V. Getting Your New TEM Provider Up to Speed: A Quick Guide
Preparation will help ensure the transition goes smoothly. Here are six types of documentation you should share with your incoming provider:
1.Comprehensive vendor list
Bring a complete list of all your current telecom and technology vendors to the new TEM provider. This inventory will also help you understand exactly what you have, which will smooth and speed the transition. Be sure you have any user account and password details the new provider will need.
2. Current contracts
If your new vendor is to identify possible cost savings, they must be able to conduct an analysis in which they compare your invoices to the relevant contracts. Your procurement or finance department should have access to digital or paper versions of these contracts.
Pull the latest copy of each vendor’s invoice. Your new TEM provider will need all invoices and catalog account numbers for your telecom estate to set up billing properly. Typically, they’ll need a letter of authorization (LOA) for each communication provider you work with. If your outgoing TEM provider has been managing all of your invoices, you should be able to download that information from their online user portal. The incoming provider should be able to give you step-by-step instructions for this process.
Gather all information about your telecom assets (including LOAs, virtual service records and other documentation) and create a spreadsheet to serve as a complete asset database. Sharing this information with your new TEM provider will give them an accurate catalog of all your assets. The provider should also be able to validate the accuracy of your database. If you don’t have adequate records for this – or haven’t kept track of your assets at all – your new vendor should be able to assemble an inventory for you.
Your new TEM provider’s first goal will be to help you optimize your processes and evolve existing workflows. The provider will ask for any workbooks or process flow documentation you’ve created in the past. Gather this information in advance. Some TEM providers routinely perform a pre-engagement review to identify the processes that will be quickest and easiest to improve first.
6.Accounting & Chargeback Procedures
Your new TEM provider will probably set up invoice processing, bill pay services and internal chargebacks on your behalf. They’ll need information on your current setup so that they can understand your current financial processes, which banks you interact with, how often charges are processed, whether you require cross-charging for multiple internal departments and which chargeback codes you use. In addition, you’ll want to advise the provider on which internal systems are involved in the invoicing and billing processes.
It’s helpful to involve your finance team early on in the transition process (In fact, finance should have a voice in vendor selection, too.). Finance will be able to supply or find all the information your new TEM provider will need, and later on can validate that all bills are being paid on time and that internal departments are being charged correctly. Remember: You’re looking for a provider who will take good care of you – not just at the beginning of the engagement but on a long-term basis. It’s reasonable to expect that you’ll see the greatest improvements early on, when they uncover everything your previous provider missed. But you should also expect to receive clear and consistent reports on how the provider is delivering value going forward. You should always have clear visibility into what the provider is doing on your behalf. Your user portal should offer clean, easy-to-use dashboards that let you drill down deeply into the metrics.
The new contract should also specify everything the provider will manage, name every department that will be involved and delineate each department’s precise requirements. Turnaround time is less important than results.
A good partner will learn, observe and maintain your individual business rules. If you want to pay every invoice upon receipt, that’s what they should do. If you’d prefer to instead pay after 30, 60 or 90 days (or according to some other arrangement), they should follow the appropriate process consistently. The TEM provider’s job is to execute according to your stated and documented procedures
Other areas in which you should create and track provider performance metrics include:
- Inventory accuracy
- Speed of response to trouble tickets
- Regularity, promptness and accuracy of audits
- Accuracy of billing rates
- Billing consistency
If, for instance, one department is charged a different amount than another one, for the same service, the TEM provider should be able to catch and correct the error. Keeping track of your TEM provider’s performance will give you ongoing evidence that you’re receiving high-quality services.