What is Telecom Expense Management (TEM)?

Telecom Expense Management (TEM) is a term that describes a range of tasks, processes, technologies, and services that enable an organization to better manage and control their costs and assets related to telecommunications services. Telecom services commonly include fixed wireline communications services such as voice, data, and network services. Telecom optimization efforts typically include reducing costs and waste by making more efficient use of existing communications investments.

Tangoe offers a Telecom Expense Management (TEM) solution, called Tangoe One Telecom, which helps organizations achieve granular visibility into their telecom services and greater control over their telecom expenses, assets, and invoices. Tangoe’s TEM software also automates manual, labor-intensive financial management processes to drive efficiency, productivity, and cost savings for IT and financial leaders overseeing communications technologies. With a lean list of telecom services and fewer wasted resources, companies can reach higher ROI on their technology investments and improve financial sustainability for long-term growth.

Learn more about Tangoe, and stay up to date on expense management by reading our 2024 IT Trends and Savings Recommendations.

As businesses change and grow, so do their telecom services. But over time, that list of can grow into an archived collection of purchases rather than a lean portfolio of services actually used. This is where Tangoe steps in to help rationalize each telecom resource, so companies can get the most value from the communications services they pay for, get the best deal the market has to offer, and leverage automation for more productivity when it comes to handling all those invoices and vendors.

Rationalizing Telecom Costs and Reducing Waste

Tangoe One Telecom helps IT, finance and procurement teams answer questions like: What telecom services do we still have? Who uses them? Are any services going to waste? How much are we spending with each provider? Where are our communications services growing or shrinking? What services are antiquated and need to be upgraded? Where can we consolidate vendors and leverage economies of scale? How can we optimize our telecom or IT budget and get more out of the dollars we spend?

Mapping current telecom services against the needs of the business is often the first step in telecom service optimization, ensuring all existing phone lines and network services are in full use. Identifying any areas of telecom service waste is the best way to uncovering cost savings opportunities. This is particularly important as many business models have shifted and office locations have changed in the wake of the 2020 pandemic. As such, it’s not uncommon to find telecom services still being billed to the company even after an office has closed.

Tangoe can help these leaders establish, track, and maintain a portfolio of communications technologies and services that are well-managed and never go unused or wasted.

Updating Telecom Contracts and Terms to Get the Best Deal

Telecom services are typically two-year or five-year contracts that need to be updated and reevaluated, which can be a chore for finance and procurement teams requiring market price intelligence alongside an updated needs assessment. Whether its utilizing our procurement tips or full-scale involvement, Tangoe can simplify this work, helping companies answer questions like:

  • How can I drive to the lowest cost for the telecom services we need? Can I leverage our telecom usage information to avoid overpaying for services? How do our current telecom service rates compare to the best prices in the industry?
  • Can someone help coordinate our RFP process or even negotiate our contract renewal for us?
  • Are there automated ways to manage our telecom service orders? How can we better govern who orders new services, control what they order, and automate the approval process?

Tangoe’s TEM platform offers deep visibility and governance tools for procurement, while Tangoe Advisory Services expand the depth and breadth of our software with cost management consultants and professional contract negotiation artists offering full-service contract and RFP support. Learn more about Tangoe Advisory Services team’s free cost savings assessments and how they save companies $250M annually, or check out our brochure on Tangoe Advisory Services for Telecom.

Elevating Productivity for Telecom Financial Management

From approving and reconciling invoices to allocating telecom service costs across different departments to keeping a pulse on IT budgets and forecasting, finance teams have a lot of ground to cover. Tangoe can help drive efficiency, making it easier to financially administer and oversee telecom services. Tangoe One Telecom can help financial analysts leverage automation, software, and services to do things like:

  • Process invoices quickly with AI, parsing out critical information and cataloging it in all the right places
  • Compare invoices to usage, pinpointing any billing errors or confirming that a bill is accurate
  • Automate invoice approval processes
  • Pay invoices, paying multiple bills at one time for timely payments that avoid late fees

The lifecycle of a telecom service spans everything from initial contract negotiation and service installation to managing and overseeing orders, invoices, service level agreements, changes in service, renewals and more. The Tangoe One Telecom Expense Management platform has software features and services that support management tasks at every phase of the service lifecycle.

Tangoe’s TEM solution includes software and services across these areas of telecom management:

  • Telecom Service Orders: Telecom Order Management features provide the ability to place telecom orders with vendors, tracking services through completion and then updating the inventory of services. Features also allow visibility into service changes as they occur.

  • Telecom Inventory & Management: Telecom Inventory and Inventory Management are key functions that involve the development and maintenance of a database of telecom services. The inventory is comprised of vendor data, orders, service details, invoices, and more. Inventory Management provides centralized visibility and control over telecom costs, serving as a single source of truth. Learn more about Telecom Inventory Management with Tangoe.

  • Telecom Invoice & Expense Management: Telecom Invoice Management is a set of features designed to simplify, streamline, and centralize end-to-end invoice processing. Automation, software and services offer the ability to:
    • Collect invoices, auditing invoices against the list of services tracked in the inventory
    • Normalize data across all vendors (helpful for apples-to-apples cost comparisons)
    • Compare invoices against contracted service rates, identifying billing errors
    • Compare actual costs against projected expenses, budgets, and forecasts – and alert to cost overruns
    • Manage billing disputes, track credits owed, and recover refunds from vendors
    • Route invoices through approval workflows
    • Allocate costs to any associated departments or cost centers, handling chargebacks, ancillary uplift charges, and more

  • Auditing and Optimization Services: Tangoe’s auditors identify all existing services, billing errors, unused services, and opportunities for cost savings, bringing forward recommendations and actionable ways to cut costs. Tangoe also takes action on those insights, tracking potential savings and actual dollars saved. Using a cost savings assessment process, auditors can also conduct initial research to establish a baseline of current telecom spending, comparing existing costs to market price indexes to estimate how much could be saved by switching providers.

  • Bill Pay Services: Invoice payment services to ensure timeliness and eliminate the risk of incurring late fees across all providers

  • Reporting & Analytics: As a single source of truth, Tangoe One Telecom offers a ‘big picture’ view of telecom spending and service usage, detailing consumption habits by provider and slicing usage data even down to the individual user. With Tangoe Analytics you have the most comprehensive view of your telecom spend with the ability to extract executive reports to make informed decisions that drive measurable returns for your company. Tangoe’s TEM platform makes it easy to:
    • Pinpoint your most costly vendors and services, seeing costs per unit
    • Filter costs by location, cost center or service type
    • Understand spending trends, knowing how and where services are growing

Smarter Telecom Investments

At the highest level, Tangoe One Telecom software and services help bridge the gap between IT and finance teams, empowering financial sustainability and strategic decision making for smarter technology investments. This ensures that IT spending doesn’t outpace business performance, thereby allowing the enterprise to innovate and grow in the long term.

Transparency that Facilitates Cost Savings and Simplified Financial Oversight

At deeper levels, Tangoe offers transparency into telecom assets and their costs.

Fixed Telecom Expense Management delivers complete visibility into wireline costs, usage, cost overruns and other charges. It provides the ability to track the lifecycle of contracts, and compare contracts and rates, which helps in identifying cost savings. In fact, it’s easy to wrap your arms around how much you spend across each service provider. Plus, accounts payable/general ledger files can be generated, keeping the TEM solution platform in sync with the client’s financial system. This facilitates cost allocations making it easy to configure and automatically apply invoices across corporate departments, cost centers, and general ledger accounts.

Tangoe’s TEM solution provides detailed reporting and analytics for the entire telecom environment, helping to manage day-to-day tasks. With this data, customers have a better understanding of all telecom spending. For example, dashboards link services, invoices, and costs to departments and locations displaying current and historical spending trends. Seeing services broken down by locations, cost centers, and employee users makes it easier to optimize resources, cut costs, and drive financial predictability.

The result? Paying only for what you have, need, use and agreed to.

Read more about the benefits others have seen from using Tangoe One Telecom:

If your business is still using traditional, copper line telephone systems, it’s never been more important to upgrade them to modern, digital phone services. Legacy services known as Plain Old Telephone Services (POTS) and Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) services are being permanently retired, and in some cases, suddenly shut off by providers. Rising POTS & PSTN prices coupled with abrupt cutoffs and potential service disruptions have many companies in a frenzy to transition their services.

Here are some helpful resources that shed light on the situation and the end-of-life process for legacy telephony systems:

Tangoe can help companies of all sizes avoid service outages and reduce telecom costs by migrating POTS & PSTN services to modern equivalents. In fact, Tangoe helped a large manufacturer save $62,000 by upgrading their POTS services. From auditing all existing lines and exploring which digital alternative is best suited to cost-effectively deliver, to implementing Voice over IP (VoIP) solutions, Tangoe offers end-to-end POTS & PSTN solutions. We can catalog your copper lines, pinpoint cost savings opportunities, handle RFP processes, and build a seamless migration plan for your team to execute. Better still, Tangoe’s telecom experts can execute that plan for you – keeping your team focused on more strategic initiatives. Browse the full range of services in our POTS & PSTN solution brochure.