The Telecom Expense Management (TEM) industry has reached a crossroad. Market gorillas are looking to grow, and are doing so through acquisitions and mergers. I would like to raise whether these roll-ups have served their customers as well as it has served their financial backers. Or if the focus really is on building a great company or simply flipping it to the next buyer. By contrast, at Cimpl, we are continuing to invest in creating more value for customers through in-house development, built on the backbone of our already well-established platform.
The big question is, can continued mergers work in the TEM industry? Mergers and acquisitions have shown a failure rate of anywhere between 50% and 75%. Company roll-ups based on old thinking and weighed down by legacy systems believe they can somehow turn themselves into a dynamic Silicon Valley startup without putting their own growth and client base on the backburner. If you have found yourself in a situation where your TEM provider is merging with another, or is taking on multiple new software platforms in an effort to grow and improve their offering, there may be a few challenges to watch out for.
Challenges of TEM Provider Mergers and Acquisitions
Several issues can arise when migrating customers and employees onto a new system, especially one which patches together different software technologies and platforms to create one unified interface. The process of integrating software into something new can take time, effort, and generally produce a very confusing learning curve. Not to mention that a merger or an acquisition can prompt feelings of unrest and uncertainty for clients and employees alike. Finally, the resulting turmoil during the merger or acquisition period can create a frustrating and confusing process for everyone involved.
As food for thought in times of change, consider the impact these three decisions might have on your telecom environment.
Migration & Integration: A Pressing Process
The process of migrating an entire customer base onto a different platform can be lengthy, and sometimes leaves customers a little lost. You could be faced with an unfamiliar platform, and you’ll probably need assistance adjusting to a new interface and/or new processes. While it is key for the two platforms to maintain customer satisfaction throughout the integration process, this might not always be the case.
Migrating clients onto a new software must be done in a timely manner. Since businesses tend to rely heavily on their TEM solution, it’s important that you understand all of the changes and how to navigate the updated, if not entirely new system, so that you can continue working effectively. While having new tools and services can be a lot of fun, you’ve got to be able to use them first. You’ll want to make sure your provider is keeping you up to date and at the top of their to-do list.
As a customer, it’s important to take note of the many changes that come with a merger, and to keep yourself informed about things when your provider is going through these kinds of changes. You may have chosen to go with a company because of a few specific tools or services, which the merger may leave out or get rid of entirely. Understanding these changes will help you decide if the merger is right for you, or if it’s time for a change. Without proper guidance, you might struggle with the new software, or you might not feel like the new interface is what you chose your provider for. This might lead you to consider other options that better suit your business’ needs, such as Cimpl.
Cimpl provides an extremely user-friendly interface, where everything can quickly be accessed without too many questions and concerns. Cimpl has one main dashboard, and several tabs which look into the most relevant elements of your Telecom Expense Management system, such as inventory, orders, workflows, and more. And anytime our customers need assistance in using Cimpl, there are several resources available to help; including our friendly Customer Success team as well as a complete and detailed searchable user guide.
Moving to One Unified Platform: Reskin or Rebuild?
Reskinning is much like giving a website a make-over. When a platform or software, such as a TEM software or website, undergoes a reskin, the look is re-hashed into something new and different, but the underlying system is left untouched. The effect of a reskin is merely aesthetic, and can be a great way to refresh and update a platform that hasn’t been touched for a while. But opting for a reskin during a merger might not be the best solution. You may be faced with a total reskin of the platform you were previously used to, in order to accommodate the integration of services and tools. Understanding the reskin will be a top priority in order to make effective use of your platform, but this won’t be easy.
When involving a variety of new services and technologies from different platforms, re-building may be the only effective option, despite the fact that it takes a greater amount of time. In order to effectively migrate a customer and employee base onto a new system that combines several together, a rebuild is often the most effective strategy. By merely reskinning, there aren’t any new functionalities, things are basically kept the same with a new look and feel. The data and reports you were used to can get lost in a sea of aesthetic changes.
Building a system from the ground up allows for everything to be tailored towards the most useful tools and services taken from each platform. This allows for less productive tools to be dropped entirely or rethought with the user-experience in mind to becoming more productive, rather than left in the mix of good and bad tools. A reskin is often not enough for you to effectively adapt to a new telecom expense management environment, and will leave you confused and uninformed. Rebuilding from the ground up does quite the opposite, providing a fresh start, which in turn is much easier to get a grasp of. This can be a great way to do a cleanup of the backend structure and database, much like cleaning your closet and getting rid of clothes you don’t wear anymore and rearranging the space for more effective organization.
Platforms like Cimpl were built from the ground up, and have been dedicated to providing an excellent Telecom Expense Management solution from the start. Cimpl has gone through many changes and updates in the past, but has always held customers as its top priority when it comes to updates and new product releases. All of our product releases and updates are built with the user’s perspective at the forefront. We aim to tailor our software to be as user friendly as possible, while providing useful tools and replacing what doesn’t work. As a customer, you can expect Cimpl’s support team to take you step by step in understanding any changes to the platform.
Training: Not Just Employees
Training employees and customers is another priority when a company acquires another and decides to combine the two. An entire customer base, as well as multiple employee base, must be trained to understand whatever interface is introduced. If this is not done in a timely manner, clients, employees, and even executives will suffer the consequences of having a system which does not perform as well as promised.
Having dozens of new technologies and services from separate companies mashed together can quickly get disorganized. Being distracted by a messy and untimely training system, or an excessive amount of changes to deal with, will not only be frustrating for you, but will also prevent employees from focusing on the core competencies of their individual duties. More time will be spent on converting individuals to the new system than necessary. This can even lead to employee dissatisfaction, a loss of productivity because of mistakes and errors, and you could be left to sift through the debris yourself.
What can Cimpl do for you?
A Technology Expense Management solution such as Cimpl can help you effectively manage an accurate inventory, save time and save money. Changes and updates are a necessary step to providing improved software and services for our customers, but Cimpl does it in a way that guides you through the process. We aim to keep things clear and concise, providing the necessary tools for our customers to understand any modifications to the system. Some things we’ll provide include;
- User Guide: Our user guide provides all the information required for you to adapt to any changes, as well as steps to help new customers get started. Any inquiries you have can be solved through our user-friendly searchable guide.
- Regular Product Releases: Seamless roll-out of new releases provides faster access to innovative features to our customers to continually expand their program beyond telecom expense management.
- Strong Customer Support: For anything that you can’t seem to find an answer to, or that you’d like to discuss with a member of our team, Cimpl’s customer support is ready to help!
- Dedication to our Platform: Rather than seeking to obtain the strengths of our competitors, we choose to use and expand upon our own strengths instead, allowing Cimpl to build its own unique experience for customers. Our mission to provide a unique service has led us to maintain our platform from the start, building upon it over time.
- Rebuilding: We take the time to rebuild what needs improvement instead of merely reskinning to cut corners.
Our goal at Cimpl is to create waves in the Telecom Expense Management industry, aiming to change the way everyone thinks of TEM services. We dedicate ourselves to R&D rather than roll-ups; customer meetings instead of shareholder meetings; living our core values rather than marketing them; and instead of buying business, we earn it. If you’re thinking of getting started with Cimpl, feel free to contact us with any questions. If you’d like a detailed look at how our platform works and what it can do for your business, request a free demo!
- Telecom Expense Management (TEM): Choosing A Software Vendor
- Are You Ready for Telecom Expense Management
- 5 Points to Consider When Evaluating a TEM Solution Provider
Author: Victoria Lewin