It's that time of year again, when budgets for the new year are on every IT manager's mind. And with good reason. Budgets are tighter than ever, and odds are you won't get everything on your wish list. Probably far from it. So careful review of the "must haves" versus the "nice to haves" is warranted.
What kind of budgeting capabilities does it have? It should enable tracking by cost center, general ledger account, bill type, vendor, all the way down to the circuit/WTN/mobile device level. It should report on exceptions, if the spend is above or below budget, even if you have an assigned percentage spend versus budget.
Can it audit my telecom bills? Not only should it be able to do so, but it should allow you to identify billing errors in seconds, as well as verify carrier contracts, cost per minute billed versus contracted rates, and many other things that a true audit enables. Ask also if they have a professional services team standing by to do a deeper dive into billing if needed.
Does it manage all my IT/telecom contracts? It should allow you to create, track and manage all your contracts and vendors.
Will it back up a billing dispute? This is critical. The TEM should track and manage all aspects of your billing dispute with your vendor from start to finish and keep track of your progress along the way.
Can it take the place of Excel spreadsheets? It should allow you to upload vendor billing CDs by the thousands in less than a minute. You should no longer need to use Excel spreadsheets and manual entry should be a thing of the past.
Does it interface with other systems? Your TEM should interface with key systems such as your HR and internal help desk as well as others with open APIs.
Will it upload to our SAP, Oracle, and other AP/GL systems? This is an important question to ask. It is key to operations for your TEM to interface with all major AP systems, including legacy systems.
How robust are the reports? Your TEM should not only provide hundreds of reports but give you flexibility in terms of who sees what. You should have query reports, budget reports, monthly reports, bill by hierarchy, historical expense reports, savings discovered reports and many more.
What does the dashboard show? It should be clear and easy to use. It should allow you to manage expenses by service, vendor, and make updates, adds and modifications to your profile.
Is it also offered as a hosted solution accessible through the cloud? The answer should be “yes”, either a purchased on-site license or hosted. Best if they provide both. That way if you ever need to transition, you can.