Managed service providers help with the rapid pace of developments in technology combined with the ongoing expenses for those developments. It is a demanding and constantly growing responsibility in scope and complexity that is difficult to manage. Small and mid-sized businesses to large enterprises all heavily rely on their technology infrastructure. As technologies expand and become more complicated, the need for oversight of IT services grows.
Why Managed Service Providers Are Needed
To understand the scope of an enterprise’s telecom or IT services, consider its size. Enterprise companies typically have several hundred employees and offer services directly to consumers and businesses from various, often global, locations.
For each building or office space, there are communications systems consisting of wireless, wireline, internet, SD-WAN, VPN, cloud, and cable. These include numerous platforms and applications requiring monitoring and validation. An increasingly important requirement is cybersecurity, which is essential to protect the services mentioned above and critical company, personnel, and client information.
While the IT department may be able to manage some of those areas, it would be unrealistic and financially burdensome to expect the effective management of all those areas from an internal group. As a result, many enterprises outsource some or all of these responsibilities to a managed service provider.
Managed service providers are third-party companies that provide network, security, infrastructure, technical, and financial management support. The range of service offerings by MSPs varies depending on the industry and the business focus of the MSP. For example, some managed service providers specialize in security, while others administer managed communication support or optimization services. MSPs also offer cloud-based services as more applications and technologies become cloud-based.
More Than IT Oversight
Working with a managed service provider offers several benefits. Their expertise in overseeing complicated systems and programs ensures the business continues to run smoothly. In addition, without having the task of managing, optimizing, or replacing programs, companies save time and money while maximizing the focus of internal resources. To illustrate, a CompTIA survey showed that almost half of the survey respondents added premium MSP services in the past year.
MSPs assimilate the responsibility of IT management, allowing companies to focus on their business and increase productivity and profits. But tracking the expenses aligned with technology services is also a substantial obligation.
Although most managed service providers work directly with IT systems and services, some companies include specific areas such as expense management. For instance, technology expense management focuses more on the economic effects technology services have on a business.
Expense Management Services
Telecom expense management (TEM) is defined by Gartner as services that “provide enterprises’ IT, procurement and finance departments with the ability to order, provision, support and manage costs of large-scale corporate communications and associated IT services with their inventories.” These services initially included fixed and mobile telephone communications and network data. They have since expanded to technology as IT now encompasses a broader range of services.
TEM covers various IT and finance operations tasks, including advanced reporting and analytics, inventory management, IT asset management, and compliance. The financial aspect of TEM involves employee and cost center expense management, procurement, automated invoice audits, and accounts payable.
The vast number of telecommunications and technology services invoices handled monthly require payment within 30 days and must be verified and accurate before payment. However, the best-planned internal processes to meet this demand can still be subject to human error and operational delays. This results in late fees or large-scale service interruptions. Expense management services help to reduce the amount of time and alleviate the errors in manual processes.
The quantity of invoices that must be processed requires dedicated attention and a system that can accommodate the high volume of payments. MSPs take a considerable load of time-consuming and sometimes manual payment processes out of the hands of the enterprise company. In addition, expense management providers help to simplify billing processes, provide better visibility, and make payments faster, boosting payment productivity.
MSP Payment Partnerships
TEM services benefit greatly from partnering with an AP automation company that furnishes the platform, software, or API needed to automate the accounts payable process. Typically, the AP automation connection is integrated within the TEM platform, with the expense management company acting as a hub of interconnected systems that work together to provide the full range of services needed.
An automated bill pay process handles the high volume of client and customer payments, establishes detailed billing data, and improves the screening of records which helps to prevent double payments and late payments. Additionally, AP automation integrates easily with existing client ERPs, reduces errors in the billing process and allows for better client and customer data security.
Telecom expense management providers help enterprise companies reduce costs, minimize errors, and process payments quickly, reducing payment delays and preserving service continuity for their clients. Moreover, as they track and monitor payments, they ensure better compliance, simplify reporting, reduce fraud, and implement better visibility into overall costs for the telecom or utility client.
Automation software is one element in a collection of programs that come together in a managed service provider ecosystem. AP automation integration builds long-term growth potential for MSPs. It helps expense management providers offer a full and innovative payment solution for their clients. Within IT, mobile, cable, and cloud services, bill pay may be a small component, but it’s an important one.
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