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Telecom Cost Management Featured Article

May 06, 2010

Going Paperless with TEM Helps Companies Go Green

By Anil Sharma, TMCnet Contributor

Telecom cost management helps companies not only realize dollar savings, but it can also save the environment.

Highlighting TEM as a green initiative, the Telecom Expense Management Industry Association, said as an example that companies that large enterprises that do not have a TEM program receive most of their bills in paper format. Small bills for enterprises' communications services can run hundreds of pages and carriers send thousands of these "shoe box" sized statements to each of their clients each week.

"One of the first initiatives that MDSL undertakes with any new client is to transition them from paper to electronic billing," said Simon Thomson (News - Alert), COO of MDSL America.

Thomson said that for a large multinational with over 80,000 employees, the company now processes more than 50 percent of global telecom spend via e-bills.

According to TEMIA (News - Alert), clients benefit from TEM solution providers' specialized knowledge of carrier billing and software that allows for these telecom bills to be processed electronically.

"Across Asentinel's (News - Alert) customer base, over 80 percent of our collective customer's spend is received via EDI or EDIFACT. This is substantial, considering the significant number of locations and carriers our financial and retail customers manage," said Jason Fisher, chief software architect, and co-founder of Asentinel.

Fisher said that the result is that not only does the customer no longer have to deal with paper invoices for the majority of their spend, but generally the invoices are audited and able to be paid before the paper would have previously arrived.

From an international perspective, government agencies are also seeking to save the environment by eliminating paper. "One local government authority with 3,000 users in the U.K., subscribed to our Wireless Expense Manager service purely for the paperwork reduction," said Peter Readman, director of TT Mobiles.

Readman said that they had been sending every user a paper bill for declaration of which calls were personal. In addition to the green issues, the processing cost per user bill was estimated by them at around $77. With 3,000 users, this led to annual savings of about $2.8 million dollars.

He added that it also helped them meet their targets under a central government paperwork reduction initiative.

TEMIA officials said that eliminating paper also helps to reduce energy needed to deliver bills.

"ProfitLine (News - Alert) helps clients minimize waste and their overall carbon footprint by employing multiple measures, including wireless device recycling and invoice consolidation," said Kathleen Glass, vice president of marketing for ProfitLine.

Increasingly, companies are using TEM reports and business analytics to identify redundant and obsolete equipment and items that can be disconnected from the network. Many are reallocating savings in the telecom budget to areas that save the environment and gains from TEM programs are helping fund video conferencing, which reduces air travel.

Anil Sharma is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anil's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison

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