Asentinel Insider

Glossary: Telecom Expense Management and Mobility Management Services

Posted by Jenny.Wallace on Feb 2, 2016 2:04:38 PM


Management would be impossible without acronyms. Next time the CEO needs the ROI of the RFP ASAP, there's no time to spell it out for your staff. Acronyms increase the speed of business, but sometimes the letter strings can get out of control. Here's your quick reference guide to terms, trends and technologies that you need to understand as a leader in mobility and telecom expense management (TEM). 

  • AD: Active Directory – Microsoft's directory service for Windows domains.
  • ADFS: Active Directory Federation Services – A software component developed by Microsoft, this can be installed on Windows Server operating systems to provide users with single sign-on access to systems and applications located across organizational boundaries.

  • AE: Application Engineer – A combination of an engineer and sales specialist who handles technical support for customers.

  • AIT: Asentinel Internal Training – Asentinel's proprietary industry knowledge base.

  • AP: Accounts Payable – The outgoing payments of a business to its partners and suppliers, listed as liabilities on a balance sheet.

  • AR: Accounts Receivable – The incoming payments from customers and partners, listed as assets on a balance sheet.

  • ATIS: Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions – This is a membership organization that provides the tools for the industry to identify standards, guidelines and operating procedures, such as the 811 Consolidated Service Invoice/Statement Guideline and the Level 9 Line Detail that supports usage and charge details.

  • Binary File – Any attachment such as a .pdf, or various other types of documents.

  • Boolean Field – A True/False or Yes/No field in programming.

  • BPA: Business Process Analysis – An analysis technique for describing how certain processes works and how employees solve problems.

  • BPO: Business Professional Outsourcing – The way modern businesses deploy specialized partners for the most highly technical work.

  • BPO Analyst - The employee assigned to a BPO client.

  • CC: Cost Center – This is configurable across clients. It refers to the expense center that line item charges are applied to.

  • CCMI – The company that provides information and up-to-date tariff rates across the main service providers.

  • Combo Box – a drop-down list or list box that lets the user either type a value or select a value from the list.

  • CSM: Client Service Manager – The manager responsible for customer services.

  • DBA: Database Administrator – The IT manager in charge of company databases.

  • Double Field – Used when a database needs a greater level of accuracy than a standard numeric field, especially for monetary fields.

  • EAP: Early Adopter Program – Normally an invitation-only program limited to specific customers before a service is rolled out to the entire customer base.

  • EDI: Electronic Data Interchange – A method of transferring data between networks without human intervention, especially monetary data between trading partners.

  • EDI Support Engineer – The employee who is assigned to EDI issues.

  • FCC: Federal Communications Commission – U.S. government bureau overseeing telecom.

  • FTP: File Transfer Protocol – An older transfer protocol using TCP, it's now considered insecure.

  • GL: General Ledger – The complete record of financial transactions for a business, including all financial statements.

  • HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol – The Web's primary means of data transmission and communication.

  • HTTPS: Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure – Updated HTTP for greater security in communications.

  • Instance – A programming object with a distinct entity, such as an Asentinel URL, with one per client.

  • Integer Field – A database field that contains whole numbers.

  • IPSEC: Internet Protocol Security – A more secure channel for communications that works by authenticating and encrypting each IP packet in a session.

  • IS: Integration Specialist – An IT specialist who solves communication problems involving software, hardware and networks.

  • LDAP: Lightweight Directory Access Protocol – A vendor-neutral, industry-standard application protocol for accessing and maintaining distributed directory information services over IP networks.

  • LOA: Letter of Authorization – Rank, authority, ability/limit for signing a legally binding contract.

  • OIR: Original Invoice Record – Also called the custom import or paper invoice.

  • PBX: Private Branch Exchange – A telephone system within an enterprise that switches calls between enterprise users on local lines.

  • PM: Project Manager – Project managers are responsible for planning, procurement and execution of a project in engineering.

  • QA: Quality Assurance – ISO 9000 defines this as quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled.

  • RDP: Remote Desktop Protocol – Microsoft's graphical interface for network connections.

  • SA: Security Administrator – IT professional tasked with assuring the privacy and integrity of data, especially customer's financial records.

  • SaaS: Software as a Service – Software that is centrally stored and operated, often in the cloud, with access provided on a subscription basis.

  • Sandbox – The training instance or URL used by the client or Asentinel.

  • SSO: Secure Single Sign-on – An approach to security using one password for user authentication across multiple platforms.

  • String Field – Any free text field.

  • SysAdmin: System Administrator – Similar to the DBA, but in charge of the entire IT infrastructure.

  • TFMS: Touch Free Managed Services - The service that takes paper invoices and converts them to an electronic format for importing into the Asentinel application.

  • TFR: Touch Free Room - Room that houses the paper invoices for scanning.

  • VAR: Value Added Reseller – These refer to the different levels of partners. VAR-1 brands the product and gets no support from Asentinel; VAR-2 doesn't exist anymore, and VAR-3 covers direct client support from Asentinel.

This glossary just scratches the surface of key terms in telecom and mobility management services. In future blog posts, we'll expand on these terms, and add new ones as they arise. What terms or acronyms would you like to learn more about? The Asentinel team has the answers.



Topics: telecom management system, TEM, MMS, acronyms, terms

How to Choose a Telecom Expense Management Solution

Posted by Jenny.Wallace on Jan 19, 2016 11:15:16 AM

magic.choice.TEM.jpgCommunications expenses increase year after year and are typically one of your top five budget-line items. In an effort to manage these expenses, many companies will attempt to reduce communication-related expenses with internal processes and systems or by leveraging a third-party telecom expense management (TEM) service. No matter which camp you fall into, the question is this - is your solution working? Or could you do better? Whether you are considering telecom expense management solutions for the first time or the third time, there are several things to consider. Look at your company's needs and assess your existing telecom expense management (TEM) solution. If you don't have one in place, implementing a TEM solution should be a priority. If you do have one, making it the best it can be is critical to control rising telecom costs.


What Is Telecom Expense Management?

Do you have a clear understanding of telecom expense management? TEM offers processes that improve visibility and transparency surrounding costs and controls for communications systems, from landline telephones to mobile devices. Under the TEM umbrella, you might also need the following:

  • Wireless expense management (WEM)
  • Managed Mobility Service (MMS)
  • Mobile application and security management

All of these applications for TEM processes help manage costs effectively, but only if your company gets the right systems in place to meet internal needs.


Evaluate Your Needs

Before you can implement any TEM solution, you need to understand your company's communication needs and the disparate vendors providing services. Technology expense management goes hand in hand with TEM since much of your technology spending ties directly into communications.

To get the right combination of management options, you need to look at where your company is today and where you plan to be. Technology changes quickly, and deciding on a solution that won't scale can leave you facing another major investment just a couple of years down the road. You need to vet solutions based on how they work with your existing systems and their agility when dealing with technological advances.


Decide the Selection Criteria

Before deciding on a TEM provider, it is critical to have some selection criteria in place. While pricing plays a big role in any purchasing decision, the lowest price in TEM often comes with service cuts and fewer customization options.

You will need to look at your existing systems and decide on which legacy systems, if any, you will be keeping. Look at your in-house capacities and decide how to implement a TEM solution. Keeping TEM in-house may be the best solution for your company, or you might be ready to look for an outsourcing option to offer greater efficiency. In either case, make sure your provider gives you the support and service you need.


Do the Due Diligence

When making the decision to implement a telecom expense management solution or improve your internal TEM processes, conduct an internal evaluation and connect with several vendors to find the one that has the best mix of pricing, fit and service level. Find out more about selecting the right TEM service provider by downloading our white paper "Best Practices for Evaluation, Pricing and Cost Savings of Telecommunications Management" or contact us directly to learn more.



Topics: telecom expense management, TEM

The Importance of Usability: Best of Breed v. Big Vendors

Posted by Jenny.Wallace on Jan 14, 2016 9:30:00 AM


Do you see usability as a birthright? The Wall Street Journal recently referenced a shift in the SAP software – making it more user-friendly.1 Why is this? “SAP is battling a tidal shift with many retailers favoring best of breed over big vendors,” said Robert Hetu, an analyst at Gartner Inc. So what does this mean? People who are shopping in the market need a solution that services their business needs, is quick to deploy, provides clear business value and is easy to use. As CIOs begin to review their IT environment and ability to serve their end users and admins, they have come across several opportunities for improvement. One of those opportunities is improving the way they manage mobility costs and support.

Many businesses have attempted to solve this problem with a legacy big vendor TEM tool that is designed to help manage all telecommunications resources across a global enterprise. But, with lengthy deployment cycles, clunky user experiences and a reactive approach to expense management, do they really relieve your IT resources or deliver cost savings? Many of the companies who implemented these big vendor tools are still waiting years after deployment to see their promised savings and efficiency.

Gartner mentioned previously that IT overload is a chronic problem.2 Their research suggests that at least one-third of funded technology programs are currently in backlog, waiting for IT to start them. As a result, overly complex tools rarely deliver the efficiencies businesses need today, which is why they are beginning to turn to best of breed tools and services.

A best of breed approach to mobility management should optimize your mobile environment without burdening your resources.

The solution should:

  • Provide a frictionless deployment in days
  • Give IT and Finance time back immediately
  • Prevent unnecessary costs (not just react to them)
  • Demonstrate wireless carrier invoice savings within 1 bill cycle
  • Be easy enough to use for IT and end users




Topics: tem implementation, telecom expense solutions, Communication Lifecycle Management, MMS, enterprise mobility management

The next big thing for unified communications is a deepening of unification

Posted by Jenny.Wallace on Jan 12, 2016 9:30:00 AM

byod-should-be-a-capability-for-any-organization-with-uc-1.jpgBy far and away, the biggest issue with UC is finding a way to make sure that messaging from mobiles is kept as accessible and easy to use as it is for computers and other stationary devices. Although some services - like Google's Gmail suite - tie a lot of different types of information together for desktop computers, they suffer from a proliferation of different types of mobile applications used to access that same data. What organizations need more than anything else is a form of UC that ties together various different kinds of messaging into one service that is easy to understand and to use.

Telecom expense management services used to primarily be about understanding what to cut and pare down in order to make an organization's communication tree more slender and streamlined. In recent years, telecom expense management has become more about understanding how to redesign a tenured framework of organized communication in such a way that a company is able to create an efficient framework in which to communicate. This signified a valuable shift in business thinking: that it is more important to communicate efficiently than it is to spend efficiently. In most cases it is possible to have a servant of two masters by both creating a cheaper and more useful platform for communication, so there has yet to be an organization that can be seen to directly prize communication over money, but there may be an example of this down the line. The major question right now is: What is the way to make the best possible piece of communication software?

One language, many uses
The ultimate goal of current UC technology is finding a way to synthesize multiple different types of communication into one easy-to-use mobile app, suggested No Jitter. This has to do with the fact that most organizations that use mobile communication wind up having to paw through a couple different apps in order to effectively communicate between team members, which can lead to frustrating moments where it is difficult to remember precisely which medium was used to send a specific, important piece of information. Instead of juggling a bunch of different streams of communication, the best way for groups to stay in touch with each other would be a single application that can handle one-on-one, multiple user, synchronous and asynchronous methods of communication at the same time.

UC Strategies' recent article on UC messaging agrees with No Jitter, stating that UC needs to be able to use asynchronous messaging alongside real-time conversational messaging in order to be a powerful and effective tool. Because so many different types of communication rely on being able to send information without the pressure to respond to questions on it instantly, creating a version of the software that is able to simultaneously deal with chat and email as separate forms of dialog is a must. At the same time, all content should be searchable in conversation-agonist ways, so that any specific piece of information that a user happens to remember can be found, no matter in what context or on what medium it was transmitted. Telecom expense management services have, in their own way, been funneling groups toward this kind of solution for a long time. It is only recently that everyone has been able to accept the new reality of a communication-dominated world. The best possible way for this synthesizing of mediums to continue would be a unification of communication into a single-feature that does everything it needs to.

Topics: Business Intelligence and Analytics, telecom expense management, (TEM) Telecom Expense Management Solutions, telecom lifecycle management, Communication Lifecycle Management, smartertem

Information and communication convergence could mean savings for businesses

Posted by Jenny.Wallace on Jan 5, 2016 9:30:00 AM

keeping-data-encrypted-may-become-as-commonplace-as-seatbelts-1.jpgAs information technology and communication technology join forces, new structures of pricing and communications will change the way that businesses speak to each other. According to No Jitter, the next chapter of communication technology involves the cloud. Businesses will utilize voice transmission, video conferencing and other high-data services in order to provide advanced services that will further require on emphasis on telecom expense management services. As of now, telecom expense management is about understanding inefficiencies in structure: optimizing network assets, ensuring cost and asset visibility and streamlining processes. But TEM could also easily be about finding new ways of communicating and understanding the how workers speaking to each other can hinder or help a business. 

As more businesses struggle with the utility and perils of the new wave of communication, including, as InformationWeek pointed out recently, hospitals, companies will have to find ways to allow employees to transfer information swiftly and securely. Gone are the days when it was merely important to have a way to get a file to someone. In the digital age, all content that is sent - even between employees at any firm that deals with sensitive information - needs to have the appropriate electronic safeguards or risk a breach of trust. Confidentiality has never been so important or harder to obtain.

The medical profession's reliance on texting for quick bursts of information showcases that modern businesses' need to be able to get information between employees swiftly in order for any telecom expense management solution to work. This means that understanding not only what lines of access are being used, but how they are being used is crucial to maintaining a quick flow of information between workers. Not just understanding what needs to go, but what needs to be given priority. In this way the introduction of the larger technology firms will be a blessing for communications.

A future of big data
The rise of telecom expense management solutions generated by business intelligence analysts is here. In the next couple years, groups may even see data collected on communication between workers. This information will be used to identify and understand what kinds of communication makes for productive, long-lasting decisions, and what fails to achieve results. Not only will there be an understanding of where to send information, but how, when and why to send information to people in the company. That will be the change that revolutionizes information management.

Topics: telecom expense management solutions, Business Intelligence and Analytics, telecom management, (TEM) Telecom Expense Management Solutions, EMM, cloud subscription management, cloud invoice, MMS

TEM can mitigate overpaying for necessary communication resources

Posted by Jenny.Wallace on Dec 29, 2015 9:00:00 AM

even-emergency-services-can-cut-costs-by-leveraging-tem-solutions-1.jpgOrganizations across all industries have one thing in common: They must all have communications services established that will enable them to quickly connect to peers, business partners and clients. However, the larger the business it is, the more these systems may cost due to the chaos involved with tracking all available telecom assets and their potential expenses. In order to ensure that companies are getting the most bang for their buck, they should leverage telecom expense management software to mitigate overpaying and verify that they are effectively utilizing their telecom resources.

Communications undergoing changes
In an effort to go with the most cost-effective option available, organizations have increasingly started to change their communications systems and seek out more beneficial solutions. This is the case for High Springs, Florida, as decision-makers there discovered the city could save more than $114,000 annually just by switching to Alachua County Combined Communications Center (CCC) for their emergency communications services, Alachua County Today reported. These costs include the price of police communications and information technology utilized for these processes. The only hindrance for this switch is the possibility that prices from the CCC may escalate as the population within High Springs continues to rise.

While there may be obstacles to migrating to the CCC for their services, the significant cost savings cannot be ignored. By going with the best solution for their needs, and integrating a TEM software, the city can ensure that they aren't overpaying for their assets and are receiving the quality of services that they expect. As more telecom projects are launched, these types of considerations will be essential to their future operations and their capability to deliver a positive experience.

Meeting the needs of large entities
With big organizations, it can be difficult to keep track of all available assets. This includes places like cities that utilize telecom for many of their necessary functions. No matter what industry, communications are vital to enterprises, making it necessary to have software on hand that will drive the best advantages. Business 2 Community contributor David Rosenthal noted that telecom expense management companies can help companies meet their specific needs without the costs associated with leveraging specialized software. This ensures that the organization not only will be able to support their unique goals, but also has a team of professionals on their side to identify issues and ensure they aren't overcharged.

"Sophisticated software enables external TEM suppliers to expertly manage telecom spend and provide intelligent analysis to produce in-depth monthly reports," Rosenthal wrote. "With the use of purpose built software, Telecom Expense Management partners can provide a business with the clarity they need to stay in control of their telecom estate."

Communications projects can be an intensive undertaking, especially for large enterprises that must keep track of their various assets. As the potential savings become more apparent, organizations must consider TEM as a way to improve their cost-effectiveness and get the most out of their services.

Topics: telecom expense management software, (TEM) Telecom Expense Management Solutions, telecom expense management companies, Communication Lifecycle Management

Rise of the 1b people + mobile workforce

Posted by Jenny.Wallace on Dec 22, 2015 9:30:00 AM



Topics: wireless expenses, BYOD, Mobile Device Management, MMS

Three ways you're losing money by managing your company's mobility services.

Posted by Jenny.Wallace on Dec 15, 2015 9:00:00 AM
confused-on-mobility-asentinel.pngKeeping employees connected with mobile services is essential for every business. Unfortunately, many companies are losing money due to poor internal mobility service management. On top of that, IT departments often end up devoting excessive amounts of time and resources to handle mobility services. In order to better understand these challenges, here are three ways your company is likely losing money through your mobility service strategy and clear solutions to these problems.


IT Departments Stretched Thin 

For IT departments, enterprise mobility management (EMM) is usually not a core competency. CIOs and other stakeholders prefer to focus on what their team does best to drive their core business forward. It’s important that your team doesn’t spend their days dealing with wireless carriers and supporting mobile users through the help desk.

By using Asentinel, companies gain back non-value added time, allowing CIOs to strategically place their teams into more mission critical parts of a business. Asentinel is an EMM solution that helps automate manual processes, such as cost containment, inventory, reporting, and support. As a part of Asentinel's managed mobility services (MMS), each element of a carrier plan is tracked, including voice, data and text. Instead of your IT department spending time reviewing plan data and prices, Asentinel can recommend the optimal plan for each device on your network based on clear data.

Lack of EMM Platform Leads to Cost Overruns

Often, the biggest MMS cost overrun for IT teams using internal mobile services involves employees roaming internationally. Every year businesses waste an estimated $7.3 billion on roaming and wireless costs.

By implementing an outsourced EMM solution like Asentinel, companies are able to ensure that all employee devices, including BYOD devices, are handled under one centralized platform that offers automated invoice processing, policy management, reporting and user support. With this real-time tracking, cost buffers can be set on each device. Asentinel have the ability to catch cost overruns before they happen and send automatic texts and emails to employees who go over these preset buffers. 

Weaker Pricing Power

Many companies are utilizing BYOD, but relying on employees to also take care of plans, voice and data. This individual liability strategy saves on equipment costs, but also means you might deal with a variety of mobile plans and higher costs due to lower pricing power.

EMM outsourcing through Asentinel offers a middle way. By outsourcing to Asentinel, companies stay out of the equipment business by ensuring employees pay for their devices. Plans, voice and data are paid for under a company-wide corporate liability model that offers serious discounts, giving companies the best of both worlds to better control costs

Putting Mobility Management into action at Websense Asentinel has a long track record of helping businesses cut costs and effectively implement EMM. We invite you to download our free case study to learn how we helped Websense transform their company-wide mobile services for the better.






Topics: mobility managed services, BYOD, bring your own device, MMS, enterprise mobility management, Saas, Mobile Savings

Utilizing BPO can make companies work more efficiently

Posted by Jenny.Wallace on Dec 8, 2015 12:21:59 PM

What many organizations don't understand about utilizing strong BPO policies is that they are actually saving money by doing so. Of course, many organizations recognize that their staff will be more efficient when working within their fields, which is why they outsource specialized work, saving-money-with-telecom-expense-management-is-easy_1691_675624_0_14101268_500-300x199.jpgbut there are other aspects of utilizing a telecom expense management company that some organizations may be unaware of. Because BPO can allow people with real expertise within highly specialized areas of billing like telecom expense management, expenses can be slashed and important deadlines with regard to payment can be reached without fear. Some organizations have a hard time keeping track of the multitude of services they use, both local and companywide. This can cause problems with sudden cancelations, poor resource management and other burdens they must face while dealing with their own work. 

The intricacies of TEM and how they relate to billing
Understanding how telecom expense management works with an organization through BPO means learning about how the expertise of other agents can help a given company work through a lot of their problems. Sometimes, for example, groups will work with their finance departments and give them the telecom expense management software provided by Asentinel. This can be a strong choice, especially if the team in question has members that used to work within the telecom industry or were otherwise highly involved in communication expenses before. But, frequently, accountants will not know anything about Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and will not know how to track certain variables that could otherwise be managed by someone with extensive knowledge of how the system itself works. This kind of expert perspective is necessary to make sense of the more arcane, technical elements of communication billing, and it simply doesn't happen without people who are well-versed in the subject.

Asentinel takes the time for you
New Call-to-action Because understanding all of these difficult avenues of inquiry that an accountant may have to go down in order to know exact​ly what is being paid for under a given billing system, it is likely that staff will struggle unless trained. We make sure all of our workers have been heavily educated internally in various fields regarding telecom expenses, and many of our employees actually have history within different telecommunication companies in various capacities, which means that our staff is positioned to give expert advice and evaluation to all of our clients. With this kind of knowledge, it is much easier for us to give our partners the kind of strong support they need to slash their bills while still keeping all of the resources they actually need and use.

Mobility managed services
Part of the big change in how telecom expense management works for most organizations is that, while our services used to be sold as software, they are increasingly being sold as services. This has a lot to do with the degree to which the various forms of information that organizations can purchase have become complicated, necessitating the need for organizations to move in to help groups to understand what is worthwhile and what isn't. With our software and services, it is possible to heavily slash bills without running into problems.

Utilizing expert advice is crucial in any part of business, but there may be no single way to save money while feeling so small a disruption in day-to-day affairs than when utilizing a telecom expense management company. By working with Asentinel, you will find ways to easily reduce bills while keeping all essential and used services, without having to retrain employees.

Topics: telecom expense management, Telecom Management (TEM) Outsourcing - BPO, BPO, (TEM) Telecom Expense Management Solutions, mobile management

Ready for the Next Evolution in Telecom Expense Management? CLM is here!

Posted by Jenny.Wallace on Dec 2, 2015 11:56:01 AM


Communications Lifecycle Management (CLM) is telecom expense management (TEM) for companies on the leading edge. You may be familiar with TEM as a management platform that helps keep communications coshutterstock_325612109.jpgsts down. Since telecom expenses are one of the top-five budget lines, managing these costs is a must. TEM, for many companies, is just automated invoice reconciliation. CLM takes TEM to the next level with integrated management of all aspects of communications technology. Going beyond just catching invoice errors, CLM tackles the financial, technical and compliance issues associated with communications and managed mobility services.

What Falls Under CLM?

Enterprise telecommunications has expanded well beyond traditional landlines and switchboards. This category now includes mobile devices, sensors, SIM cards, video, VOIP lines, messaging apps and more. With these new technologies comes the need to manage all of these disparate devices and channels through a single, streamlined platform. This is where CLM comes in. All communications networks, software and hardware falls under the same CLM umbrella.

Why is TEM Evolving into CLM?

Complexity is an increasing problem in the world of enterprise communications. Where once IT departments struggled to keep servers and terminals maintained and updated, they now add in a variety of mobile devices - often using different operating systems - wearable technologies, and app development and management, along with deploying new software. CLM puts inventory management at the top of the list. It allows you to track hardware, software, maintenance, services and the labor needed to handle these tasks.

CLM also rolls in functions like sourcing and contract negotiation, invoice processing, chargeback resolution, contract enforcement and dispute resolution, as well as many other managerial tasks. By keeping all of these management goals under a single dashboard, you can reduce the costs associated with telecom and IT. Tracking things like unused voice lines, "necessary" device replacements, download volume and international roaming charges on mobile devices allows you to cut costs associated with managed mobility services. Did you know that the average cost of downloads per device is $50 each year? When you are looking at more than 2,000 devices deployed across your workforce, that number offers a lot of room for improvement. The same is true for international roaming charges, which could be reduced with better controls over usage and international value plan enrollments.

Learn More

Communications Lifecycle Management is complex and presents a number of challenges in today's increasingly connected business world. Learn more about how to leverage CLM practices to meet those challenges with a look at the "Asentinel Solves Long-Term Challenges of Communications Lifecycle Management" white paper from Blue Hills Management. Download your copy today to start planning for the future of your enterprise communications.

Topics: Communication Lifecycle Management

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