By Mounir Hilal
Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, Upland Software
Last year, worldwide IT spend hit a record $3.6 trillion and is projected to increase an additional 3.2% in 2019, according to the most recent forecasts published by Gartner.
This spending frenzy is being driven by the need to remain competitive in an ever-evolving landscape with an increase in spending categories such as software, IT services, communications and devices.
With this level of unprecedented spending, organizations are now faced with a new set of challenges related to the management and tracking of assets needed to support digital business growth, and accountability and alignment of the businesses using those services.
The good news is that enterprises can gain visibility and control of their IT spending using advanced IT financial management (ITFM) and telecom expense management (TEM) services which Upland provides today through our Project and Financial Management Solution Offering.
In the June 2019 “Market Guide for Telecom Expense Management Services” report, Gartner notes that TEM services help businesses control costs and usage, and enhance processes around their growing number of consumption-based services, mobile services and devices. Gartner also reports there’s growing interest in TEM services from mid-size enterprises.
That’s why we acquired Cimpl, a leading cloud-based telecom and IT expense management solution. Upland customers stand to realize significant savings and other benefits from Cimpl. One large enterprise saved $3.6 million after just one year of using this leading TEM solution, and Upland is excited to now offer this same solution to all of our customers.
But Upland is doing more than simply adding Cimpl to our product portfolio. We are introducing it as part of Upland’s ITFM Cloud.
As a core player in the Market Guide for IT Financial Management Tools, Upland’s ITFM solution ComSci already offered TEM capabilities prior to the addition of Cimpl, which included full chargeback and showback capabilities centered around detailed usage management and call accounting. Cimpl makes that ITFM Cloud offering even more powerful with its robust inventory and asset management, self-serve ordering, contract management, invoice management, and audit and dispute resolution capabilities.
The Cimpl TEM system can feed information into ITFM platforms, which allows CIOs to show which business units in the enterprise are using what services. Armed with the Cimpl data, Upland’s ITFM function also can bill the business unit for the services it has received.
Combining Cimpl with our ITFM solution into the ITFM Cloud provides our customers with a greater degree of transparency across multiple views of IT spend including assets, technology stacks, business services, and investment type.
It’s truly a unique offering in the market and a real game changer for our customers.
Today’s Enterprise IT Landscape Is Complex and Can Be Difficult to Manage
TEM solutions have existed for decades. But traditional TEM offerings focused exclusively on processing vendor invoices related to wireline telephone services and mobility management. These limited offerings, however, don’t address the world in which businesses operate today.
Modern enterprises no longer rely only on a mix of wireless and wireline telecommunications services to stay productive. They also use an array of cloud services, which may include Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS) and more. A large and growing number of businesses also employ Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions to stay competitive and grow. Plus, every organization has its own traditional IT hardware assets.
That’s a lot of moving parts and involves a great deal of complexity. As a result, many enterprises and business leaders may find it difficult to get their heads around their enterprise digital footprint (EDF), that is to say what assets they have, which ones they actually need, and how best to optimize their IT spend.
But There’s a Cimpl Way for Enterprises to Take Back Control and Gain Visibility
Many businesses attempt to manage their IT and telecom resources internally using manual processes and Excel. Spreadsheets, however, don’t provide a complete view of IT resources and spending, with the granular level of details needed to effectively understand where their dollars are being allocated. They also don’t reveal whether they are billed accurately by suppliers.
As a result, enterprises waste money on services they don’t need and are unable to appropriately allocate them across the enterprise. Worse, they could be running afoul of compliance requirements and not even know it. That lack of visibility and control can be costly.
Much like organizations that have not embraced or engaged with an ITFM solutions vendor, internal operations become arduous and are prone to errors, lack repeatable processes, and cost the organization money. Upland’s ITFM Cloud solution provides enterprises with the visibility and control they need.
The solution enables enterprises to view and control their cloud, IoT, telecom services, and IT resources and spending. We can help our customers track costs, licenses, and usage for cloud services such as Cisco Webex, Salesforce, SAP Concur, and Skype for Business. This Upland solution also does IaaS tracking.
Enterprises rely on ITFM Cloud to provision and support IT and telecom equipment and services from the initial request to the management of contracts, inventory, invoices, and usage. In addition to telecom and IT invoice expense management, Upland Cimpl performs dispute and resolution; rate verification and cost savings; and move, add, change, and service disconnection management.
Paired with ITFM and PPM, Managed TEM Becomes Even More Powerful
While Upland customers may opt to use Cimpl as a stand-alone solution, we’re also bringing Cimpl into the Upland Project and Financial Management (PFM) solution suite to provide our customers with even greater value and insight into their IT costs. Cimpl joins the best-of-breed IT Financial Management (ComSci) and Project and Portfolio Management (PowerSteering), Knowledge Management (RightAnswers) to provide a unique enterprise-grade, end-to-end solution that enables organizations to optimize technology and drive digital transformation.
Tie that into our recognized ITFM/TBM Managed Services Offering, and our clients now benefit from a best-of-breed solution delivering optimization, transparency, efficiencies, and a maturity roadmap with which no other vendor in the market can compete.
The fact that our PFM suite also includes Project Portfolio Management adds to its uniqueness in the marketplace. PPM functionality provides IT with the ability to align IT project intake with allocated budget and corporate priorities. It also allows for the execution and management of that project work, and related resources and costs. This is important, because PPM data allows IT departments to show enterprise leaders where their money is being spent, and how that spending maps to specific departments, projects, and business priorities.
Upland’s Integration of Advanced TEM Capabilities Is a Winning Solution Suite
As you can see, Upland’s acquisition of Cimpl and our integration of this industry-leading TEM solution into our PFM suite delivers great value for our enterprise customers. With the addition of Cimpl to the Upland PFM suite, our customers will enjoy IT portfolio optimization, and improved demand management, resource utilization, and project execution.
Our Cimpl acquisition is also good news for Upland and the market at large. It helps consolidate what Gartner describes as a fragmented TEM landscape. Upland is all about bringing things together and helping our customers fuel transformation at scale.
The Upland Team and I will be at the upcoming Gartner IT Symposium in Orlando, in just a few weeks. I’d love to meet with you and hear about how you’re addressing the $3T spending problem. Reach out to schedule a meeting, or just drop by our booth. We’ll be at Booth 251 in the Atlantic Hall, IT and Sourcing marketplace. I hope to see you there!
About Mounir Hilal
Mounir Hilal oversees Upland’s Project & IT Management products. He is also responsible for Upland’s Customer Success Program, driving adoption, value realization, retention, and loyalty for all Upland customers.