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What is Technology Expense Management?
Technology expense management is a method and toolset employed by enterprise organizations to track technology and derive actionable insights on their IT assets and services. With solutions like brightfin, TEM services provide increased visibility into technology inventories and optimize efficiency through automation, thus generating cost savings. With each passing year, large corporations face the challenge of staying up-to-date with technology all while balancing expenses, equipment needs, and maintaining their bottom line. This challenge can put the finance and IT departments at odds with each other as they struggle to use their own separate legacy tracking systems which rarely interface with each other.
This leads to expensive manual overhead, poor data visualization, and slow response times. There is nowhere this problem is more evident than with managing mobile devices and service plans. With today’s mobile-dependent workforce, there might be hundreds if not thousands of devices and dozens of applications whose management requires corporations from multiple departments within the organization.
Technology expense management (TEM services) can provide value by acting as an automated liaison between these groups. Put simply, technology expense management solutions help businesses maintain an actionable picture of all of their technological assets and services. This includes everything an asset might require from its acquisition to its deployment, to maintenance throughout its life cycle, and finally to its retirement. This includes managing contracts with providers, servicing, monitoring usage, and bill payment.
This type of expense management system must be flexible and be able to adapt to the ever-changing future of technology so it can grow with a company as it acquires new services and implements new application stacks. When this type of asset management is managed well, it not only saves the company time and money, but it can also help forecast future spend and usage and help scale accordingly.
Key-Value Technology Expense Management Solutions Provide
TEM services cover:
TEM services allow an enterprise to work smarter by centralizing and simplifying complex tasks:
- Business Intelligence including advanced reporting and analytics
- Automated invoice audits
- IT asset management best practices
- Inventory management, change control, and compliance tracking
- Procurement, order management, fulfillment, and accounts payable
- Employee expense management and reimbursement
Without an organized system, collecting data from all of these elements, organizing it, and analyzing it against standards can be a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. Broken and inefficient workflows lead to costly errors which in turn can lead to inaccurate forecasting. Through a technology expense management system, these workflows can be automated which provides a huge boost in speed and accuracy, two things that are indispensable in today’s marketplace. This, in turn, reduces the demands on IT expense management and finance teams, letting them focus on the work that matters.
[VIDEO] What is Telecom Expense Management (TEM)?
Benefits of Technology Expense Management
Optimization of IT spend:
- Financial Savings: TEM allows for significant savings across mobile, cloud, and fixed/telecom services by identifying and eliminating inefficiencies.
- Resource Optimization: Identify and reallocate or eliminate underused or unused services, devices, and plans.
- Invoice Auditing: Automatic auditing of invoices with configurable audit rules ensures accurate billing and uncovers areas for additional savings.
Streamlining IT and Finance processes:
- Data-Driven Decision-Making: Advanced data analytics turn large data sets into actionable insights for strategic decision-making.
- Investment Review and Governance: Incorporate digital investment reviews and governance enterprise-wide to manage digital business performance more efficiently.
- Simplified Processes: Streamline order fulfillment, auditing, asset management, and payment processes, enhancing efficiency and freeing up valuable resources.
Security and compliance:
- Customized Policies: Deploy security and compliance policies that fit your unique organizational environment.
- UEM Integration: Integrate UEM asset inventories and actions from leading providers with ServiceNow through APIs for a comprehensive view of all assets.
- Enhanced Compliance: By keeping a tight rein on your assets and expenditures, ensure adherence to industry standards and regulatory compliance.
Enhanced Transparency and Visibility
- Visibility: TEM services aim to provide an overview of technology expenses across various departments. This could include tracking of mobile, cloud, and fixed/telecom expenses.
- Data Analytics: These services often include tools to interpret and use data to support decision-making processes, although the complexity and depth of these tools can vary.
- Customization: Some TEM services offer customizable dashboards to help focus on key data points and trends relevant to your organization’s specific needs.
- Technology Expense Management thus delivers benefits that go beyond cost savings, improving operational efficiency, compliance, and security across your technology ecosystem.
How TEM Optimizes Technology Costs
Mobile Expense Management
As organizations embrace remote operations, they are compelled to deploy increasingly complex mobile environments, each with its own set of costs and challenges. This scenario demands sophisticated Mobile Device Management (MDM) strategies. From IT to finance to end users, everyone faces the implications of growing mobility requirements. Without the right solutions in place, managing mobile endpoints can rapidly transform into a logistical nightmare. This is where Technology Expense Management (TEM) providers, like brightfin, come to the rescue. Offering data-driven insights, brightfin helps you optimize your IT expenditure and significantly reduce costs across your mobile environment. Through automated invoice processing and advanced analytics, brightfin was able to save VITAS Healthcare $384k in hard costs during the company’s growth from 500 to 1,000 devices.
Telecom (Fixed) Expense Management
Telecom costs, particularly for fixed line services, can rapidly spiral out of control without a dedicated system for management. TEM solutions, like those provided by brightfin, empower your team to save both time and money by unifying and streamlining various processes. Highly detailed voice and network expense information is combined with automated solutions for invoice processing, reporting, analytics, chargebacks, and more, resulting in a hassle-free and cost-effective approach to managing fixed line costs. To delve deeper into the nuances of telecom expense management, check out our comprehensive, free 2023 guide.
Cloud Expense Management
The cloud represents a double-edged sword. On one hand, it offers vast scalability and flexibility. On the other, it can lead to spiraling costs if not properly managed. A robust TEM solution gives you a clear picture of your cloud spend, allowing you to allocate the right spend to the right departments and initiatives. brightfin, for example, eliminates the tedious, manual tasks associated with cloud expense management. No more poring over cloud bills, processing invoices, or struggling with cost allocations.
Beyond the direct management of technology expenses, an effective TEM solution ensures that all internal teams have the tools and resources they need to perform their roles effectively. This might include automated reporting for finance, inventory tracking for IT, or usage analytics for department heads. At brightfin, our solution is designed to support all stakeholders across your organization, enhancing efficiency, promoting collaboration, and driving cost savings at every level.
How TEM Services Can Streamline Your Business Processes
IT expense management tools arose as a result of enterprise organizations needing to get a better handle on their assets and services. These assets and services are often distributed among mobile, fixed, and cloud meaning organizations need a consolidated way of viewing their infrastructure. At its core, IT expense management tools provide greater visibility and control of the technology inventory and reduce areas of inefficiency to generate cost savings.
Each company’s needs are unique and dynamic, which means there is no one-size-fits-all solution to help visualize IT inventory and usage. With more employees working away from the office, it has become necessary for companies to move beyond large corporate telephone systems to a model where every employee is issued a smartphone.
Legacy tracking systems are not equipped to handle these multifaceted networking solutions which have challenges including VoiP, security, and cloud-based applications. Without a technology expense management system, enterprises struggle to keep up with advances in networking in order to stay competitive while working to balance current business needs. They waste time working with outdated tools that can no longer keep up with the sheer amount of data that must be processed. Fixing this outdated system is needed but prioritized behind other, more urgent, issues.
Using legacy systems has another large drawback; they require more resources. Sifting through thousands of lines of billing data by hand to verify expense, compliance, and data usage is a time-consuming and painstaking process. Automated systems can do the same work faster and more accurately.
Modern technology expense systems can deliver up-to-date information, allowing an enterprise to optimize its business workflows. This allows time and money-wasting issues to be spotted until long after the fact and is even more difficult to correct.
Who Needs TEM Services?
Businesses rely on the speed and flexibility that technology provides. As 5G, IoT, and many more new technologies proliferate, organizations’ IT expenses continue to skyrocket.
Over time, the list of technology including telephones, smartphones, tablets, and laptops with cellular data plans, not only gets longer as new technology hits the market, but the number of end-users who rely on the technology goes up. This all leads to complexity and a lot of manual processes which are prone to errors.
Forrester Research estimates that “billing errors average 5% to 12% of telecom services budgets”
If you don’t have the visibility to watch for errors, you likely aren’t seeing them.
One of our customer’s mobile management needs grew organically as the organization expanded through mergers and acquisitions. With only one person in procurement managing all of their mobile devices manually through email, spreadsheets, and carrier portals, the situation quickly became overwhelming.
“Our lag times were huge and our customer service was way down”, said their IT Manager of Global Service Delivery. “We uncovered about $250k per year being wasted on terminated employees with active lines and other nonessential spend.”
Now that is an enormous cost but without the right tools, they had no idea. Complexity also brings a lot of manual work just to process invoices. Telecom and IT asset inventories often include tens, hundreds, or thousands of monthly invoices, circuits, and devices. Organizations need automated expense management processes, whether in-house or outsourced.
According to Gartner, “at the heart of any TEM services offering is an automated software platform used by the business or by an external service provider managing a company’s telecom invoices and assets.”
Impact of Not Having TEM Services
Without an effective TEM solution in place, organizations, like VITAS Healthcare, often face hurdles in managing their technology expenses and mobile device inventories. Prior to implementing brightfin’s solution, VITAS was confronted with inefficiencies in device life cycle management, manual tracking, and a lack of visibility into device inventory. This not only posed a challenge in terms of operational efficiency but also resulted in potential productivity losses and heightened costs. The risk of overspending on unused devices and unnecessary services was substantial.
[FLOW CHART] How does a traditional TEM work?
Traditional TEM Practices
The provided flowchart illustrates a standard TEM process. In traditional settings, data is often taken from ServiceNow and transferred to external TEM systems. This practice, while common, involves extracting information for specialized processing in various expense management systems. It caters to companies seeking flexibility and that are accustomed to utilizing multiple platforms for their technology expense management.
Traditional Technology Expense Management (TEM) has been primarily focused on managing expenses related to telecommunications services, including fixed, mobile, and data communications. Over time, this scope has expanded to encompass a wider range of IT services, such as cloud and software expenses.
A traditional TEM solution generally involves several key components:
- Inventory Management: This involves keeping track of all devices, contracts, and services that an organization is using. In the past, this often required manual input and maintenance, which could lead to errors and inefficiencies.
- Invoice Management: Traditional TEM solutions would collect and process invoices from different vendors, ensuring they are paid on time and checking for discrepancies or errors. Again, this process was often manual, requiring significant resources and potentially leading to mistakes.
- Expense Optimization: One of the main goals of TEM is to identify areas for potential cost savings. This could involve identifying unused or underused services, negotiating better contracts, or changing usage behaviors. While this aspect is vital, it could be limited in traditional TEM systems due to lack of real-time data and analytics.
- Reporting and Analytics: Finally, traditional TEM systems would provide reports on expenses, usage, and savings. These reports were often static, providing a snapshot of a particular period rather than real-time insights.
While traditional TEM systems provided value, they were often limited by their manual processes and lack of real-time, actionable data. Today’s TEM solutions, like brightfin, aim to overcome these limitations through automation, integration, and advanced analytics, providing a more effective and efficient way to manage technology expenses.
The brightfin Approach to TEM
Unlike traditional TEM solutions, brightfin is an advanced technology expense management solution that’s natively built on ServiceNow, the world’s leading digital workflow platform. This integration provides a more streamlined, efficient, and accurate way to manage technology expenses. Here’s how brightfin works:
- Integrated Inventory Management: brightfin automatically pulls all technology-related inventory data into a unified view within ServiceNow. This includes not just mobile and fixed telecom services, but also cloud subscriptions, hardware assets, and more. This integration eliminates the need for manual entry and updates, reducing errors and ensuring you always have an accurate, up-to-date inventory.
- Invoice Management within ServiceNow: Rather than needing to process invoices separately, brightfin brings all of your technology invoices directly into ServiceNow. This enables you to automate payment processes, validate invoices against contracts, and identify billing errors or discrepancies – all without leaving the ServiceNow platform.
- Real-Time Expense Optimization: With brightfin, you can analyze and optimize your technology expenses directly within ServiceNow. By leveraging real-time data and advanced analytics, brightfin identifies cost-saving opportunities such as unused or underutilized services, duplicate charges, and opportunities for contract negotiation.
- Visualizations and Analytics: brightfin offers robust reporting capabilities, again within the familiar environment of ServiceNow. You can visualize your technology expenses, track trends over time, and generate insights to inform your technology strategies. Plus, because all data stays within ServiceNow, your team doesn’t need to switch between platforms or manually compile data for reporting.
- Scalability and Adaptability: As your organization grows and evolves, brightfin adapts with you. The system can easily accommodate new services, vendors, or changes in your organizational structure. And since it’s built on ServiceNow, it can also take advantage of any new capabilities that ServiceNow adds in the future.
By integrating directly with ServiceNow, brightfin keeps all your technology expense data in one place, simplifies the management process, and provides deeper insights than traditional TEM solutions. This means your team can focus more on strategy and less on manual data management and analysis.
Brightfin Can Help with Technology Expense Management
Effective Technology Expense Management hinges on possessing the right blend of knowledge, expertise, and technology platform that empowers you to manage assets, expenses, and services efficiently without overwhelming effort and extensive expertise. Outsourcing to a seasoned expert like brightfin is an astute choice in this regard.
Unlike traditional TEM systems, brightfin adopts a modern, software-based approach that leverages the power of the ServiceNow platform to simplify, streamline, and optimize management of technology assets, expenses, and services. It’s designed to eliminate cumbersome processes and significantly cut down on time-to-implementation. In fact, where many software integrations can take up to a year before they are fully functional, brightfin guarantees a swift setup – typically, companies are up and running on the brightfin software within just 60-90 days.
As you contemplate transitioning from legacy tracking systems to a more holistic TEM system, it’s imperative to ensure it aligns with your specific needs and that it has the potential to grow alongside your business. brightfin ensures a tailored fit, meticulously customizing the program to meet your company’s unique requirements. This maximizes service efficiency while keeping costs at bay.
Furthermore, brightfin is not just a static solution – it’s dynamic and constantly evolving. Its suite of TEM and MDM services continuously expands and adapts based on client feedback and requirements. With brightfin, you get a solution that is perpetually enhancing, ensuring it stays in lockstep with your company’s growth and evolving needs.