Revenue Assurance

The Revenue Assurance Challenge and Opportunity

Telecom operators’ reality is a technologically complex, competitive and global environment. New technologies and the arrival of OTT’s have meant increased competition, even in national markets, from global players with highly disruptive business models. This increasingly competitive global market where customers have more choices than ever before have stimulated operators to invest in new sophisticated technologies and products.

These new services together with bundled and tiered product plans and flat rates – or “all you can eat” offerings – increases the demands on billing, OSS & BSS systems. Billing and collection, which were previously fairly straightforward exercises, have become increasingly complex. Sometimes the billing systems are not optimally integrated or their capabilities aligned with all products and services which increases the risks in the Revenue Assurance (RA) perspective.

The high-volume, low-value nature of transactions of most operators further amplifies the financial implications of any “small” errors.

Typical reasons behind RA problems are changes in configuration of switches or network; new products or tariffs; and issues in integration between mediation and billing systems. In addition traditional risks such as fraud or more mundane issues such as incorrect data entry are ever present RA challenges.

Effective Revenue Assurance has a significant positive impact on financial performance and can also contribute to higher customer satisfaction and retention.

Scope

In order to ensure that the Revenue Assurance activities can be measured and targeted effectively the scope in terms of objective (what to look for) and domain (where) must be defined.

The objective defines the purpose of the activity. Examples of objectives are:

  • Revenue leakage
  • Cost leakage
  • Margin leakage
  • Fraud management
  • Network downtime

Examples of domains are:

Vertical domain Horizontal domain
Mediation system Pre-paid voice
Interconnect billing system IPTV
CRM system Internet ADSL
Voice switches PSTN
Pre-paid billing system SMS
Sales MMS
Credit management In-bound roaming
Accounts receivables

 

 

Our Methodology

We offer operators a hands on approach in evaluating and enhancing their RA capabilities. We address Revenue Assurance in three main perspectives:

  • Detection
  • Correction
  • Prevention

 

Detection

Revenue Assurance Detection entails the monitoring of how data changes as it moves between billing systems or within a given system itself. Detection can be achieved by both manual and automated means. Typical detection activities include comparison, investigation and auditing of information and processes. The aim is to find the root cause behind detected errors and deviations.

Detection can also be expanded to include fraud management, tariff abuse or even low margin customers, products or segments that would not normally be identifiable in existing reports or procedures.

RA Detection can also be a forensic investigation either as an ad-hoc initiative aiming to find any currently unknown issues or to find the reason behind a known problem. Forensic detection of unknown RA problems can be a very challenging and difficult undertaking and is one of our core competencies.

Inomial provides RA solutions for both one-off and continuous detection processes. We provide experienced consulting along with widely deployed software and services, with both cloud and on-premise models.

 

Correction

Correction is the set of activities and processes employed to minimize errors identified by the RA Detection. Typically some information or configuration needs to be added, edited or removed from a system, process or procedure in order to correct the detected anomaly. The process of correction of a root cause could involve modifications or enhancements of information, processes, systems, technology or organisation.

Inomial provides one-off consulting reports and, if required, ongoing real-time actionable alerts and exception reporting services to guide operators towards the correct remediation activities.

Prevention

Prevention is the process of performing an activity in order to prevent anomalies that would be found using Revenue Assurance Detection. Preventive activities can be:

  • Synchronization; for instance ensuring that price bands or tariff plans are uniformly implemented across all systems or that all customers in the CRM system are also implemented in the billing system.
  • Data Integrity; for instance comparing different sources of data ensuring they match.
  • Pre Process Checks; for instance checking that data is consistent and conforming to requirements before it is loaded into a system.
  • Real-Time Checks; for instance re-rating, re-billing and reconciling against the primary billing platform to ensure accuracy and quickly stem leakage by providing actionable alerts;
  • Post Process Checks; for instance checking that output from a process is relevant compared to the input.

Inomial’s customisable RA platform provides re-rating, reconciliation, fraud detection and other features which are customised on a per-deployment basis to fit the specific requirements of an operator.

Examples of RA assignments

  • A forensic RA study of any already known problem
  • An ad-hoc RA Detection exercise with an objective and domain to be defined
  • Assessment and Investigation of current RA processes and capabilities giving recommendations in line with best practice
  • Deployment of a real-time re-rating, reconciliation and analytics engine for any service or group of services, either on-premise or in the cloud.
  • Outsourcing of RA activities partly or in full