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Imagine you have identified a few areas needing improvement. A budget needs to be reduced. Or a project needs attention from a resource overwhelmed with administrative tasks. Sometimes recognizing pain points is the easy part. Now how do you decide where to begin? Audit or TEM?

Let’s first consider telecom expense managment (TEM), a full telecom lifecycle management solution. It may seem counter-intuitive to start here because clients sometimes think they need to “clean up” everything before implementing a TEM solution. On the contrary, the right solution does the cleaning for you. TEM provides a before and after baseline of inventory and spend with just as little effort as an Audit.  TEM also ensures the changes made during the “clean up” are tracked and verified, whether it’s removing service charges from a bill or migrating or consolidating services to a new provider.

Any audit will take months from start to finish: from gathering data to analysis, then requesting service changes or placing disputes to final verification on the bills. During that time, your environment continues to change, services are added and removed, contracts are expiring or renewing, and so on. One key differentiator to TEM is having a constantly updated, managed lifecycle. Increased improvement can be found by widening the timespan of inquiry. TEM is an “always on” solution.

Which is faster?

Results should come quickly in either solution. But which is faster? An audit, right? Well, an audit is definitely shorter because like any project it has a definite beginning and end. But is an audit faster to results than TEM? No.

Baseline telecom audits may appear to stack all work effort in a shorter period of time. But it’s the same work effort as a TEM implementation. Perhaps you’re concerned that you don’t have the resources available to support an audit’s front-loaded resource demand. In that case, if you’re asking which is faster, perhaps time savings is important to you. Remember: Audits save money, TEM saves both time and money. Both solutions have the same lead-time to cost-savings results. 

Which is cheaper?

Sometime audits are lauded as the cheaper alternative to TEM. But is that true? It depends on your audit and TEM partner. With CMG, full audits are included in all our lifecycle TEM solutions. This isn’t true from most providers. This is why we provide both options to clients. Often, clients can get two or three years of TEM service for the price of an audit. That makes the decision easy.

What about contingency audit engagements?

These pricing structures can be very helpful for organizations lacking the budget for – or faith in – an audit. CMG offers contingency based audits for this reason. But be sure to evaluate them thoroughly. Run a conservative estimate of savings and fees and compare that to the cost of a TEM solution. Of course, this isn’t apples-to-apples since TEM provides much more than an audit, but it gives perspective. Audits can be more expensive than they initially seem.

If you do choose a contingency offering, never pay more than a percentage of one year’s savings and pay fees monthly, never in one lump sum. Avoid upfront, flat-fee audits unless it is discounted heavily and requirements and deliverables are clear upfront.

Is there a “Best of Both Worlds” solution?


If the primary consideration for an audit is a contingency pricing engagement, CMG has a unique solution to consider. CMG offers success-based TEM. Like a contingency audit, there are no out-of-pocket or upfront costs. This service begins with an audit PLUS a concurrent implementation of full TEM lifecycle management services. To learn more about CMG’s comprehensive approach to optimizing telecom solutions, call (800) 599-9315.