Selecting and implementing a telecom expense management solution successfully depends on a number of factors, including the organization’s understanding of the TEM’s lifecycle value proposition and how it goes about selecting and implementing such solution. The market has plenty of case studies and examples of failures and great successes. Here are some tips on how to avoid some of the very real pitfalls, which you can use as a checklist when deciding on a TEM solution.
Obtain C-level sponsorship and a defined vision, as they are critical to success.
TEM is an enterprise application, requiring operational strategy, organization adoption, and defined policies to be most effective. The executive sponsor for the TEM project must direct the organization with specific goals and guidelines on how the initiative is to be rolled out.
Understand the TEM value proposition and lifecycle.
Knowledge of the business process transformation concept is key to getting the stakeholders on board.
Assess “managed, unmanaged, and hybrid” TEM services. Managed, unmanaged, or hybrid TEM services?
The decision is based upon whether the in-house resources have the time and adequate skills to manage the entire TEM lifecycle, dealing with additional activities, such as TEM system alerts and billing discrepancies generated by the TEM software. Do the in-house resources have experience with carrier tariffs and services rate plans, which is required to manage the complex and highly specialized world of telecom carrier services?
a. Unmanaged:If the answer to the above question is a strong “yes” and all indications show that the organization is well equipped and has the time, you need to be looking for the best of breed TEM software.
b. Hybrid: If the answer to the question is in-between—you have some skills, but do not have all of it—then a hybrid solution might be needed. Adequate time is also a concern when dedicating resources to ongoing management. In this case, you need a TEM solution provider with good technology and with resources that can complement your staff to achieve the optimal results.
c. Managed: If the survey says that the organization does not have time or skills to manage this highly complex environment, then you should consider a managed TEM service. In this case you need a TEM solution that has all of the professional services incorporated into it.
d. Not sure? If you do not know for sure what your enterprise requires, a qualified independent consultant can assist in the assessment of your organization’s needs.
Decide between SaaS or licensed software.
A cloud-based or in-house hosting decision can also impact the outcome. Most often SaaS is the more logical, most cost efficient and easiest to deploy.
Create a solicitation plan.
Specify what is needed in a request for proposal (RFP), which includes defined terms and conditions, implementation timeline and service level agreements (SLA). Of course, the procurement process through an official RFP, if done well, covers all of the functional and operational requirements, deliverables, along with favorable terms and conditions, and SLAs, which will all raise the probability of success.
Determine the interfaces and interoperability needed.
TEM solutions work best when well integrated into other enterprise systems.
Identify market dynamics and suppliers.
Resellers vs. Software Owners/ Leaders vs. Disruptors. The market offerings are broad, complex and not created equal. The RFP should sort these offerings by default bringing only the players who can address the enterprise’s specific needs.
Try before you buy.
Even with a good RFP, responses can be difficult to sort out. Adding a sandbox requirement for the two best proposals will go a long way in determining the best value proposal.
Watch for hidden costs—5-year total cost of ownership (TCO).
System implementation costs and ongoing services expenses can be well anticipated. However, system integration and customization can be a significantly underestimated expense, causing project over-budgets and possibly a huge point of contention between client and TEM supplier, as many suppliers are expensive or do not provide quick, easy, and inexpensive software customizations.
Hire a qualified independent consultant, if all the above fails.
Given the level of risk and complexity of your project, in many cases it is recommended to bring an independent expert who can guide the needs assessment, specifications RFP and deployment. The Society of Communications Technology Consulting (SCTC) is a great source for competent independent consultants.
Softeligent is a leading provider of communications technology lifecycle management. Our SaaS solution eases the burden of managing telecom assets and expenses. Contact us today for your complimentary demo.