TEM MDM WEM WHAT? Telecom ConfusionGive yourself 10 bonus points for knowing what the telecom acronyms stand for, another 10 if you know what the terms actually mean, and an outright A+ if you know the difference between them all! For the other 99% of us, let’s dive right in.

  • MDM: Mobile Device Management
  • WEM: Wireless Expense Management
  • TEM: Telecom Expense Management

Ok so there are clearly some similarities: they all are about the “management” of something that seems telecom-related that revolves around devices and expenses. This is where the obvious begins to blur and the nuances need a little explaining. Bear with me as the definitions are fairly bland but the features are about as sexy as IT is allowed to get!

Simply put, MDM is a software-based management tool that deals with the deployment, security, monitoring and management of a company’s mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops (and increasingly, even desktops as well). MDM’s purpose is two-fold: to optimize the functionality and security of the mobile devices while maintaining the security of the corporate network.

Now for the racy part: the software “plays well with others,” meaning it is compatible with all devices, across all operating platforms/applications, and is carrier agnostic. Updates and security patches can be implemented over the air, just as new devices can be added, or deleted, so true “no-touch” management can be performed GLOBALLY! If a device is lost or stolen it can be locked, wiped and geo-located if needed. The more sensitive the data contained on your devices, the more your heart just raced. It is able to communicate with all ERP software in real time so reporting is truly up to the minute and can become one of the best friends of your management team. It will also sync with your travel provider to ensure that roaming costs are minimized as it will insure that the best roaming plans are activated before departure and terminated upon your traveler’s return. For a list of the top providers in the space and to learn much more about this software click here.

Just as MDM manages the devices, WEM focuses more on the expenses associated with smartphones and tablets. WEM usually does not include laptops since air-cards have become obsolete due to the proliferation of Wi-Fi hot spots. While MDM is bought from a vendor and then managed internally, WEM is an outsourced solution. At its core WEM is the service of managing a company’s wireless existence and all that comes with it. This includes the purchase of all inventory (including upgrades and replacement units) and ongoing inventory management, plan selection and ongoing plan optimization, monthly invoice analysis and reporting, and Contract Negotiation or RFP Administration. Some firms use software to provide this service while others perform the tasks manually.

For many years wireless expenses rapidly decreased due to competition but over the last few years prices have begun to climb as data usage has increased tremendously, making wireless expense a very significant line item for most companies. WEM helps management monitor all wireless expenditures and better manage the costs. It also creates significant efficiency within the finance group as it performs pre-payment invoice audits, automates bill payment and allocates costs to the correct GL codes. WEM is one of the fastest growing niche spaces in telecom today.

TEM services are the same as WEM but the inventory, billing and expenses being managed are not confined to wireless expenses. TEM service manages local, long distance, Internet, data networks, conferencing, colocation or data hosting, cloud services, SaaS, software licenses, and even equipment lease/rental and maintenance agreements.

There are simply too many flavors and versions of WEM/TEM to do a fair comparison of providers. So now the next time you hear someone refer to MDM or TEM you will at least be in the same mental stratosphere with them… until they begin speaking in IT and quickly distancing themselves from all things human! If there are enough views/shares/likes/comments, we will continue to provide other tech speak tutorials.

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Ken Reda

Ken brings over 30 years of sales & management experience in the Telecommunications & Manufacturing industries to Profit Advisory Group (PAG). Today, he leads the Operations & Audit teams at PAG, where he loves to save you money. Stay connected with him on Google + & through the PAG Twitter.