While local companies are increasingly turning to Telephone Management Systems (TMS) to better manage their communication costs and better allocate budgets, advancements in this technology means that currently available features are just the start of what is possible.

A TMS traditionally comprises on-premise hardware and software that keeps track of incoming and outgoing calls, extensions used, numbers called, call duration and cost. With reporting from a TMS, businesses can manage employees’ usage, providing increased control over telephony costs, and avoiding bill shock at the end of the month.

Even in instances where companies subscribe to an uncapped Voice over IP (VoIP) service for a fixed fee, using a TMS helps ensure that there is no abuse of company resources, and that employees’ productivity levels are not being impacted due to time spent on unnecessary or personal calls.

However, as TMS moves toward being a cloud-based, per-user subscription service, there is huge potential for the system to evolve with the ability to accept data from a wide variety of devices. This allows companies to analyse and make sense of more than just their fixed-line and mobile telephony usage and costs.

Networked printers are already being linked in such systems: this goes beyond merely identifying which employees are using printers. By monitoring information collected about which printers are being used and how often, companies know when to order ink or toner in advance, or even actively engage in predictive maintenance.

Incorporation of video conferencing (VC) data can further allow companies to gauge usage by participants from different branches or sites, identify savings – what would have previously been spent on travel and accommodation costs – and more accurately calculate a return on their VC investment, be it for endpoints or monthly subscription fees.

Many companies already get detailed internet usage reports from their connectivity providers; adding this information to the system can give complete transparency into how employees are using company resources.

This opens up a host of new opportunities: as long as a device – or sensor of any sort – is connected to a network, a flexible cloud-based system can be updated with the ability to import that data.

Collecting data from multiple sources and displaying it in a manner that gives companies a holistic view of how their business operations allows them to put in place and enforce well-informed resource usage policies and forecast more accurate budgets.

By harnessing the full potential applications of such technology, businesses no longer merely have a simple telephony management system, but a complete expense management tool for their connectivity, communication and collaboration requirements.