Top 5 criteria to assure the successful rollout of a global telecom expense management initiative

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

The use of telecommunications within large organizations has increased significantly as the business ecosystem of customers, partners and employees has become more complex and globally intertwined. This changing environment now requires investment in a plethora of technologies to successfully conduct business and manage relationships. In response, many organizations have started either to establish or consider a telecom expense management (TEM) initiative.

The successful rollout of a TEM program depends on a number of factors, including the size of the implementation, the multinational nature of the business and the number of stakeholders involved. Whether rolling out a new TEM initiative or assessing an existing TEM program, the five criteria outlined below can help pave the way to a successful deployment.

[ MOBILITY MANAGEMENT: MDM, MAM, MPM, TEM, MEM -- and MOM ]

* First, when starting a TEM initiative, make sure to establish a detailed scope of the project as it helps to define what geographies, services and carriers are of highest priority. Pockets of the organization may already have TEM in place, but a successful plan requires careful examination, prioritization and planning. Consider what countries, languages and currencies will be included in the project and plan accordingly. Depending on the organization, it may make sense to prioritize the countries with the highest spend, the most complex telecom environment or start with regions with modest telecom spend in order to establish some quick wins.

* Second, create a conservative timeline and ensure that the end goal is clearly outlined, whether it's centralizing invoice processing for better control or optimizing mobile rate plans to reduce costs. The compelling requirements for a TEM initiative and related deadlines need to be understood and agreed upon. Implementing the project in a phased approach can be useful in establishing a realistic timeline and help achieve milestones and deadlines. Often times TEM projects will have early "proof points" or justification that the initiative is reaping dividends which will help to support further investment in the broader TEM initiative.

* Third, the involvement of current and future stakeholders is key. Understand who performs what function in each region and country, as well as where there may be challenges and successes. This should be a comprehensive perspective, including order management and provisioning, invoice handling and expense management, and mobile help desk services. Carefully consider how a global approach will change the management of each of these functions in the regions.

* Fourth, consider all of the concerns and nuances on a regional basis. Examine the resources required to address the added complexities that come with managing multiple regions, including different language and currency requirements, diverse internal telecom teams, numerous telecom carriers and unique local business processes, along with laws, policies, accountings principles, and data privacy and protection requirements. It's important to involve internal regional subject matter experts to provide TEM-specific guidance, and work with TEM providers with a global presence and experience who can offer strategic and operational expertise.

* Fifth, as the initiative progresses, promote early successes and results as part of the process, including cost savings due to optimization or better contract negotiations. For many organizations, TEM can be viewed as increased bureaucratic control, so internally communicating alignment with company objectives is a significant part of the process.

Globally rolling out a TEM initiative in your organization is a significant undertaking. Therefore, it is important to communicate a step-by-step process to stakeholders and gain buy-in upfront, not only to ensure that the initiative is on track, but also to confirm that the approach meets the diverse and complicated requirements of an organization. Establishing a solid framework that incorporates the five criteria outlined above can help ensure a successful TEM implementation on a global scale.

Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.

Tags managementunified communicationstelecom expense managementNetworkingTEMinfrastructure managementLAN & WANTelecommunications

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