Technology Expense Management Defined
Defined simply, technology expense management is an organized approach to controlling and tracking each of an enterprise’s IT technological assets throughout its lifecycle. This data can then be used to improve an organization’s business intelligence, helping it move into the future with confidence.
While the idea of technology expense management is simple, the execution can be difficult. Large enterprises and companies with an extensive technological estate often struggle with organizing, maintaining, and effectively managing all the contracts, invoices, and inventories required to do so.
MobiChord can end that struggle with their suite of TEM services and professional expertise. Their flexible solutions and powerful analytical tools are designed to streamline technology expense management and give companies that added edge.
The Ever-Changing Technological Ecosystem
When it comes to technology, one thing remains consistent – it will never stop growing or improving. Technology expense management systems are a direct result of this constant growth.
From the first use of the telephone in a business atmosphere, the integration of technology to improve communication and connectivity with partners and clients proved essential for success. This is as true today as it was one hundred years ago. Companies that excel at creating and maintaining essential connections ensure that their global presence remains strong.
To maintain this connectivity, an enterprise must stay current with the technology they use. With each year, new software, applications, services, and products enter the marketplace. With each of these advances, it is necessary to decide if it will benefit the company, and if it is worth the cost of acquisition and integration into the technological ecosystem they are already working to maintain.
It is in a company’s best interest to use the most up-to-date tools to help them connect with their workforce and clients. This creates an atmosphere where there is a push to acquire new assets or risk falling behind the competition. Figuring out how to best manage these new technological assets often comes as an afterthought. Finance and IT are stuck trying to track and manage an ever-increasing load of different assets and services, all while trying to use tools that are often outdated and not suited to handling the ever-growing onslaught of data.
At this point, informed decisions can become difficult, if not impossible. When the data can’t be managed efficiently, C-level executives can’t get an accurate picture of their technological estate. They can’t see which assets are being optimized to their potential and which ones are not serving the company as well as expected. Without good visualization of the data, they can’t make confident decisions for the technological assets they currently use or for those they would like to acquire.
Technology Expense Management to the Rescue
This need to gain better control of data and more efficient management of technological assets led to the creation of Technology Expense Management, or TEM. This service is engineered to provide expert control and analytics of a company’s IT technological assets and services, as well as the data it generates. It does this by integrating all of the processes necessary to effectively manage these assets into a single dynamic platform.
When everything is housed together within the same system, the company has a holistic view of the performance of all assets as well as providing a unified place for important work to be done. Finance has easy access to invoicing and billing numbers while IT can track and solve emergent issues and ensure continuity of service. Executives can access essential up-to-the-moment data to oversee company decisions. When all services and data are organized into a cohesive system, it provides greater visibility of technology inventory, increased efficiency, and generates cost savings. It also creates a comprehensive picture of past, present, and future needs.
From Telecom Expense Management to Technology Expense Management
Before the internet became a requirement for business visibility and communication, the most pressing technological need for a company was to maintain its telephone systems. Large industries could have hundreds, if not thousands, of individual phone lines spread across dozens of systems and multiple providers. Each location had its own unique set of needs and configurations to optimize service plans for both local and international calls. As these systems grew more complicated and required more expertise and time to manage, it became clear that a better solution needed to be found.
This is where telecom expense management enters the picture. Companies realized they were losing money by not being able to accurately track what was happening across so many different providers and locations. Where there is a need, there is an opportunity. Software development groups engineered different dynamic platforms intended to manage telecom needs across such global enterprises. These platforms are meant to replace in-house management of telecom and therefore eliminate legacy systems that often require extensive manual tracking and data entry, which was not only inefficient, it was prone to errors.
Telecom expense management platforms grew to be the expert choice to digest and interpret data from increasingly complex phone systems. As analog systems shifted to digital, the amount of trackable data, as well as its overall quality, increased exponentially. This new data, when used properly, had the power to uncover information about over and underutilized assets. With the help of a comprehensive telecom management platform, companies were able to use this data to pinpoint precisely how to adjust contracts with providers and maximize their cost to benefit ratios.
With each year, new inventions and innovations in technology continued to be introduced into modern companies. These applications and devices had similar needs to telecom tracking but were different enough that they couldn’t be integrated into a telecom expense management system. Soon, companies saw they needed services beyond what telecom expense management covered. Again, this need created another opportunity, and an expanded expense management service entered the playing field, that of technology expense management. This expanded platform takes the basic services offered from a telecom expense management platform and gives them greater functionality to include newer technological assets that telecom can’t cover. The goal for this more inclusive service remains the same, creating better visualization of data to make it possible to reduce costs, improve planning, and drive efficiencies.
Technology Expense Management’s Role in Post-Acquisition Systems Integration
The continued growth and success of a company often require joining forces with another company to combine both their clientele and their services. Often, the two separate companies manage their technological assets using unique legacy systems developed to meet that specific company’s needs. When these two companies merge, it creates a massive headache for multiple departments to figure out how to consolidate these separate systems into one functional unit. This often means choosing the better of these two systems and migrating over all the connections from the system being retired. If there are multiple systems, this process needs to be performed multiple times.
There are several downsides to forcing legacy systems to expand past their original design in the event of an acquisition. Often these migrations can take months of work as a team shifts over each connection manually. Not only is this inefficient, but it introduces errors and inaccuracies that must be found and fixed at a later time. If there are multiple of these systems and the company is expansive, this process could stretch much longer, even up to a year. Until the process is completed, there will always be parts of the dataset that aren’t accessible to be updated and then need to be updated retroactively, meaning that any projection or analysis would be flawed.
To make matters worse, as a company grows and gains more success and more clients, the likelihood of another acquisition increases, and the system integration process must repeat. This is where using a Technology Expense Management company can quite literally save the day. If one or both companies are using a TEM system, then integrating the legacy system of the acquired company into the platform can become an automated process. TEM systems are already engineered to transition legacy systems into their platform and therefore come equipped to make this integration streamlined and straightforward.
In an academic paper referenced by the PMI Institute, the top three risks during a merger are:
- Lack of skills. The expected leadership, conflict management, and communication skills expected of a project manager leading the acquisition are absent.
- Lack of control in estimates. A lack of experience or expertise leads to estimates being incorrect.
- Failure to keep to a schedule. Issues arising from the integration create difficulties in keeping to the established schedule
The benefits of using a technology expense management system to orchestrate this transition between one system to the next can’t be overstated. The first and foremost is the amount of time required for the acquired company’s technology assets to be fully transitioned into the system. Where a manual process might take several quarters and require a specialized team, a TEM service can complete the task much faster, often in as little as 60-90 days to full integration.
The next benefit is in maintaining the accuracy of the transferred data, including information regarding contracted rates already negotiated with service providers. With a manual process, the potential for entry errors is far more likely. As was stated before, each of these errors creates a problem to be resolved in the future. A technology expense management service takes the same process and creates automated sequences to port the data from the legacy system into its platform. This removes entry errors from the equation which directly translates to fewer future problems.
Who Needs Technology Expense Management and Why?
Choosing to outsource to a technology expense management service is a big decision and one that should be done after weighing the needs of the company against how they might benefit from using a larger, more comprehensive solution. Some industries, such as those who’s product is a technical service, or those who provide extensive customer support, by nature require greater technological assets than an industry that relies less on communication. Companies that can’t function without well-maintained and managed technology would be a natural fit for utilizing a technology expense management service to ensure communications within the workforce and with customers is never interrupted.
Another indicator that a company should consider using a technology expense management system is size. When the number of technology assets within a company is relatively small, it makes sense to keep the management in-house. However, as a company grows and acquires new technological assets to enhance the client experience and improve workforce efficiency, the management needs of those assets grow as well. There will come a tipping point where manual oversight of these assets is no longer possible with an in-house system. It is at this point where it makes the most sense to shift over to a TEM system.
Whether a company is highly technical and needs expert handling of their assets, or the company has grown to the point that they can no longer feasibly manage those assets themselves, the decision comes down to timing. An ideal time to upgrade to a TEM system is before the management needs of technological assets grow to the point that they begin to be managed poorly. Waiting until problems arise is a recipe for frustration, lost time, and increased expenses. Companies who don’t feel they are struggling, but are growing rapidly, should look into a technology expense management service sooner than later. It’s far better to switch to a service that can grow with the company’s needs than to find out months too late that the in-house management can’t keep up.
How Technology Expense Management Reduces Costs
While ease of use and better management of data are two compelling reasons to shift to a technology expense management platform, the decision to do so often comes down to how it affects the bottom line. When a large enterprise can spend millions a year on maintaining its technology, each effort to optimize usage can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings, if not more.
TEM systems can reduce IT expenses in the following ways:
Comprehensive Inventory Management
As part of the integration into a TEM system, all IT services and technology assets being consumed by a company are identified and inventoried, including data regarding who is using the service and if it’s being utilized at the expected rate. With this inventory complete and continually updated, services that are operating outside of expected rates can be optimized, ensuring that the company only pays for what they use and doesn’t get hit with overage fees.
Automation of Manual Processes
Manual processes, such as reviewing invoices or reassigning an asset from one client to another, require time and effort on a member of a company’s workforce. Using the tools in the TEM platform, these processes, and many more, can be automated to review data and generate reports as well as carry out multi-step procedures within the system when an asset is being redistributed. This automation saves hours of labor and increases accuracy, which in turn frees up team members to spend their time on projects benefiting a company’s future.
Detect Billing Anomalies via Invoice Audits
Manual invoice auditing is an involved process that includes checking contracted rates, calculating services rendered, and keeping track of which invoices have been paid versus those still waiting in the system. Inside the TEM platform, these steps are automated into a single process, with the additional bonus of being able to flag invoices with questionable data. Team members can then correct these flagged invoices and prevent incorrect payments and billing before they are processed.
Highlight and Cancel Unused Services
When a company has thousands of services and assets in their inventory, it’s vital to track the entire life cycle of those assets. If an asset is no longer being used, but the contract to the service provider is not canceled, the company is still paying to keep it connected. However, with a TEM service monitoring usage, these unused assets are highlighted immediately, preventing needless expense.
Technology Expense Management Services
A company’s TEM needs are as unique as the company itself, and therefore each TEM managed service program is made to be easily adapted to fit those needs. A program can range from offering one or two services to enhance an existing technology platform, to fully managed services that take TEM work off a company’s hands completely.
Technology Expense Management Includes the Management of:
A contract-rate audit that analyzes existing provider contract terms, termination dates, and revenue commitment amounts, as well as performing a carrier comparison and competitive analysis of competing contracts.
Large enterprises process hundreds of invoices per month. Managing all of these invoices often requires too much time and turns the focus away from optimizing the underlying costs. Bill payment services automate the payment process, ensuring the most cost-effective and efficient payment method is used so you don’t have to. Bill pay services reduce costs by eliminating late fees and capturing carrier discounts. Eliminate service disruptions with the assurance invoices are being paid on time. And automating the process, ensuring better management of cash. MobiChord brings another unique layer to bill payment services by optimizing payment types to get the most possible rebates and then pass the revenue onto the customer.
Businesses today track telecom, mobile, and cloud assets all at once. Inventory asset management enables the possibility to see and centralize every detail, in real-time, what technology assets you have, how they are being used, and how you can save money.
Processing invoices has traditionally been a very error-prone, manual process. Invoice processing under Technology Expense Management seeks to eliminate manual work with automatic invoice reconciliation, cost allocation, and reporting. The processing of invoices by a Technology Expense Management company helps you gain full transparency into spend and easily identifies and eliminates wasteful spending.
Technology Expense Management also Includes Cross-Structure Services:
Telecommunications service interruptions and unnecessary spend hold your business back. But problems like these tend to happen when you’re managing telecom systems and services with tools that aren’t built for the enterprise. Automation of telecom services is vital and gives you full control of telecom orders, invoices, inventory, and expenses.
Employees of any large enterprise need mobile devices to keep them connected and efficient. With that comes takes quite the undertaking and many resources to deploy, manage, and support these critical devices for hundreds or thousands of employees. Managed mobility services help you enable an efficient and cost-effective way to manage orders, invoices, inventory, and expenses of your entire mobile estate.
Cloud services cost large, global enterprises millions of dollars every year. Managing Cloud as part of a Technology Expense Management platform allows customers to manage spend for all cloud services: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). By leveraging a Technology Expense Management (TEM) solution and automation functionality to process, allocate, and report on cloud spend, enterprises can expect to reduce cloud costs and eliminate manual work.
Why Choose MobiChord for Technology Expense Management?
There are hundreds of different platforms out there offering technology expense management, and not all are created equal. MobiChord has the distinction of being the fastest growing technology expense management company on Inc. 5000 in both 2019 and 2020. It boasts fast implementation and with a ramp to production between 60-90 days. Also, MobiChord was highlighted in Gartner’s 2019 TEM Market Guide as the only provider that has native integration with the ServiceNow Platform. MobiChord enables ServiceNow’s powerful low-code, no-code workflows to orchestrate complex Mobile, Voice & Network, and Cloud processes.