Untangling the Wires: Acronyms Tied to TEM

By Joe Basili of TEMIA, the telecom expense management trade association

At first  TEM programs only focused on telecommunications lines and the bills from carriers. As the telecommunications world has expanded so has the discipline. A number of other practices now fall under the umbrella of TEM.

TEMIA introduced the term Telecommunications Management to convey all the activities that enterprises manage as part of overseeing mobile and fixed telecommunications networks. It is a term we’ll be using in these posts. Other terms related to TEM include Communications Lifecycle Management (CLM), Communications Expense Management, Communications Service Management. These are often used to differentiate Solution Providers’ offerings and demonstrate services or software that offers additional capabilities. TEM has expanded with these new areas to include savings, visibility and control for global communications services, TEM, Wireless Expense Management (WEM), Mobile Device Management (MDM), Mobile Application Management (MAM), Managed Mobility Services (MMS) and Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) and Mobile Security Management (MSM).

These variations on TEM reflect effort by the industry to explain its offering and value proposition more effectively because

  • A “one size fits all” focus on expense reduction that is often associated with TEM does not meet every client’s needs.
  • Expense management is reactive. Telecommunications Management is more strategic.
  • TEM does not address the full value proposition from supply chain management and employee enablement with more effective communications that drive productivity.
  • These Solutions Providers seek to re-position themselves in a more strategic role with customers and compete in a larger market with more opportunities.

Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in…

The future appears to lie in adoption and use of a new broader term, but people continue to use TEM when searching for Solutions Providers and issuing RFPs. As a result, the services and software capabilities included in TEM are expanding. With the convergence of IT and Telecommunications, TEM and Telecommunications Management will help organizations run their telecom network as a business. These programs can provide a proactive best practice framework. In the future, analytics, performance benchmarking and business intelligence will drive value which exceeds the investment cost for Telecommunications Management.

TEM is attracting new customers, and Solutions Providers are selling more services and functionality to clients. Organizations need TEM to get the most value from their network and to run it in the most efficient manner, from a cost and performance perspective.