by Kevin Donoghue, President, Telesoft
TEM programs vary considerably based on client needs and provider capabilities. Organizations can benefit from a diverse range of offerings that address their specific needs. This can also create confusion and costly mistakes. Below are five common errors when selecting a TEM supplier and recommendations to avoid them.
No Business Justification – Although it is necessary to identify the size and scope of the project to get accurate costs, do not wait until you are ready to sign the contract before developing justification. Start with an evaluation of what is working and areas that need improvement while gaining executive support for the TEM program.
Not All Providers Deliver the Same Results – Another common mistake is to use the same assumptions for cost-savings that each provider will secure. Experienced TEM providers will identify further billing errors and skilled teams can negotiate larger savings. If the benefit analysis model uses the same assumptions for each provider, the evaluation will favor the lowest-cost one. Ask the supplier and their clients about ROI. Client retention rate is another good indicator of past performance.
Engaging with Too Many Suppliers – Hundreds of companies offer TEM solutions but there is not enough time to include all of them in an evaluation. Three areas can help narrow the field: solution delivery, project size and scope.
Delivery options include licensed software, hosted solutions and managed services or business process outsourcing. Determine if you have the necessary resources to manage a program. If you plan to migrate to different approaches, it may be necessary to limit suppliers to those that provide multiple delivery options. Selecting the best delivery approach or a combination of options will help identify a manageable number of suppliers for the evaluation.
Companies should also focus on suppliers that specialize in similar-size projects. Most use annual spending on telecom services or the number of mobile devices to determine size. Finally, determine if the scope of the project will include fixed, wireless or international billing. Match your requirements with suppliers that offer modular software and integrated platforms to add new capabilities.
Quantifiable Measures for SLAs – Many TEM SLAs focus on ROI, but this is the result of a well-functioning program. ROI measurements do not provide insights into areas for improvement. SLAs should include accuracy, completeness and timeliness of inventory and invoice management. Savings calculations should allow for benefits from better information for improved contract negotiations, and better supply chain management. Also, consider savings from cost avoidance but establish rules for calculating savings with your team and the provider. Periodic updates to the SLAs will help to ensure they remain relevant. There may also be opportunities to raise the standards as the program matures.
Failing to Make a Decision – If there is no clear leader of the evaluation team, committee politics can derail the decision-making process. Additionally, as time passes shifts in personnel and other priorities can lead to delays or a failure to make a decision. Do not allow a quest for perfection to prevent you from selecting a good solution that will meet most of your needs. It is important to remember that TEM savings will be lost if no program is implemented.
If you follow these recommendations to avoid the mistakes made by most companies, you will be better equipped to maximize more savings.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.