Accurate IT and telecom inventory is critical for Technology Expense Management (TEM) success because it provides a baseline of information to validate items on bills and produce cost savings.
What should a TEM inventory include?
A TEM inventory consists of any item that appears on an invoice or customer service record (CSR) for a mobile or fixed line, circuit, or service provided by a telecom service provider. This is different from a comprehensive inventory, which includes telecom assets that are important for network management but do not appear on bills or impact costs. Learn more about inventory, download the free ETMA Inventory Standard paper.
How about mobile inventory?
Wireless inventories require additional information, that is not on invoices, for optimization and other Wireless Expense Management (WEM) functions. Inventory for mobile should also include:
- Employee name or identification number
- Employee Status (active or no longer working for firm)
- Job role/function, department, general ledger code, and cost center
- Employee location, region, and country
- Mobile phone number
- Mobile Service Provider
- Plan activation and contract expiration date
- Device model number
- Eligibility date for new hardware that is subsidized or free
- Services: voice, texting, data, international use
- How the bill is paid (direct by company, reimbursement, stipend)
IT/Telecom Inventory to Save Money
An accurate inventory can be used to identify billing errors. In some cases, the charges are wrong: there are incorrect feature charges; duplicate charges; or recurring one-time installation fees. In other cases, there are inactive lines, circuits, and services. If supported with disconnect records, claims can be submitted for refunds or credits. If there are no records, a request should be made to disconnect the inactive lines, circuits, and services to provide future savings and cost avoidance.
Cost avoidance also comes into play when there are charges for items that are obsolete. For example, optimization of an enterprises’ communications infrastructure and network expenses provide savings opportunities from usage studies. Unused or underutilized lines and services can be disconnected. In addition, identification of services that do not have a contract or services that have uncompetitive contracts can help drive savings.
When Evaluating TEM Solutions, Ask About Inventory
When evaluating TEM Solutions Providers, it is critical to clearly define what is included in the inventory. The review must also identify who is responsible for collecting inventory information, how it will be captured, who will verify its accuracy, how data will be entered into the database and who will manage the ongoing cost management functions. TEM providers that don’t bother creating an accurate inventory will have a lower cost structure. These firms will also be stuck on a trajectory that delivers lower cost savings for clients because items on invoices will not be checked for accuracy.
Enterprises that have limited inventory records may find the scope of work to do the initial inventory build requires a special budget for additional resources. Extra costs can often be justified based on savings that an accurate inventory will produce. Finally, it is important to remember that TEM software, combined with experts who understand telecom inventory, are critical to doing this work properly. Learn more about inventory, download the free ETMA Inventory Standard paper.