Business Intelligence: The Key to TEM Success

Today, business intelligence (BI) [which includes advanced reporting, graphical analysis, and budgeting/planning capabilities] promises faster, more automated control over telecom expenses. The change is happening and it’s happening now. The advancement in business monitoring capabilities within next generation telecom expense management solutions lends for some exciting developments and possibilities.

Plan: Put Ideas Together
In the past, organizations would hire a telecom audit to conduct historical audits that would identify overages and inaccuracies. While successful in the short-term, the issue of improving the overall management of telecom expenses is not solved with one time audits, leading to similar mistakes year after year.

Instead of waiting until the problem is unmanageable, begin by establishing clear objectives about getting your telecom expenses in control: start with a plan. Maybe you want to eliminate the use of cumbersome spreadsheets and organize all expenses into one robust reporting tool. Or maybe you’d like the capability to track your organization’s total monthly telecom spend for all services across all vendors. Whatever the desired results may be, establishing the objective in the beginning will avoid the pitfalls of a misguided telecom expense management initiative.

Telecom Budget: Think about Tomorrow
BI reporting capabilities can help track and monitor previous telecom spend and usage. Your telecom and IT data can be captured in reports that provide quick, accurate analysis of the state of your organization’s telecom environment. Anticipating when your organization will be adding several services at once, or recognizing that certain months produce higher telecom costs, is invaluable information. Funneling that information into a graphical dashboard provides accurate executive information and today’s solutions can provide sophisticated drill-down analysis into line item detail often hidden in your source systems. Gauges and graphs support quick, visual analysis.

Forecast: Map it Out
Historical comparisons and trend projections are ways to provide perspective on corporate performance. By monitoring previous spend and usage, trending reports can then be created and key findings can be relayed to the finance department—helping move along key budgeting decisions. Noticing trends and anticipating higher consumption, makes those key budgeting decisions. It is important to be able to “talk the language of finance” with flexible reports that are familiar to your finance team and provides them with the ability to conduct analysis without relying on the IT organization.

Action: Making it Work
When you notice that billing for overall voice usage, for example, starts to stray from historical trends or budgetary projections—you can quickly dive into the data, determine the cause and variance and then take the appropriate action to get back on track. Aligning your information systems to your existing business processes for procurement, inventory management and departmental chargeback is a crucial requirement for success of your telecom expense initiative.

Do you have an example as to how business intelligence has helped or hindered your telecom expense management initiative?

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