It is now the norm for telecom expense management (TEM) providers to have their own TEM platforms. Their systems will typically conform to traditional rationale database standards, and automation will play an important role within the platform functionality to drive efficient expense management relative to processing vendor invoices, managing orders, and continually updating and documenting inventory.
These are great attributes, but often the most efficient and productive aspects of inventory management can be lacking. There are three key drivers of efficiency that enable climbing to the next level of inventory management:
- Strong troubleshooting capabilities
- Digital transformation empowerment
- Best practices inventory management for clean, real-time transparency to network services and assets.
All three inventory efficiency drivers — if done well — can take an enterprise’s use of inventory to the next level with respect to managing services and assets in order to facilitate sound operational decisions relative to budgets and management of change.
Let’s review each of these three areas a little closer to gain greater clarity around how each is important with respect to best-practices inventory management and an overall well-run enterprise expense management program.
Efficiency Driver 1 — Troubleshooting Capabilities
A comprehensive and highly detailed service and asset inventory allows the enterprise to quickly diagnose and troubleshoot issues that arise. For example, in the event of a service outage, management will want to quickly determine the source and nature of the outage. A clean inventory will help facilitate a quicker response and resolution time. Disrupted services can be compared against inventory details quickly for carrier ownership, contact information, account information, and any/all relevant service details (e.g., circuit numbers, speed, features, and other profile data) can be analyzed as necessary to evaluate the best options for service restoration and continuation.
This example is straightforward, but it does illuminate the simple importance of a comprehensive and clean inventory for troubleshooting capabilities relative to expedited service restoration, which is critical during service outages.
Efficiency Driver 2 — Prioritizing Digital Transformation
According to Salesforce, “Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements. This reimagining of business in the digital age is digital transformation.”
This is important, very important. Businesses today need to be nimbler than ever in terms of being receptive to change. This is certainly true for the technology platform they use, but it’s also true relative to their business systems and processes. Do they have the technology and cultural mindset needed to adapt quickly and continue to position the organization for ongoing success? For example, at Tellennium we embrace what we refer to as the Management of Things™ (MoT™). This is our terminology for what is essentially the next industry evolution for enterprise expense management beyond traditional TEM. A clean and highly detailed service/asset inventory will also greatly enhance all digital transformation initiatives. When services can quickly be identified and their attributes detailed (e.g., service type, service speed, and service location), organizational decisions and change can be made quickly and with more surety. An example of the need for a comprehensive and clean inventory relative to digital transformation activities has been highlighted by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly, there was a massive need for enterprises to transform themselves technologically and structurally to employ workers from home, as opposed to traditional office settings. Almost instantly, there was an increased need for more servers and at increased speeds. A comprehensive and clean inventory facilitates any/all service or technology changes.
Efficiency Driver 3 – Best Practices Inventory Management
Having a comprehensive and clean enterprise service and asset inventory is critically important for the enterprise organization that wants to maintain a strong and robust enterprise expense management program that is forward-leaning and ongoing.
It’s a strong technology platform along with best practices, and a “good enough is never good enough” culture that enables competitive enterprises to make sound operational decisions relative to budgetary constraints.
Sound operational and budgetary decisions cannot be made without knowing precisely what you have compared to what is currently available within the marketplace. Investing in the right technology platform for inventory management is important, but it’s not enough.
When enterprise network management teams consider reaching for outside support from TEM providers, they will also want to consider the TEM’s overall consultative approach beyond the technology platform utilized. The importance of the TEM embracing a best practices methodology and fully embracing the digital transformation era cannot be overstated.