From April 2-4, 2018, the Enterprise Technology Management Association (ETMA, previously known as TEMIA) met in Nashville. This meeting brought together over 40 vendor organizations focused on various aspects of technology management including network, telecom, mobility, software, cloud infrastructure, utilities, and the Internet of Things. ETMA’s members are mainly focused on telecom expense management, managed mobility services, and related technologies.
What is ETMA?
ETMA is a non-profit organization focused on the key needs and issues of solution providers. Although Amalgam Insights is not a solution provider in telecom management, we consider this market to be a core area and attend because of the importance of being able to provide enterprise end users with guidance on the key topics that their vendors are providing. As the only analyst firm that is a current member of ETMA, we consider our membership to be an important differentiator in guiding this market compared to the other firms that dabble in technology management markets. Our role in ETMA is to help with advocating for the industry as a market evangelist, helping vendors to unlock their true value proposition, and to provide vendors with appropriate market intelligence on end-user demand for technology expense, security, and service management in areas where vendors are seeking to support end-user needs.
In the past several years, the ETMA members have expanded their focus from telecom, network, and mobility spend to look at market data, utilities, cloud infrastructure, Software as a Service, and other subscription and usage-based expenses based on the demands of customers and the fundamental structure of telecom expense solutions that allow for rapid expansion into other complex spend categories.
ETMA Takes On Foundational IT Challenges
This meeting combined a broad variety of topics by providing focused 20-30 minute sessions on topics including:
“AI Solutions That Solve Problems Today” – a topic that Amalgam believes will be important for the future of Technology Management. Today, TM solutions have a wide variety of call usage, network usage, employee and department IDs, service orders, and contracts to deeply contextualize how technology is used.
“Here Is Why IoT Will Disrupt Our Market” – given ETMA’s role in managing the inventory and expenses of millions of enterprise devices, the vendors in ETMA will play a crucial role in managing IoT going forward. The flip side is that the cost structure for IoT is very different from the smartphones that currently drive the market for managed mobility services. The vendors looking at IoT are aware that both the buyers and environments for IoT are often different from managed mobility and providers are seeking to bridge this gap.
“What You Don’t Know About GDPR Could Hurt” – Because every major technology expense provider has European customers or end users within its data, GDPR is an important issue for the technology management industry. The flipside is that vendors not looking at GDPR compliance risk being unable to support European technology environments going forward.
“What Enterprise Buyers Are Seeking” – This session was provided by Amalgam Insights to the vendor community. This presentation served both as a warning of new business drivers that are leading enterprises to new mobility, service, and software management providers and as a reminder that vendors have the opportunity to elevate the role of their buyers and employers. Going forward, Amalgam believes that as a general rule, technology vendors that fail to elevate the roles and responsibilities of their buyers will, by default, become commoditized and replaced over time.
“Opportunities from Cloud and Other Changes to Enterprise Networks” – With the emergence of software-defined networking and the increased migration of workloads to private and public clouds, the demand for Wide Area Network bandwidth capacity and acceleration continues to increase. This session explored the roles vendors can play in support the enterprise demand for the inexorable demand for better network management.
“Planning for the Future of Mobile Support” – Mobility support has become a mission-critical capability as the mobile device has become a core hub of information and business activity. This session accentuated the need to prepare for increased scale and to embrace increased expectations for managed mobility.
In covering a wide variety of topics, the ETMA conference provided an opportunity for a set of companies managing well over $60 billion in enterprise technology spend to plan for the future and to combine forces on industry-wide initiatives that could provide guidance to the world of IT as a whole.
ETMA Future Opportunities
From Amalgam’s perspective, there were two key areas for ETMA’s future opportunities that looked especially promising for the future.
First, ETMA is considering the opportunity of driving market standards for billing. Although the telecom industry has some challenges in bill quality and consistency, these issues pale in comparison to the broad variability that exists across cloud providers, software providers, and other IT providers. Amalgam believes that ETMA has a foundational opportunity to drive an IT standard for billing based on the best practices that these vendors have seen over the past 25+ years that these companies have managed telecom, mobility, and other IT categories. The time is now for IT to standardize on billing standards that will help end users to understand what they are buying and for service providers to gain better visibility of their customers’ purchases and account activity.
Second, ETMA is continuing the development of a standardized RfP document that is vendor-neutral and provides guidance on Technology Management solutions. Amalgam finds that the biggest issue that enterprises have in purchasing Technology Management solutions in competitive environments is that the RfPs are outdated, poorly aligned to business needs, and overly lengthy.
At ETMA, Amalgam found that vendors feel that TM, Telecom Expense, and Managed Mobility RfPs are often lacking on the details that enterprises want while asking for details that will not improve business outcomes. As a result, vendors find themselves competing based on a false set of criteria that is likely to lead to a failed project. As a result, this RfP effort is designed to help enterprises to better shape their own management efforts and vendor selection processes. This is an effort that Amalgam supports. Although vendors will always be self-serving to some extent, vendors in a competitive market also seek to focus their efforts on the deals that they are best suited to support rather than spending time on enterprise opportunities that they cannot realistically win.
Can ETMA Become A True Technology Management Association?
Overall, the Spring ETMA meeting represented a step forward for this industry associated and provided Amalgam with the perspective that this set of vendors is focused on customer requirements. As an outsider looking in, Amalgam believes that ETMA has a key opportunity in the rest of 2018 for massive growth by embracing its new name of “Enterprise Technology Management Association.”
One gap that Amalgam notes is that the vendor members are still focused on telecom and mobility with very little participation from IT service management, IT asset management, software asset management, SaaS expense management, cloud service management, IoT management, or IT financial management vendors. Again, the opportunity for massive vendor expansion exists by truly embracing the term of “technology management” rather than maintaining a focus on “telecom management.” ETMA is taking on large enterprise IT challenges and needs participation from all relevant vendors to maximize the impact of its activities.
Amalgam believes that both vendors and ETMA would benefit from this expanded view, which would allow all parties to benefit from the best practices and observations of managing billions of dollars in technology spend. In the upcoming year, Amalgam looks forward to seeing how ETMA tackles these challenges and opportunities over the rest of this year as an industry association that collectively manages over $75 billion in technology spend and has the most definitive experience of vendor service and billing on the planet.