An Overview

The Telecom Expense Management (TEM) Industry Has to Change

Scroll to read the overview of this new AOTMP® Insights series, or download the PDF.

Part 2: Value Beyond Cost Savings

Part 3: The Buy & Sell Process

Part 4: The Dichotomy of Savings

Part 5: The Buyer & Seller Relationship

Part 6: Building a Center of Excellence

Part 7: Message to the Buyers

Part 7: Message to the Sellers

It's hard to believe...

  • There are over 10 million

    industry professionals who support the telecom, mobility, and IT management industry.

  • There is over $4 trillion

    being spent globally on telecom, mobility, and IT products, services, and solutions.

  • There is uncontrolled spending

    and waste everywhere and there has been for years.

  • The options for buyers

    are changing daily and faster than ever.

  • There are significant opportunities

    on the buyer side and the vendor side that are not even part of the discussions.

  • And we can’t seem to make a significant industry out of Telecom Expense Management and rebranding TEM as Technology Expense Management hasn’t been the answer: a new approach is required.

And yet we can't seem to get...

  • More than a handful of vendors

    over the $50 million mark, let alone a half a billion mark.

  • High levels

    of customer satisfaction, or customer churn down to reasonable levels.

  • Past the value

    being largely based on cost savings and often artificial cost savings at that.

  • A handle on the complexities

    of the industry from any perspective.

  • So, the fast-moving hamster wheel we are running in just continues to spin.

Of course, there are successes...

  • There are successes

    with the buyers; the business customers.

  • There are successes

    with the sellers; the TEM vendors.

  • There are successes

    with the investors; those funding and buying and selling the TEM providers.

  • There just aren’t enough successes to make it a substantial, fast-growing, or sustainable industry yet.

Part 2: Value Beyond Cost Savings

Part 3: The Buy & Sell Process

Part 4: The Dichotomy of Savings

Part 5: The Buyer & Seller Relationship

Part 6: Building a Center of Excellence

Part 7: Message to the Buyers

Part 7: Message to the Sellers

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.

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. Now we are going to take it a step further and explore the industry, the challenges, and the opportunities, all in an eight-part series to be published in AOTMP® Insights. And there will be more to follow.

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.

AOTMP Industry Growth Partners

AOTMP® Industry Growth Partners are organizations that are committed to “moving the needle” in one or more of the following 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 creating or realizing 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 business.

AOTMP Industry Growth Partner logo badge

Join us if you are:

A buyer/business customer who wants to capitalize on more opportunities to bring a greater contribution and more value to your organization.

A seller/vendor who wants to see more opportunities to grow and help build world-class telecom and mobility management organizations.

An investor/financial partner in the market who wants to see more opportunities and a much higher ROI from telecom and mobility management investments.

Sakon is showing their commitment to change by becoming an AOTMP® Industry Growth Partner.

AOTMP Industry Growth Partner logo badge

From your perspective, and without bringing your solution into it, what are two things that need to change in this telecom and mobility management industry in order for it to be successful and thrive, from both a vendor and a business buyer perspective?

  Stronger vendor – customer relationships that are based on integrity, deep collaboration, and commitment to meaningful results. 

  Improved customer value creation from order and inventory management to expense and payment automation.

In thinking about the areas outlined by AOTMP® that need to improve to accelerate industry growth, please provide one commitment, in the form of a quote, your organization has made to “move the needle” across one or more of these areas. 

“At Sakon, we are 100% committed to achieving the goals of our customers, not our board or investors. This is why we put the industry’s leading SLA framework in place that is backed by verifiable data and reviewed regularly in a collaborative fashion with our customers. With meaningful measurements, constructive dialogue and continual goal setting true partnerships are possible!”

– Dan Hughes, President 

“Affirming customer goals are achieved through verifiable results is the foundation of partnership that will advance the industry.”

~ Timothy C. Cowell, Executive Vice President, AOTMP®

Asignet is showing their commitment to change by becoming an AOTMP® Industry Growth Partner.

AOTMP Industry Growth Partner logo badge

From your perspective, and without bringing your solution into it, what are two things that need to change in this telecom and mobility management industry in order for it to be successful and thrive, from both a vendor and a business buyer perspective?

  The industry should fully embrace automation and be less focus on immediate cost savings. Hyper automation will bring high levels of efficiencies

  Making TEM an Enterprise Level software solution.

In thinking about the areas outlined by AOTMP® that need to improve to accelerate industry growth, please provide one commitment, in the form of a quote, your organization has made to “move the needle” across one or more of these areas. 

“Asignet has embraced 100% hyper automation, our philosophy is that we can’t be stopped by industry norms”

– Jason Koenigsberg, Executive Vice President 

“Solidifying TEM as an enterprise level software solution will advance the industry through its support of a broader group of business stakeholders.” 

~ Timothy C. Cowell, Executive Vice President, AOTMP®

CloudAdmin is showing their commitment to change by becoming an AOTMP® Industry Growth Partner.

AOTMP Industry Growth Partner logo badge

From your perspective, and without bringing your solution into it, what are two things that need to change in this telecom and mobility management industry in order for it to be successful and thrive, from both a vendor and a business buyer perspective?

Buyer: There will be more change in the next 10 years than since the beginning of the IT industry. If I were a buyer, I would be thinking about who has been a trusted partner that I’ve been working with over the past several years and who I could lean on to track all of this untracked data. At the end of the day, my current TEM provider should be calling me to provide new solutions.

Seller: I feel like there is all this data out there that’s just floating around, and nobody is using it to better manage their expenses.  This needs to change.  There are all these insights available that are incredibly valuable to any business. The data needs to be tracked and quantified, then used to provide better support and success for your business.

In thinking about the areas outlined by AOTMP® that need to improve to accelerate industry growth, please provide one commitment, in the form of a quote, your organization has made to “move the needle” across one or more of these areas. 

“Any TEM partner that you are using today provides incredible value to your organization. What CloudAdmin does is to increase the value of every single TEM partner, current or future, in the industry. We’ve incorporated our software and bundled it with any sale in order to bring wider visibility into a problem that’s increasing exponentially. You cannot afford to ignore it.”

– Dave Shepard, EVP Sales and Marketing, CloudAdmin

“Extending the scope of TEM to include cloud services increases the value proposition of TEM and will advance the industry beyond traditional telecom and mobility expense management.”  

– Timothy C. Cowell, Executive Vice President, AOTMP®

Motus is showing their commitment to change by becoming an AOTMP® Industry Growth Partner.

AOTMP Industry Growth Partner logo badge

From your perspective, and without bringing your solution into it, what are two things that need to change in this telecom and mobility management industry in order for it to be successful and thrive, from both a vendor and a business buyer perspective?

Businesses should measure the value of an MMS or TEM partner holistically and not on just hard ROI savings from carrier and telecom bill optimization. This should include:

  focus on protecting end-user productivity 

  total mobility and telecom environment visibility

  admin/user CSAT

  device order management

  support for both BYOD and CL.

  sharing mobility expertise with customers

In thinking about the areas outlined by AOTMP® that need to improve to accelerate industry growth, please provide one commitment, in the form of a quote, your organization has made to “move the needle” across one or more of these areas. 

“Our investment in a flexible MMS technology platform that drives control and optimizes service delivery in driving workforce productivity is a direct response to these widening gaps in customer experience.”

– Mitch Black, Executive Vice President – Motus Device 

“Business customers that recognize and seek the holistic value created by MMS and TEM will advance the industry.”  

– Timothy C. Cowell, Executive Vice President, AOTMP®

Lightyear is showing their commitment to change by becoming an AOTMP® Industry Growth Partner.

AOTMP Industry Growth Partner logo badge

From your perspective, and without bringing your solution into it, what are two things that need to change in this telecom and mobility management industry in order for it to be successful and thrive, from both a vendor and a business buyer perspective?

Businesses should measure the value of an MMS or TEM partner holistically and not on just hard ROI savings from carrier and telecom bill optimization. This should include:

  Telecom service providers must invest in digitizing their workflows and datasets for improved vendor discovery, ease of interaction, and transparency. In 2022, enterprises must pay for expensive software or manually reach out to vendors to determine if a service provider is available at their location, while validating pricing is an even more arduous task. Service providers will have happier customers and do more business if they help their customers automate processes.

  The circuit implementation process is by far the most complained about component of the telecom procurement and management process. Service providers can do a lot to improve this process – digitized installation trackers, better communication process, better process around expectation setting / PM assignment, easier escalations, and more – but they don’t seem to care to innovate in this arena. 

In thinking about the areas outlined by AOTMP® that need to improve to accelerate industry growth, please provide one commitment, in the form of a quote, your organization has made to “move the needle” across one or more of these areas. 

“Lightyear fosters a best-in-class telecom management environment via software and workflow automation for both vendor and customer. Customers who utilize Lightyear save 70%+ of the time they’d spend on procurement activities and 20%+ on the cost side through automated RFPs, best-available pricing every time, automated renewal rebidding, automated ticketing, and more. Vendor partners of Lightyear streamline workflows around quoting, installations, ticketing, and more so that their customers receive the best possible treatment and have higher satisfaction rates.”

– Dennis Thankachan, CEO and Co-Founder

“Rapid and accurate quoting backed by datasets that increase transparency into quotes will advance the industry by improving procurement decision-making.”  

– Timothy C. Cowell, Executive Vice President, AOTMP®

Background

AOTMP® is a global organization, empowering professionals in the dynamic $4+ trillion telecom, mobility, and IT management industry. AOTMP® delivers value through training, certifications, association memberships, events & programs, best practices, publications, resources, and professional development. Learn more at www.aotmp.com.

AOTMP® is a 19-year-old company that has both vendor and business customers in the telecom, mobility, and IT management industry. We have collected data from our database of over 100,000 emailable industry professionals. We know what works. We know 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.

For questions, comments, or feedback, please contact Tim Lybrook, CEO at tlybrook@aotmp.com or Timothy Colwell, EVP at tcolwell@aotmp.com