We regularly talk about the benefits companies can achieve when they outsource and streamline technology expense management (TEM). However that’s only part of the story. A key TEM success factor is effective technology expense management reporting for fact-based, intelligent decisions.
Those companies with complex technology estates, expense contracts and programs must have easy access to data, reports and dashboards from a simple and easy-to-understand user interface.
The User Interface
What do we mean when we refer to the “user interface?” A general definition of the term “user interface” is the visual part of a TEM software application. The user interface is how information is displayed on the screen, including navigation, icons and any graphical representations of data.
When it comes to technology expense management reporting systems, the user interface should offer easy-to-understand, visually intuitive graphical representations of key expense metrics.
Reports and charts available to the user are also part of that user interface. Color coded bar charts, graphs and other visual depictions of data should give users a fast look at key metrics important to technology expense management.
5 TEM Reporting Must-Haves
When considering technology expense management reporting, companies are wise to look for the following capabilities:
- Anywhere Access: The TEM interface and all reporting should be browser- and device-independent, allowing anytime, anywhere access from any device or Internet browser. Now more than ever in this era of “BYOD,” it’s important for enterprise-wide data to be available on a range of devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) via the cloud.
- Seamless Integration: The TEM system should integrate with any HR, Accounts Payable, and proprietary system. Reports should track and manage fully integrated data. Additionally, users should be able to quickly export data displayed on the page into a spreadsheet or other format.
- Real-Time Insight: Mission-critical expense metrics should be easily available to the entire enterprise— in real time— so companies can see current and historical trends, and have a better chance to take action about decisions for a more competitive business process. Companies can make informed decisions from real time reports such as analysis of usage patterns, spend trending, and inventory by location.
- Ease of Navigation: Look for a TEM user interface that offers friendly and consistent navigation, and intuitive icons for ease of moving about the application.
- Flexibility: Reports and charts should be easily customized for ease of use. For instance, users should be able to alter the page background and other formatting to reflect their preferences in color, layout, and positioning. A flexible system will provide access to a user’s most commonly used graphs— displaying up to the minute information within a click or two. In addition, searching for relevant data, reports and charts should be straightforward. A universal search field is a must.
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