Choosing the Right Provider for Successful TEM Implementation

TEM IMPLEMENTATION SHORTCOMINGS

Many of the most recognizable TEM Organizations like Tangoe, Calero, CASS, and Sakon all suffer from implementations gone wrong. Based on direct firsthand experience, there are many reasons why problems continue to exist within the TEM space. If addressed and implemented correctly, clients would experience a state of Zen post-installation. Completing a successful TEM implementation is possible if you choose the right TEM Provider.

“Business zen” is an achievable state for some, but not realistic for many organizations that are constantly working on correcting these missteps far into their business relationship, some of which may never recover. 

In our experience, properly managing the demand set and implementation process upfront, while ensuring its completion leads to hard and soft dollar savings realized sooner by our clients.  To achieve successful TEM implementation, you need a TEM provider that offers full and complete visibility to your expense, accurate inventory, and recorded best practices. 

 

TOP 5 FOCUS AREAS TO SELECT A TEM PROVIDER

 

  1. Internal Project Management Team
  2. TEM Provider Rigidness
  3. Inventory – The key to success
  4. Contract Management/Compliance
  5. Process Documentation

 

1. INTERNAL PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION TEAM

 

By not creating a strong team comprised of different stakeholders made up of IT, Finance, and Procurement that are all vested in the success of the engagement, you can limit your goals and also risk dragging out the implementation.  In many cases, organizations take a band-aid approach to this step deferring the required changes based on timing, and actually never revisit the changes that needed to be made.

Lack of a strong project manager with intimate knowledge affecting all the areas impacted by a TEM practice will lover your chances of a successful TEM implementation.  Organizations hire consultants with the hopes that they can fill those voids when the opposite occurs, as these consultants can’t navigate the inner working of an organization because they are not part of the culture, and have difficulty in making forward progress.  The use of consultants as part of the team creates values by navigating the tasks and milestones via intercompany communications.

 

 

2. TEM RIGIDNESS

 

A variety of our experiences with different TEM providers all brought some commonality to the forefront.  Many of these TEM Providers don’t adapt to an organization’s processes but instead ask that the organization change its processes to adapt to their way of doing things.  To put this plainly, that’s jargon to do it our way because it’s cheaper and more profitable for us, instead of giving their customer what they required.  

Identifying upfront before the implementation begins on what will or won’t work is a key part around removing these constraints that can affect inventory, accounts payable, and reporting.  Our subject matter experts help navigate through them and overcoming the problems before they become issues. 

 

3. CLIENT INVENTORY

 

This is the most important issue affecting TEM in a negative fashion.  Not having an accurate inventory will not allow your organization to manage its business effectively.  Time and time again, we see huge gaps around an organization’s inventory managed by a TEM provider.  The problem stems from how the TEM provider looks at billing inventory being the driving factor versus a client validated inventory that the billing inventory is harmonized against, for accuracy and variance checks.

Our experts ensure that inventory is a priority for all engagements.  The value of ensuring all inventory details are captured through client records, vendor reports, and by removing suppressed billing details on invoices, help craft accuracy levels close to 99%.  This leads to better reporting on all levels required for expense visibility, and systemic audits allowing for cost reduction efforts.

 

4. CONTRACT MANAGEMENT

 

An element around the success of TEM comes from Contract Management.  Though not a necessary component to getting your bills paid, this is sometimes overlooked by many organizations and thought of as Phase II of the implementation that never materializes.  

The need for this data is pivotal for your TEM provider to analyze your expenses against your agreements and assist with a successful TEM Implementation.  This will help identify cost savings and set up the thresholds ongoing variance checks.  Simply treading your expenses month over month can help identify issues but if they were wrong, to begin with, you may be limiting your ability to recover your losses.

Our consultants understand the need for this information and we make it a priority to incorporate during the implementation phase, sometimes sparking immediate opportunities for recoveries from overpayments made to vendors. 

 

5. PROCESS DOCUMENTATION

 

Many TEM providers fall short around documenting your existing processes and workflows.   Though pivotal to getting to a steady-state, many TEMs just perform the very minimal tasks and not focus on all that is warranted to areas affecting invoice processing, bill-pay services, and internal chargebacks. 

Cataloging these steps for all your financial processes will help address questions around which financial institutions you interact with, the frequency of changes, and your cost allocation methodology.  This also ties into the various systems that are in play currently and how they would handshake.

 

6. PREMATURE CUTOVERS

 

One major driving factor for failed implementations is directly attributable to timing, in those scenarios affecting moving from one vendor to another, or simply trying to stand up the TEM solution.  The rapid need to transition from one vendor to another is sometimes driven by the breakdown in communication, whereas the incumbent is not aware of the impending change and a renewal effort is pending.  

If the word was leaked out, the incumbent will try and push your organization off their platform creating a sense of urgency to stand up the new solution at suboptimal standards required for a successful new engagement thus leading to many of the items referenced above.

We help organizations with this messaging, strategizing on data capture, and ensuring the doors are never closed so that a smooth transition can take place.

 

IN CLOSING

The above is a condensed view of specific problem areas you need to be aware of concerning any TEM implementation.  Choosing the right provider for successful TEM Implementation will assist you through this effort will result in larger than projected ROI’s on soft and hard dollar savings sooner than you may have projected or budgeted for.

 

Leadership within your organization will commend you at the benefits realized from such engagement and the stakeholders will value the reduced workloads.

Ready to start a successful TEM implementation with Intelligent Bills? Contact us.