If you could answer every question imaginable about the components, costs and processes within your Technology Estate, you would have a superior TEM, or Technology Expense Management system. Mount Everest is known as the tallest mountain in the world, its peak reaching 8,848 meters above sea level. For many, scaling this mountain is the ultimate test of their lifetime, challenging their physical and mental limitations. Intense preparations take place before the excursion, but one of the most important tasks includes finding the right Sherpa to climb with.

Sherpas — an ethnic group of Himalayan people living on the borders of Nepal and Tibet — have lived in the high altitude of Mount Everest for generations, which has taught their bodies to use oxygen and direct blood flow to their organs more efficiently. To climb the mountain successfully and safely, your Sherpa is your trusted advisor, guiding you to which paths to take, areas to avoid, risks to be aware of and any other challenges that may occur.

When it comes to technology estate management, organizations desperately need their own Sherpa to guide decision making and to carry the load. The implementation is therapeutic and exhilarating if done correctly as it involves correlating data to create tightly integrated relationships between technology invoices, employee information, orders, contracts, inventory, general ledger codes, and payable systems. The Sherpa maps the most efficient closed loop workflow using process engineering techniques and best practices to ultimately get to the “goal” or peak of the mountain. When these industry-savvy Sherpas are in place, clients can answer any question regarding their technology estate in seconds; whether it is what did I save through billing error detection this past month, or did the savings projections from a contract re-negotiation prove out, or what is the prediction of next year’s technology budget by cost center.

So, let’s return to our original question: What is TEM in simpler terms? You tell us? Rank yourself against the AMI/Sherpa’s Best Practices?

Ranking Best Practices in TEM.
No TEM Discipline Best Practice Rank
1. Sourcing Management enables buyers to negotiate prices and terms and conditions for strategic contracts for communications services. To negotiate quality contracts data must be gathered efficiently from your technology environment (TEM) to attain optimal pricing which includes MARCS and guarantees and rates and services and penalties and service outages and discounts and disputes.
2. Ordering and Provisioning Management supports the deployment of network services and mobile assets. Based on predefined rates and support for user profiles while leveraging service catalogs structured workflow and authorizations. Includes help desk for order placement. To effectively order and provision technology services and assets a systematic and integrated approach is necessary to keep inventory current to proactively audit or manage the corresponding invoice.
3. Inventory Management applies to processes of one or all of the following for fixed-mobile services and mobile devices: asset management; asset database/repository; and tracking of purchases and leases and contracts and disposal pertaining to telecom assets and expenses. Links to general ledger accounting systems modules such as the capital asset ledger. To effectively manage assets or inventory a central repository should exist to track expenses and general ledger accounting and service locations and associations; such as contracts and accounts and owners and assets. Report and query capabilities.
4. Manage Costs applies to Invoice to Contract Management and Usage Management and Dispute Management. Invoice and Contract Management combines the invoice audit function with the accounts payable invoice processing. Usage Management helps identify cost objectives and usage permissions by using call accounting and detailed invoice data. Usage is tracked to allocate costs by individual and department and cost center or other user-defined spending category across any number of corporate locations. Usage management can also identify theft and abuse of network resources. Dispute Management ensures the recovery of credits and the management of short-pay and no-pay decisions. Bill Pay confirms that all invoices are paid on time with no late fees. To effectively manage costs there must be: A relationship between the invoices and orders and contracts and disputes so the invoices can be audited against the contract and credits can be realize while invoices can be short paid. Detail level charges in the invoice in a database (TEM) to effectively identify and dispute anomalies against the contract to recover credits within the bill cycle the anomaly occurred. A payment process optimized where duplication of entries is removed and integration with AP Systems creates efficiencies.
5. Reporting and Business Intelligence encompasses a vendor's ability to offer practical information and analytics that go beyond basic data or reports in order to improve financial forecasts and usage planning. To have practical and effective reporting analytics to highlight the data relationships between invoices and contracts and orders and inventory. Includes ad hoc reporting and exporting capabilities.

Picture trying to venture up Mount Everest without a guide. There’s a high probability you would make an error, like taking a wrong turn, which would add more time in reaching your destination.

Contact the TEM Sherpa at AMI to help you. temNOW, our software as a service (SaaS), enterprise-wide, web-based product, guides our clients as they manage invoices from receipt to payment, coordinates audit resolution disputes, tracks inventory from order to procurement and makes strategic decisions based on reporting trends and data analytics.

AMI Strategies is ready to help you scale your biggest technology expense management challenges — contact us today.