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The TEM Industry has to Change An Eight-Part Article Series

We’ll be publishing these eight articles between September and December 2022. Be sure to subscribe to AOTMP® Insights to be notified of the latest releases. 

  • So much has changed and yet so much has stayed the same.
  • $4+ trillion in products, services, and solutions … a huge industry.
  • There is a reason we can’t get more than a handful of $50 million plus TEM providers.
  • Why is it that many other industries have gone from nothing to billion-dollar industries … but not TEM?
  • The service provider environment – carriers, mobility providers and others.
  • Call it technology, cloud, SaaS, network, or anything else … it doesn’t fix the problem.
  • Why is there so much churn in this industry?
  • We’re stuck in the past – the hamster wheel
  • The impact of private equity – what it has helped and what it has not.
  • Opportunities are everywhere … for businesses, for vendors and for financial partners.
  • Quotes, recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.
  • When will enterprises place value on other aspects of TEM, and not just cost savings?
  • Is there value on just having an accurate inventory?
  • Is there value on just getting your invoices processed and ready to pay on time?
  • Is there value on leveraging the buyer knowledge with seller technology?
  • How do vendors better demonstrate value other than hard-dollar cost savings?
  • A great presentation with not one word of hard dollar cost savings … would a buyer buy it?
  • How do organizations like Salesforce or ServiceNow sell without a focus on hard dollar savings?
  • Quotes, recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.
  • What must change in the selling and buying process?
  • Procurement has a role, but it’s not to stop all communications between the buyers and the sellers.
  • Communications must change, be more transparent and open throughout the process.
  • The fishing expedition – why do enterprises send out 300 question RFP’s, make the TEM vendors jump through hoops, when they plan to stick with what they have, or they don’t even have budget approval?
  • What do the vendors gain by pitching smoke and mirrors and saying they can do everything, even when they can’t?
  • You’re looking for your 4th, 5th, 6th or even 7th TEM provider. Isn’t it time to look in the mirror?
  • You’re pitching to an organization on their 4th TEM provider? That should prompt a different discussion.
  • Quotes, recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.
  • Say What? The $30 million annual spender who saves $1 million each year. Soon it should be free?
  • The more spend I manage, the more I need to charge versus the more savings I create for my customer, the better I am.
  • My TEM provider is no longer saving me any money and therefore I can’t justify the cost and need to change providers? Is the provider doing a poor job or a good job?
  • Save Me Money? Yes, but not so much that it makes me look bad.
  • What do you mean you found me $5 million in savings? That’s going to cost me my job.
  • The CIO of a $100 million spender who said “if you save me more than $1 million a year, you will be fired”
  • It’s Ground Hog Day. I keep saving the same money over and over again.
  • What about the root cause? Where is the focus on the core challenges?
  • Quotes, recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.
  • When will there be real partnerships created between buyers and sellers?
  • Why is it that buyers and sellers can’t seem to communicate at the first sign of trouble … and it only gets worse from there?
  • When will the enterprises realize that there is no perfect solution in this very complex and difficult industry?
  • When does an accurate inventory become the most important discussion point?
  • Everyone wants a great relationship, but enterprises oftentimes don’t let the vendors talk to the business owners during the initial sales process. How does that create a foundation for a successful relationship?
  • The Quarterly Business Review (QBR) … the focus needs to change. It’s not about all the great things we have done. We just love to drive from the rear-view mirror and you know how that ends up.
  • Quotes, recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.
  • What is a Telecom and Mobility Management Center of Excellence anyways?
  • Vendors and business customers really can work together to build a world class telecom and mobility management environment.
  • Who are the critical stakeholders on the vendor side and what role do they play?
  • Who are the critical stakeholders on the enterprise / buyer side and what role do they play?
  • Telecom and mobility management functions don’t need to be the support organization in your company – position it to be a driver of business results.
  • How do all parties show more value and contributions to the business?
  • Quotes, recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.
  • AOTMP®’s top five recommendations to buyers.
  • Recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.
  • AOTMP®’s top five recommendations to sellers.
  • Recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.

Series Overview

AOTMP® is a 19-year-old company that has both vendor and business customers in the telecom, mobility, and IT management industry. We have been consultants and trusted advisors for all customers in the past. We have collected data from our database of over 100,000 emailable industry professionals. We know what works. We know what doesn’t. Today, AOTMP® is an information services company supporting telecom, mobility, and IT professionals across the globe through training, certifications, association memberships, events & programs, best practices, publications, resources, and professional development. 

We see the great relationships. We see the churn. We hear about the great buyers and the unreasonable buyers. We hear about the effective and the ineffective vendors. We see the buyers who will never have a successful TEM program until they change internally. We see the sellers who will say anything and go beyond reasonable ethics to get a deal. We hear the vendors who say they have never lost a customer, yet we can easily dispute it. We see the enterprise buyers who put 100% of the blame on their vendor, yet the greatest challenge is within their own organization. We see the many happy relationships and we see the many relationships that just exist because it’s too painful to change. And we see the major investor wins along with huge investor losses in the tens of millions of dollars. We see it all. 

As we watch many other industries become multi-billion-dollar industries, from the CRM industry to the bill payment industry to ITSM with ServiceNow growing to nearly $6 billion in 20 years, the TEM segment of our telecom, mobility, and IT management industry just continues to struggle. That’s concerning given the significant opportunities on both the buyer and seller side, which in turn drives the investor side. There are so many growth opportunities; however, they are offset by so many inhibitors. It all just says, as buyers and sellers, we just haven’t yet figured out how to execute. There is no reason we can’t work together and have billion-dollar telecom and mobility management vendors serving world-class telecom and mobility management Centers of Excellence, with both sides making a much more significant contribution to overall business results. 

So, the question is how do we move the industry forward? How do we move to a new level? Or can we? If not, what happens to the industry? Does the waste and inefficiency just continue, and we live with it? Do we just continue to make marginal improvement? Do we continue in the very fast-moving hamster wheel we live in? After all, we do have a lot of great vendors and a lot of great buyer environments, but not enough to make an industry out of the huge opportunity sitting in front of our eyes.

Given the multi-billion-dollar industry opportunity, offset by the significant growth inhibitors, we had to do something. We had to start. It will be like moving a mountain, but for the good of the industry, we had to take the first step. We started with two articles, the first focused on vendor recommendations for buyers followed by buyers’ recommendations for vendors. Then, in July, we held our first Industry Solution Showcase where we re-imagined how buyers and sellers connect. It was a great success from both sides. Everyone is looking for something different. 

Armed with all the insight and experience, and feedback from the first three initiatives, we decided to author this eight-part article series, not to just point out all the challenges, but to bring awareness to all the growth opportunities right in front of us if we can work together to affect change. It must start somewhere, and it starts with one vendor and one buyer, then two vendors and two buyers, and builds from there. 

You can follow along with the eight-part series in our AOTMP® Insights publication. And you can be assured there will be more initiatives to follow. It doesn’t stop here. Already in planning are initiatives at our annual AOTMP® Engage conference, potential webinars, and promoting Industry Value Challenge submissions we mention and receive throughout the Series. And there will be plenty more. 

Given what we have seen in the industry over the years, along with what we see and hear today, we believe the greatest opportunities for growth for both the vendors and the businesses lie in five core areas. You will see this theme throughout the Series.

We believe the greatest opportunities for growth for both the vendors and the businesses lie in five core areas.

Improving the buy and sell process.

Agree to open and transparent communications throughout the process, regardless of the issue.

Developing stronger vendor – customer partnerships.

Problems are going to happen; commit to focusing on solutions, not penalizing each other.

Focusing on value beyond cost savings.

Help each other identify, quantify, and realize value beyond cost savings.

Building world class telecom and mobility management Centers of Excellence.

Work together to build environments that contribute to overall strategic business results.

Accelerating buyer and seller growth opportunities.

Help each other identify opportunities for growth in their respective businesses.

Building a Center of Excellence

A Center of Excellence (CoE) is a group or team that collaborates and utilizes best practices around a specific focus area or business practice to drive business results. Telecom, mobility, and IT management becomes a CoE when two fundamental principles of business acceleration are adopted. 

First, a singular mission is required. Alignment of technical, financial, and operational objectives within the telecom, mobility, and IT environment must be achieved to reach this goal. This means that telecom, mobility, and IT management practitioners will operate in harmony as a singular center of business excellence. By aligning these objectives, conflict between work groups can be minimized and execution on a single, business-focused telecom management strategy will prevail. 

Second, telecom, mobility, and IT management strategy must explicitly address how the environment is utilized to drive bottom line business results. This is achieved through mining telecom, mobility, and IT environment transaction and usage data and then correlating it with business performance data. When this occurs, enterprises gain clear visibility into the business value of the telecom, mobility, and IT environment and the practice of managing it. 

A telecom, mobility, and IT management CoE contains 11 components that are equally important to the success and influence of the CoE on business results.

1.Leadership

Establishing a CoE starts with clear ownership. A practice leader responsible for defining success metrics, aligning initiatives with strategy, and guiding the CoE and team through successful execution is paramount. An executive sponsor and steering committee with representatives from various geographic regions, business units, and departments provides the CoE leader with well-rounded input required to establish comprehensive strategy. 

2. Roles & Responsibilities

CoE discipline leaders are responsible for technical, financial, operational, and business practice competencies. They lead teams that adopt best practices and perform telecom, mobility, and IT management activities across 30 defined practice areas. 

Center of Excellence Practice Leader

Technical
Discipline Leader
Financial
Discipline Leader
Operational
Discipline Leader
Business
Discipline Leader

30 Core Practice Areas

  • Asset Management
  • Auditing
  • Budgeting & Forecasting
  • Business Analysis
  • Change Control
  • Contract Management
  • Data Privacy
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Endpoint Management
  • Exception Management
  • Framework Alignment
  • Governance
  • Help Desk
  • Invoice Processing
  • License Management
  • Network Design
  • Order Management
  • Performance Management
  • Policy
  • Portfolio Delivery
  • Project Management
  • Quality Control & Assurance
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Reporting & Analytics
  • Risk Management
  • Security
  • Service Management
  • Sourcing & Procurement
  • Strategy
  • Vendor Management

Roles and responsibilities within each practice area cover all telecom, mobility, and IT management activities as defined by the Efficiency First® Framework. Each role aligns with key activities and key performance points specific to each role. Depending on the size of the organization, one person may cover multiple roles or multiple people may cover a single role. Specific levels of role and responsibility definition provide for better alignment of individual performance management objectives and CoE results. 

Across the CoE, individual roles include:

Managers activity management

Performers task execution of day-to-day activities 

Contributors provide input and support to task execution 

Beneficiaries business leaders who reap the benefit of activity and CoE execution

3. Policy

Policy documentation and policy management are critical functions in a CoE. Policy needs to be reviewed and updated frequently as business requirements and technology change. Refinement of policy attributes by geography and business unit synchronizes the intent of the policy against specific business objectives. The CoE is responsible for policy updates and organizational education to drive adoption. 

4. Process & Workflow

A CoE is founded on the principle of continuous process improvement. Documented processes and workflows for the entire telecom, mobility, and IT management practice and the linkage of telecom, mobility, and IT management practices to the business are essential. Like policy, process and workflow need to be continually evaluated and optimized against business changes, technology or service changes, and general organization changes. A CoE takes the lead on driving optimization rather than waiting on changes that force a review. 

5. New Technology & Seervices

A key attribute of an effective CoE is technology innovation that drives business results. A CoE actively seeks new services, new technologies, and new solutions in the market that can positively impact the overall efficiency of telecom, mobility, and IT management practices and the overall business. 

6. Reporting

A CoE owns reporting and business analysis of data to determine actionable conclusions that can be gleaned from underlying data used to generate reports. Reporting is driven by business needs with a standard set of reports for each of the seven different stakeholder groups in the organization. Continuous evaluation of reports and the value delivered by reports to each of these stakeholder groups are critical:

Executives ➞ Corporate and organizational business leaders (e.g., CEO, CIO, CTO, COO).

Finance ➞ Financial leaders and workgroups (e.g., CFO, Treasurer, Controller, Accounts Payable, Financial Analyst).

Procurement ➞ Vendor sourcing and selection leaders (e.g., Vendor Management, Procurement Specialist, Legal).

Business Unit Leaders ➞ P&L owners, line of business owners, and department heads (e.g., Line of Business Department Heads).

Internal Customers ➞ All internal fixed and mobile telecom service users (e.g., Systems Users).

Network / Telecom / IT Management ➞ Leadership accountable for network management including fixed & mobile telecom environment strategy and performance (e.g., Vice Presidents, Directors, Senior Managers).

Network / Telecom / IT Operations ➞ Workgroups responsible for network and fixed & mobile telecom operations (e.g., Analysts, Specialists, Workgroup Team Leads).

7. Performance Measurements

Results underpin the value of a CoE. It is important that a CoE establishes and tracks key performance indicators (KPIs). Each KPI illustrates an area of excellence and identifies areas of opportunity for the CoE to exploit.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Leading and trailing performance measures enable the CoE to diagnose performance challenges and identify opportunities across all aspects of telecom, mobility, and IT management practices. See recommended measurements from our Industry Growth Partners.

 

8. Continuous Optimization

Continuous improvement of processes, workflow, and performance results are critical attributes of a telecom, mobility, and IT management CoE. Understanding the impact optimization creates for the overall performance of the environment is necessary. Optimization is a perpetual activity that drives out waste and increases technical, financial, and operational efficiency in a CoE. The Efficiency First® Framework defines 10 specific areas of optimization focus:

People ➞ Resource skills required to achieve peak performance and productivity.

Process ➞ Workflow and procedures that drive technical, financial, and operational efficiency.

Technology ➞ Business systems and software used in telecom, mobility, and IT management practices.

Services ➞ Telecom, mobility, and IT service offerings available to internal customers through the service catalog plus vendor offerings that comprise the network.

Assets ➞ Equipment and devices available to internal customers through the service catalog plus network infrastructure equipment and endpoints.

Licenses ➞ Software licenses available to internal customers through the service catalog plus network infrastructure licenses.

Vendors ➞ Service providers, professional services firms, consultants, carriers, operators, and suppliers of telecom, mobility, and IT goods and services to business customers.

Costs ➞ Total cost of ownership including asset, license, service, and delivery cost.

Contracts ➞ Agreements, amendments, and change orders guiding commercial business relationships.

Compliance ➞ Alignment of business rules and policy with business objectives.

9. Service Delivery Financial Models

Determining the financial model for telecom, mobility, and IT management service delivery is important and impacts the business in a number of ways. Models include: 

  • Straight charge back of service costs to business units (no loaded overhead) 
  • Charge back of service costs plus an administrative fee to fund service delivery 
  • Charge back plus R&D fee plus an administrative fee to fund technology innovation and service delivery 

Each model has variations that should be considered based on business requirements. Whatever model is chosen, it should be managed by the CoE and continuously evaluated for improvement opportunities.

10. Strategy

It is important for the CoE to have a strategy that is evaluated annually and communicated with the organization. Strategic plans address technical, operational, and financial goals; continuous education across the business; user adoption; and business value recognition methods, just to name a few. 

11. Business Alignment

The greatest impact a telecom, mobility, and IT management CoE can make is on the business itself. The CoE should commit to ongoing dialogue as to how the telecom, mobility, and IT management environment can contribute to the key objectives of the CEO and the CIO. The CoE can contribute to organization objectives, and the CoE should take the initiative to show how they can provide that value. This component can provide much more value to the organization than anything else and can drive additional investment in the CoE to further its value. 

See more in our eBook to be published in January 2023, and in the CEO & CIO Blueprint for Extracting More Business Value from Telecom, Mobility & IT Management, also due to publish in 2023.

Summary

A telecom, mobility, and IT management CoE is more than a collection of activities – it’s a structure, a philosophy, and a business value accelerator. By adopting CoE principles and practices, technical, financial, and operational efficiency will be optimized, and the CoE will extend its value beyond the telecom, mobility, and IT management environment into the business by increasing business impact that delivers bottom line business results.

Background

AOTMP University delivers online training and certifications to the Telecom, Mobility, and Cloud / IT management industry.

After 20 years in business, w know what works and what doesn’t. We see the great relationships. We see the churn. We hear about the great buyers and the unreasonable buyers. We hear about the effective and the ineffective vendors. We see the buyers who will never have a successful TEM program until they change internally. We see the sellers who will say anything and go beyond reasonable ethics to get a deal. We hear the vendors who say they have never lost a customer, yet we can easily dispute it. We see the enterprise buyers who put 100% of the blame on their vendor, yet the greatest challenge is within their own organization. We see the many happy relationships and we see the many relationships that just exist because it’s too painful to change. And we see the investor wins along with huge investor losses in the tens of millions. We see it all.

Armed with this experience, we have decided to author this eight-part series, not to just point out all the challenges, but to bring awareness to all the growth opportunities right in front of us if we can work together to affect change. It must start, and it starts with one vendor and one buyer, then two vendors and two buyers and builds from there.

Tim Lybrook
CEO

Timothy C. Colwell
Executive Vice President

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