The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on The Hidden Waste and Expense of Cloud Computing. There are parallels and areas that overlap between cloud computing and Telecom Expense Management (TEM).

On-Boarding Off-Boarding Entitlement Management
First, on-boarding and off-boarding new employees for cloud services and applications can lead to issues related to subscription costs. Managers at enterprises need to ensure that employees get the right cloud applications to do their jobs and verify they are removed from subscriptions if they leave the firm. This kind of inventory management is key in both cloud computing and TEM programs, and should come as no surprise.

Sourcing and Optimization
Second, there are optimization opportunities to consider. The article cautions against ordering too much computing power and suggests steps to ensure software shuts down during off peak hours when it is not in use. To go beyond this, though, firms may want to audit app subscriptions to ensure employees are only getting the apps they need. There may also be cases where a team member only needs a number of reports from a system, which can allow a subscription removal for cost savings. Enterprises should consider sourcing and optimization opportunities. Companies that currently use five to eight applications for each application category like human resources, finance, sales, marketing and enterprise resource planning may find opportunities to consolidate and optimize their environment. This optimization can also feed validation activities in billing.

Expense Management
Third, TEMIA members are starting to see large and significant over charges and situations where enterprises are paying for features the cloud provider had promised at no cost. In other cases, the pricing doesn’t match the contract. Our members find firms often pay different prices for the same services or apps from vendors that promise uniform pricing for an enterprise. Cloud services and apps have characteristics for hidden waste and expenses that TEMIA members are well equipped to manage.

Managing Network Assets
Overlaps between these areas create another bonus for engaging with TEMIA members on cloud services. There are changes that are coming to network services as enterprises shift from data and applications stored in corporate data centers. Enterprises should be reducing the capacity of their high speed network connectivity to these data centers. Network services can migrate to lower cost fast local internet connectivity from Tier 1 providers with some redundancy for services. TEMIA members can help enterprises manage their network inventory, and ensure clients leverage the benefits from rapidly declining costs for these services.

Policy and Security
A second bonus area would be mobile policy, policy enforcement and security. TEM providers are well grounded in developing mobile policy and helping enterprises to enforce the policy. 

Automation of Manual Processes
With cloud computing enterprises grapple with managing cloud entitlements on-boarding and validation. These are all managed with manual processes. Finally, there is the issue of processing cloud bills which is often requires a manual labor intensive process for bills that are received in paper or PDF format..

With the potential waste and unnecessary expenses from cloud computing and areas that overlap enterprises will find TEM providers are well equipped to help enterprises manage their rapidly growing cloud environment.

As managing director for TEMIA the Telecom Expense Management Industry Association (www.temia.org), members work with enterprises, and they see parallels to telecom expense management (TEM). First, there is a need to manage on-boarding and off-boarding to ensure employees get the right cloud services and are removed from services if they leave the firm. Second, there are optimization opportunities. Enterprises benefit from consolidating five to eight similar cloud apps and services in categories like HR, sales, marketing, finance, ERP, etc. In some cases, employees have licenses for apps they never use. Third, there are opportunities to validate expenses. TEMIA members reconcile contracts to bills and find significant errors. Fourth, bills often come in formats requiring labor intensive processing. Finally, there are security issues for fixed and mobile cloud. It is a complex area. Our next member meeting focuses on this.

As managing director for TEMIA the Telecom Expense Management Industry Association (www.temia.org), members work with enterprises, and they see parallels to telecom expense management (TEM). First, there is a need to manage on-boarding and off-boarding to ensure employees get the right cloud services and are removed from services if they leave the firm. Second, there are optimization opportunities. Enterprises benefit from consolidating five to eight similar cloud apps and services in categories like HR, sales, marketing, finance, ERP, etc. In some cases, employees have licenses for apps they never use. Third, there are opportunities to validate expenses. TEMIA members reconcile contracts to bills and find significant errors. Fourth, bills often come in formats requiring labor intensive processing. Finally, there are security issues for fixed and mobile cloud. It is a complex area. Our next member meeting focuses on this.