To Self-Manage, or to Fully-Manage; that is the Question

When selecting a Telecom Expense Management (TEM) vendor, the process of evaluating solutions might not seem so complicated. Everyone is essentially selling the same product, right? Let’s rewind a minute, many providers say they offer Telecom Expense Management but what they do can vary in multiple ways, provide a variety of bundles or variations and flavours to the services you can sign up for. In order to effectively decide on a vendor, you must first decide on what objectives you want to achieve. Is your focus inventory management, cost optimization or automating processes across all of your organization; or maybe it’s all of the above? While one option may cost less the day you sign, what you are looking for are long-term results. Once you know what you want to achieve, you will need to figure out if you will need a Self-Managed or a Fully-Managed solution. Some vendors will make both options available with some variances. Understanding the difference between fully-managed and self-managed is key to getting the most out of a TEM solution.


A self-managed TEM involves a much more hands-on approach than  a fully-managed TEM. You will have the platform available to you, and certain things will be included, but for the most part, you will be the one managing all of the telecom expenses. Unlike a fully-managed or business process outsourcing (BPO) type of engagement, your team will handle TEM operations themselves, using the platform. The TEM vendor will manage the multimodal invoice data entry.

Taking the self-managed route is great for companies that have their own experts internally.  Businesses with a strong knowledge and visibility over their telecom spend and the associated services can benefit from using a self-managed TEM. This path can be the right solution for your current environment.  You will be able to keep track of an accurate inventory, save time by incorporating automation into processes, reporting, and ordering, and you will certainly be able to create cost transparency for your business. For companies that are not looking to outsource non-core activities, this solution is often the way to go. Inquire when you sign on about invoice validation, and contract optimization, as they might be optional with a self-managed TEM.

As stated by Gartner, here are some key elements that may lead you to consider selecting a self-managed TEM. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have high visibility and management over your telecom environment?
  • Do you have sufficient telecom resources to internally support the model?
  • Do you aim to continue optimizing costs through automation and implementing workflows?

According to Gartner, “The lower the governance, the greater requirement for a fully managed solution, and the greater the savings or cost avoidance achieved.”


Selecting a fully-managed TEM means that you can focus on other initiatives and let your provider take care of the day-to-day tasks of managing telecom expenses. Rather than just having the software at your disposal, your provider will be taking care of finding savings and managing your inventory for you as well. A fully-managed TEM or Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) level of engagement will allow your business processes and tasks to be done for you as a service. Some TEM solutions will provide a well-rounded, all-inclusive set of services that take care of not only finding cost savings, but also keeping an accurate inventory of your assets, managing the ordering and provisioning, preparing reports, analysis, and much more. You can also find “À la carte” service options where you can pick and choose the services you need to outsource some specific tasks if required. Since a fully-managed TEM benefits businesses with low governance the most, it will usually bring on major changes, such as drastically increased visibility over your assets and overall costs. When choosing a fully-managed TEM make sure to understand what services you are getting, what is included and what is categorized as an optional service.

Cost avoidance and savings will be significantly increased with a fully-managed TEM fairly quickly, with about a 5-30% increase in cost savings depending on your current level of governance. According to Gartner, there has been a large trend towards taking the fully-managed route, since this engagement level provides greater visibility, better management, and long-term value. Particularly due to the complex nature of managing many mobile expenses and wireline costs, businesses are looking to outsource their business processes to a TEM.

Gartner says, “Enterprises move toward a fully managed approach due to internal cost savings and a better outcome of service.”

Gartner states the following key elements that may lead you to consider selecting a fully-managed TEM. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are less than 40% of your telecom invoices audited?
  • What is your level of centralization regarding governance related to ordering and provisioning?
  • What is your level of your governance of network service decommissioning?
  • Do you have a strong need to support mobile users?
  • Do you have a strong need to increase internal cost savings?


Make price comparisons and check for like-for-like services in making your decision. Price models differ between vendors. This is a key step in getting a broad perspective on fully-managed compared to self-managed TEM. As discussed by Gartner, some are based on a percentage of fixed annualized telecom spend, charging per device (mobile), ROI and savings guarantees. Depending on your business’ needs, price models can have an impact on what kind of vendor you should seek out. Pricing will vary and be dependent on whether the implementation fee is included or separate, are there additional integrations, or global requirement needs. The length of your contract can also have an effect on the price. By assessing your business needs and taking into account all of these factors you can make a well-informed decision. It is useful to keep in mind that a fully-managed TEM will have long-term benefits in savings, but will come at a higher price for the service. A self-managed TEM on the other hand will cost you less but you will need your team to be much more involved. Both solutions will provide you with the ability to discover discrepancies, rate plan reductions/optimizations, and time savings through automated workflows. The main question is who should do it, you or your TEM vendor?

Where does Cimpl fit in?

TEM has been evolving, and Cimpl has been taking great strides to continually improve our platform based on business needs. TEM no longer stops at telecom, and is growing to incorporate cloud, mobile management, IoT expense management, and other IT assets. At the end of the day, there is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to selecting a TEM. With this in mind, Cimpl right-sizes our services according to our customer’s needs.We aim to be flexible in providing as many options as possible that can be included in your package, and price accordingly. We offer both Self-Managed and Fully-Managed solutions, and allow you to choose the services you need for your environment. Cimpl’s three brand promises sum up the most important elements of a successful TEM solution; 1) Save Money; 2) Save Time; 3) Accurate Inventory.

  • Save Money: With our fully managed service options, we help you avoid costs by optimizing contracts for you. We seek out billing discrepancies and capture credits accordingly. We help you promote a culture of cost transparency, to encourage accountability so that end-users can  self-manage their usage. We help you save money with telecom expense management.
  • Save Time: Our TEM Platform automates a variety of menial, time-consuming tasks, that save you time, freeing up hours that can be spent elsewhere. Automating invoices, scheduling reports, workflows, orders, and so on, helps to speed up and optimize everyday processes.
  • Accurate Inventory: Cimpl provides asset management, collecting all of your Fixed, Mobile, IT, IoT, and any other technology assets into one centralized inventory. Know exactly what you own, where it is, who’s using it, and what it’s costing you.

If you’d like to learn more about Cimpl and the TEM services we can provide, feel free to contact us.


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