IT Expense Management Pitfalls: One-Size-Fits-All Solutions Aren’t Really the Gold Standard 

Out-of-Box Solutions_Main blog page

Don’t you hate it when you go buy something and the salesperson pitches their product before you even have a chance to finish explaining your problem? 

That happens a lot in the Information Technology Expense Management (ITEM) industry. 

Providers don’t take time to understand the client’s business before they hand them a one-size-fits-all solution that isn’t really capable of solving the issue at hand. 

This is a continuation of a series of articles on ITEM pitfalls. It’s time for transparency in this industry, so organizations can learn from those who have gone before them. In the name of accountability, Tangoe is highlighting industry challenges alongside standards of excellence, so you can hold us responsible for our commitment to superior services backed by exceptional customer experiences. Don’t miss our other articles:  
ITEM Pitfalls: When Speed-to-Savings Turns into an Implementation Nightmare 
ITEM Pitfalls: When the Inventory and Shifts in Technology Turn into a Data Dumpster Dive  

IT Cost Management: Avoiding One-Size-Fits-All Solutions 

In the IT expense management space, providers often advertise “easy-to-use,” “self-service” solutions as the “gold standard” of the industry, but underneath the covers are general-purpose solutions built on rigid technologies. While standard solutions make for great demonstrations and also make it easy for providers to capitalize on the masses, they don’t always result in the best customer experiences, nor do they generate targeted business outcomes. 

Why? Because they fail to consider who they serve and fall flat when it comes to catering to unique corporate financial structures, custom-built IT environments, and the different tech stacks behind them. 

Common Problems with Out-of-the-Box Tech Expense Management Solutions

Less Relevance, Less Value: Generic Data In = Generic Data Out 

  • One-size-fits-all solutions are built on third-party data sets serving up standard directional metrics and industry averages rather than client-specific data  
  • Cost-savings recommendations fit a limited number of business situations and scenarios, thereby diluting the savings value and effectiveness of the desired outcome 

Limited Customizations Result in Functional and Reporting Challenges  

  • Fewer customizable features mean clients can’t move beyond standardized templates – thus there is little room for creative use and therefore utility to the business 
  • Platforms don’t accurately reflect the client’s situation, nor their cost centers, which results in errors in allocating costs to the wrong department for example 
  • Backend workflows can’t be customized around the client’s business process, leading to inefficiencies in invoice processing and more manual work 
  • A limited number of reports available means clients can’t see or access all the data they need in order to drive costs down and efficiencies up  

Higher Costs and More Work 

  • Add-on fees are common with standardized solutions, which can also limit them from evolving with company needs, therefore hindering long-term benefit   
  • Clients find themselves wasting time and effort trying to retrofit their business needs and process into the solution’s standardized templates 

3 Ways Tangoe Builds Fit-for-Purpose Solutions Better than Anyone 

The Tangoe One ITEM platform is purpose-built for extreme flexibility, precision customization, and high performance on a global scale. We offer flexible, configurable solutions and customizable reporting across all our cloud, mobile, and telecom service categories. This allows you to build cost-optimization programs based on your strategic business objectives.  

Here’s how we create solutions tailored to individual needs. 

  1. Using Your Data to Go Beyond Surface-Level Cost Cutting 

Most one-size-fits-all solutions are built on standard metrics representing only common business scenarios, but Tangoe One is an advanced analytics platform ingesting a wide variety of client and vendor data sources. It leverages machine learning and automation to generate intelligent cost management recommendations gleaned from your actual spending and IT service usage data.  

Here’s an example taken from our mobile device cost management solution.  

The Tangoe One Savings Center goes beyond straight pricing comparisons, taking into consideration the client’s employees and how they use their mobile phone as well as the client’s current phone plan and how it bills them based on any voice and data limitations and overage fees. By triangulating usage data, existing plan data, and market-competitive pricing information, Tangoe can then offer a more informed recommendation to cut costs founded in consumption trends and contextual knowledge.  

We constantly price out isolated features that we know our clients use the most. This helps us pinpoint the price-per-unit for each feature deemed critical for your organization, which explains how Tangoe unlocks the greatest possible return on investment — rather than just surface-level cost cutting. We cover this in depth in another article on saving money on mobile devices

  1. Flexible Capabilities and Customizable Options for More Client Value 

With the ability to capture a variety of detailed information, segment data at granular levels, and slice and dice it the way our clients want, Tangoe One can facilitate a wide range of business use cases on a one-time or an ongoing project basis. While other providers require clients to fit their business processes into the supplied software, Tangoe starts with your processes and outcomes first and then builds workflows and reporting disciplines around what you need.   

Here’s how flexible the Tangoe One platform is: 

  • Configuration and development: Make changes to Tangoe One functionality, inventory reconciliation, and integrations with vendor portals 
  • Integrations and APIs: Support for interactions with other corporate information systems including contractual, financial, human resources, IT service platforms, mobile device security systems and more   
  • Integration for expense management: Tangoe has 500+ direct SaaS integrations and over 225,000 SaaS applications on file inside the solution 
  • Integration with travel systems: Integration allows companies to automate changes to their mobile calling plans while employees are travelling for business 
  • Storefront: Place orders via integrated service catalogs that simplify the fulfillment process 
  • Mapper Services: Capture detailed data and connect it to all associated services and assets 
  • Workflows: Setup and automate processes according to your business requirements and your organizational structure  
  • Global Service Capabilities: While other companies can’t serve the needs of global clients, Tangoe serves clients in 206 countries with services in 13 languages and bill pay in 129 currencies 
  • Reports and Analytics: Drive critical business decisions with reporting features designed to your specifications, and with custom implementation starting on Day 1, you get your reports the way you want to see them — right away 
  1. Support and Services that Really “Get” Your Business 

In addition to technical customizations, Tangoe’s Professional Services offer a team of dedicated Program Managers who act as an extension of your team, executing internal initiatives. We’ll handle all aspects of mission-critical integrations, digital transformation updates, or projects that require any changes to internal expense management processes such as tech migrations or upgrades of financial systems. 

In addition, Tangoe has Advisory Services providing a full-service cost management consultancy saving clients $250M each year. They help with everything from a free cost savings assessment to RFPs and contract negotiations as well as staff support during critical upgrades in technology.  

When other providers don’t have a live support person who knows the client’s business well enough to help them, Tangoe delivers multiple levels of service excellence. Our experts are trained to explore the client’s business and the problems they are trying to solve, always asking “Why is this important to you?” In doing this, we open conversations about the business and answer questions more fully, explaining all the different ways a client can arrive at the information they need to solve a problem. And it all starts with your assigned customer success manager, who helps you recognize the outcomes you’re looking for.  

Don’t miss the other articles in this series:  
ITEM Pitfalls: When Speed-to-Savings Turns into an Implementation Nightmare 
ITEM Pitfalls: When the Inventory and Shifts in Technology Turn into a Data Dumpster Dive