III. Readying Yourself for Success: Preparing to Switch TEM Providers

Changing TEM providers is no easy task, but many enterprises will need to do it.

According to the Association of Telecom, Mobility, and IT Management Professionals, 47% of organizations will switch between providers over the course of a TEM engagement. As telecom and datacom services become more and more business-critical, it’s essential that you have an appropriate change management plan in place so you can maintain uninterrupted operations throughout the process – and do so as cost-effectively as possible. Here’s our tried-and-true, three-step guide to readying your organization for a switch:

Step 1: Check the Runway Before you decide when to begin, make sure you have the capacity to successfully manage a project of this size and complexity. The search will likely take a few months. Once you’ve settled upon a provider, onboarding will take several more months, with assurance testing requiring additional time afterwards. During that period, you’ll want to be sure there are no lapses in TEM services. This means you’ll need to remain under contract with your outgoing provider. Is the contract nearing its end? Work closely with the new provider to build out a strategy that ensures your TEM program will continue to function during the transition period.

“We were basically paying bills on the fly. There just wasn’t time to verify everything. The best we could do was eyeball and sign. We thought we were spending about $1.5 million, but the real number -- as we found out after implementation -- was closer to $3.5 million.”

-Senior IT Purchasing Analyst

A Fortune 500 company within the healthcare sector reduced their technology and communication expenditures enormously through the visibility that a consolidated platform approach provides.

Step 2: Ask Yourself the Right Questions Prior to getting started, make sure you have a clear understanding of the reasons for the change. Are you looking for: A better price? Every organization wants to save money. In fact, cost savings were probably what you were looking for when you engaged a TEM provider in the first place. But costs aren’t the only factor to look at when evaluating providers – and they may not even be the most important one. Carefully consider the total expenditures associated with the change. A highly-effective TEM provider will create cost savings for you that far exceed the rate you’re paying for their services. And, those savings will go straight to your bottom line Better-quality services than you’re currently receiving? If you’re extremely dissatisfied with your current provider, it’s likely that you’ll suffer even more the longer you wait. Given how long the transition process can take and how much value you stand to gain from improved TEM service quality, you may benefit from getting started sooner rather than later. Access to more advanced technology? Maybe you’re looking for a TEM provider that leverages automation better than your current one. Perhaps you’ve noticed that your provider relies too heavily on manual processes. Or, maybe you’ve observed that they’re making errors or delivering software updates too late. With all the value automation can bring in today’s technology landscape, this is a good reason to make a change. Enhanced visibility into your operational expenditures? Today’s leading vendors make it possible for their customers to view and access all of their invoices and usage tracking metrics from a single, streamlined dashboard. If yours doesn’t offer these capabilities, you could be missing out on multiple opportunities to optimize your IT and communications ecosystem. Capabilities across an expanded geographical area, or even global reach? If your organization is expanding into regions where your current TEM provider doesn’t have a presence, you may have no choice but to make a change.

“We needed to gain visibility into our fixed telecom spending. Our new provider [Calero-MDSL] gave us this, and it allowed us to reduce costs by 10% per year.”

-Director of IT, Planning & Budget

An influential media company slashed their annual communications expenses by 10% right away.

Step 3: Evaluate the Costs of Doing Nothing

It’s easy to disregard opportunity costs when their size and impact isn’t immediately obvious. However, mismanaged telecom spending can add up to millions of dollars in unnecessary annual expenses, especially for a larger enterprise. Inaccurate invoicing, unused infrastructure, unnecessary services can add up to massive amounts of waste. Consider, for example, a home medical equipment provider that was able to shrink its annual telecom expenses from $25 million to $19 million. The company achieved this cost reduction through enhanced visibility by optimizing usage and expenditures. Increasing efficiency and eliminating waste is not the only advantage to making a change. By outsourcing invoicing, provisioning and process management to a provider, many organizations gain enhanced visibility into their own operations, enabling them to better meet the needs of internal departments and other stakeholders. The associate director of technology services at a major university explains that engaging with the right TEM provider enabled his team to be more productive and proactive. “Having this level of visibility enables us to manage the entire environment in a very structured and disciplined way,” he says. “This helps me focus on the important variances, because I don’t have to worry about day-to-day transactions.” Finally, engaging with the right TEM provider can make your business more competitive. By helping you select technologies to better engage your customers, clients or patients, you’ll increase their overall satisfaction. What’s more, implementing tools like business intelligence or advanced analytics can help you improve decision-making in ways that extend far beyond technology spending.

“We achieved significant financial savings across our entire telecom environment. We are no longer using spreadsheets to accomplish things in ways that are time-consuming and error-prone, and this has saved us a significant amount of time as well.”

-Director of Finance

A leading healthcare provider hit 1.5 million in savings during their first year with the new provider, and the benefits continue to accrue. The company recently surpassed 4 million in hard savings alone.

IV. Discerning Excellence: Evaluating Prospective TEM Providers