Telecom Expense Management: The Year in Review, the Year Ahead
December 26, 2007
By Mae Kowalke
, TMCnet Contributor
TMCnet asked John Shea, Chief Marketing Officer at Rivermine (News
), to share his perspective on the telecom expense management (TEM) market. Rivermine is a TEM solutions provider that covers the full spectrum of communications asset management—including both wireline and wireless.
TMCnet: How would you define "telecom expense management" and how is that different, if indeed it is, from how the term might have been defined a year ago?
JS: We define telecom expense management as the end-to-end, automated management of wireline and wireless expenses, as well as circuits and devices. This encompasses the entire telecom lifecycle, including contract sourcing, procurement, provisioning, inventory management, wireless management and invoice processing/auditing.
A year ago, the unification of wirelines and wireline wasn’t there, as they were dealt with separately. The TEM market now operates with wireless and wireline unification and utilizes business intelligence much more. Supporting this shift, Rivermine announced its latest product release, Rivermine 5.0, in February, which included the Rivermine Clarity Decision Engine—a business intelligence tool that enables users to benchmark against both industry data and their own performances, as well as to engage in what-if analysis regarding potential network decisions, ROI timetables, etc. These new TEM capabilities did not previously exist.
TMCnet: What were some of the 2007 highlights for Rivermine?
2007 was a big year for Rivermine. More than 225 companies have used our automated telecom expense management solutions for both wireline and wireless expenses, with roughly 40 new customers in 2007 alone. As of third quarter 2007, year-over-year sales bookings increased by 123 percent. We launched a new product version (Rivermine 5.0) in February, including expanded business intelligence and international support offerings, and closed our third round of funding in June—adding powerhouse investor Softbank (News
) Capital. Then, in October, we took our partnership with wireless leader BBR Wireless Management to the next level with a strategic merger. In addition, we became the first TEM vendor to offer Verizon (News
) Business eBonding capabilities with the first joint customer, Fifth Third Bank.
TMCnet: How do you place those highlights in the broader telecom expense management market?
If you look at Gartner's (News
) analysis, they estimate that the TEM market is growing bout 30 percent per year. Considering that figure, Rivermine is significantly outperforming the market.
TMCnet: If you had to pick one event or development that occurred during 2007 that had an impact on the telecom expense management market, what would it be?
The defining event was IBM (News
) entering the market in July and selecting Rivermine as the only TEM vendor to work with. This decision has a great impact on the marketplace, and it will drive much bigger companies to purchase TEM solutions.
TMCnet: In terms of technology, what changes did you see during 2007 for the telecom expense management market?
JS: The already strong demand for wireless and unified wireline and wireless expense management solutions has increased dramatically as companies have expanded their use of corporate wireless devices/services.
TMCnet: In terms of business practices, what changes did you see during 2007 for the telecom expense management market?
JS: As visitors can see on Rivermine’s Web site, we have formed a strong partnership with IBM as the only TEM vendor they work with. IBM is taking a leadership role in the TEM space, and this echoes a distinct industry trend of large systems integration/IT outsourcers entering the TEM marketplace.
TMCnet: Looking broadly at all the customer feedback Rivermine received during 2007, what trends do you see emerging?
JS: Customer feedback has definitely indicated ever-increasing demand for wireless and unified wireless and wireline telecom expense management. Also, big companies are turning more toward large systems integration and business process outsourcers. In addition, companies are increasing their usage of business intelligence to drive a whole new level of value from TEM; before, much of the hard ROI came from spend reduction through the discovery of billing errors. Now, business intelligence tools that mine the invoice and inventory data help provide the data necessary for management to make more intelligent network decisions such as when to migrate to a different network, how to evaluate of the up-front investment required, and calculating when ROI will be realized.
Mae Kowalke is an associate editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae’s articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.