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December 2009 | Volume 12 / Number 12
Special Focus

Telecom Cost Management to Remain Priority as Economy Stabilizes

INTERNET TELEPHONY Announces TEM Award Winners

By Erin E. Harrison

Telecom expenses are without a doubt some of the largest figures on corporate account statements. As the economy deepened further into a recession in 2009, uptake by medium and large enterprises of telecom expense management practices continued to rise, with some businesses outsourcing the effort to TEM experts in this increasingly competitive sector.

With telecom expenses often accounting for up to 20 percent of firms’ overall IT budgets, enterprises and SMBs alike understand that inconsistent processing and auditing of telecom invoices is no longer acceptable, according to IT research firm Forrester (News - Alert).

In a recent interview, Phillip Redman, vice president, network services and infrastructure, mobile and wireless at Gartner, said medium and large enterprises are predominately the companies adopting TEM today because of the large number of users and services they need to support. There is interest by some smaller companies, but generally until they reach a certain number of mobile users, they can manage many of their needs in-house.

“In 2009, I think we have seen a continued interest in uptake of telecom expense management for companies in many different industries. The biggest area of growth continues to be in mobile and wireless service expense management,” Redman said. “As companies are looking at cost optimization this year, a growth of mobile and wireless service costs in many enterprises has caused companies to assess their spend in this area. Also, many companies don’t have the resources to manage their telecom expenses and realize they need an outside company to help them with that.”

In almost one-third of companies, mobile phones are used by more than half of all employees, according to Forrester. The firm anticipates that this number will grow exponentially as more employees use their own mobile devices in the workplace.

And as more companies look to outsource services, said Redman, telecom expense management will be one of the main areas they will continue to adopt.

“Although not every telecom expense management implementation is successful, the majority have been. This is one of the reasons why telecom expense management continues to grow every year with new companies adopting services as well as new vendors looking to provide services,” he said.

Over the past 18 months, Forrester has experienced an apparent increase in end user client inquiries about how TEM can provide visibility and help control telecommunication expenses, with the state of the economy creating more urgency. In particular, international roaming is a sore spot for most companies, with a Global 500 material firm recently stating: “International roaming is where it hurts the most. One executive traveler’s bill for just a few days overseas was $3,900! What can we do to fix that – as soon as possible?”

However, businesses cannot simply leap into a TEM plan before doing their due diligence. According to Gartner (News - Alert)’s Redman, there are many different criteria that enterprises should use to evaluate TEM providers – much of it based upon what their individual needs and requirements are.

First, enterprises should evaluate what they’re looking to gain from telecom expense management implementation: Are they looking to reduce costs, get reports and information about what their expenses are, or provide policy and process where there is none?

“Depending on what the enterprises are looking for, they should look to a telecom expense management provider that can show proven references, that has process and project implementation capabilities, that can provide both software and a managed service, and has a high-level tool that can be used by both the enterprise and individual users,” Redman said.

Joe Basili, managing director of the Telecom Expense Management Industry Association, said the weak economy has indeed been a major influence for companies to gain better control over telecom expenses, and TEM suppliers have seen a quickening in adoption. At the same time, companies are becoming savvier and more strategic in this area.

“It started strong with many deals that were accelerated and then things got put on hold due to budgetary considerations,” Basili said. “A number of the sales became tactical with one-time professional service sales for audit and optimization work. Now companies are looking more at strategic proactive ongoing programs that drive larger overall savings for clients.” IT

INTERNET TELEPHONY has recognized eight industry vendors for excellence in telecom expense management. The INTERNET TELEPHONY TEM Excellence Award honors those businesses that have exhibited excellence in supporting their customers’ initiatives to optimize costs through telecom expense management products and solutions.

Winning companies have provided case studies of TEM success experienced by clients after implementing the nominated product/service. Winners were chosen based on demonstrated improvements that the winner’s product/service has made in its client's business.

“We are proud to announce the winners of the first annual INTERNET TELEPHONY TEM Excellence Award. All the companies recognized have created solutions that have proven to be exceptional and benefited their customers,” said Rich Tehrani (News - Alert), editor-in-chief of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

“The winners of the INTERNET TELEPHONY TEM Excellence Award are leaders in telecom expense management. Taking risks and providing real solutions have earned them recognition from the editors of INTERNET TELEPHONY. These products and services honored have excelled in the TEM industry, and most importantly, their customers are willing to offer testaments of support,” said Erik Linask (News - Alert), group editorial director of TMC, publisher of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

And the winners are…

Accenture (News - Alert) Accenture Telecom Expense Management
Amtel Inc. Telecom Expense Management System
AnchorPoint, A Division of MTS AnchorPoint TEM
ISI (News - Alert) Telemanagement Solutions Inc. Infortel Select v.8.0 - Carrier Call Matching
PAETEC (News - Alert) Software Corp. PINNACLE
Quickcomm Software Solutions Inc Quickcomm Enterprise
Rivermine (News - Alert) Rivermine Version 6 and eXPERTSolutions
Tangoe Inc. CommCare Suite of TEM Solutions (News - Alert) & Services

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