A dozen iPad raffles, a killer continental breakfast, and Tim Colwell setting a record for most consecutive, independent General Session presentations in a row.
Last week the annual AOTMP conference brought together over one hundred technology and telecom experts focused on expense management in Orlando for three days of learning, sharing, and a fair dose of socializing. For those of you who were unable to make it, or maybe spent the day at Epcot or the pool, I want to share three trending topics and one item of bragging from the event.
A common topic that never seems to lack for interest is maintaining accurate inventory. This year was no exception as it was a highlighted topic. One session helped frame a solution by advocating to think about the accuracy detractors. The detractors were divided into three categories: Telecom or IT Environment Practices, Vendors, and the Business. Brainstorm and document the different factors within each. As an example, for telecom vendors, it may be inaccurate services, under-performing SLAs, ineffective customer service, inaccurate reporting or misalignment with business objectives. Assemble your team to rank each factor as a contributor to the problem and then develop solutions for the top few. This allows you to make tangible improvements while developing a roadmap for future improvements.
Several of the most attended sessions were those on implementation pitfalls and things to know presented by both providers and agnostic consultants. The key takeaway was to perform your due diligence prior to the implementation, not during. There is no substitute for a roadmap and contingency plan created before you implement a new or replacement TEM platform. The questions you have must be raised early and you should be looking to your TEM provider to raise questions and offer insight into issues that have arisen with other clients. You should feel confident that the best practices, as well as the poor practices are discussed, so there is ample awareness going into the project. Further, once the project begins there must be predetermined scorecards, dashboards, or milestones, that are forcing honest conversations to determine whether the project is on course or beginning to veer. Failure to do so early, only creates additional cost, delays, and dissatisfaction.
The most interesting conversation was what constitutes a great user group. What made this particularly useful is the amount of consensus from enterprise customers. The items they most wanted to see in a user group from a TEM provider were:
• Updates on the product roadmap;
• A discussion on new features, allowing for input, prioritization, and a review of the previous suggestions actioned;
• Education not just on how things work, but the tips and tricks that may not be obvious;
• Best practices shared via physical demonstration – the real why and how.
I took the comment on the why and the how to heart. It was a great suggestion for delivering training and content that matters. Going forward, I know I will be asking myself why does this matter to the audience, and how exactly, how specifically, will they accomplish this.
One Shameless Brag
A personal highlight for our organization occurred at the annual awards presentation. MDSL was up for two awards – including Hottest New Solution. Handling cloud expenses is new in the TEM space, but a simple extension from the mechanisms we use to manage Telecom and Market Data Subscriptions today. As they read through the nominees and the winner, we were very excited and appreciative of the win, the recognition, and the award.
Of course, there were many other great sessions, new topics, and fun had by all. But the three items above should be just enough to convince you to attend in 2020. We look forward to seeing you next year.