM vendor that you have the possibility to manually enter new inventory items, that you’ll be able to perform mass upload of inventory and easily map existing fields. It is also important that the platform allows the ability to track both maintenance, lease and contracts attached to the assets.
- Explain how a list of assets can be uploaded to the inventory for mass edits and uploads.
- Explain the process in place to map existing fields to a list of assets to upload to the inventory.
- The solution provides the ability to centrally manage maintenance contracts for the equipment.
Now you should have gathered all the information concerning the management of your inventory for IT, telecom and mobility. Make sure your new TEM vendor fulfills all your requirements and is able to meet your needs, otherwise you won’t ever be fully satisfied, and we both know that you deserve the best. Also, if it’s something important for you, don’t forget to ask your future TEM vendor if they are committed to continually improve their software and what is their recommended roadmap for their customers.
We’re Cimpl, experts in telecom expense management, and we can proudly answer a big “YES” to all of these questions.
To learn more about our signature SaaS product that lets you comprehensively and simply manage all of your technology assets, usage and costs; and how we can help you manage expenses in IT, telecom, mobile and UCC, feel free to Contact us or sign up for a demo today!