MACH ‘First’ to Offer Cloud-Based Revenue Assurance (only 3 years after rivals)

MACH, specialists in mobile roaming data and clearing, has issued a new press release which…

…revealed the telecom industry’s first revenue assurance solution available over the cloud

Reading MACH’s press release got me so excited that I instantly fell into a deep sleep. Yawn. Eyelids heavy. Zzzzz. Feeling so tired. ***Slaps face to wake himself up*** Hmmm… there must be a reason why this topic is interesting enough to blog about. RA in the cloud… when have we heard that phrase before? Oh yes, in 2010.

Like most of you, I do not care who does something ‘first’. I want to know what a product or service really does. Full stop. Finding that out is hard enough, without verifying how many competitors can offer the same. Too few vendors explain what products and services do in straightforward and honest language. The remainder fear that customers will instantly compare them with rival products and services, and hence quickly determine which matches their requirements (and quickly dismiss those which do not). So perhaps MACH are ‘first’, in which case they should kindly explain how their ‘first’ comes ahead of the following:

  • Subex debuted ROCcloud in April 2010. Is MACH saying that Subex’s offering does not count as revenue assurance because it focuses on fraud?
  • cVidya launched cVidyaCloud later in 2010. cVidya deserve credit for being relatively modest in their claims. They did not describe cVidyaCloud as a ‘first’, even though they said it covers revenue assurance and many other assurance activities.
  • Neural Technologies offered MinotaurCloud in September 2009. To be honest, I dismissed this press release at the time because I had doubts about the true extent of the functionality that was being offered. (Sometimes I ignore dubious press releases, instead of mocking them.) Even so, I think this illustrates, rather than excuses, the problems with MACH’s extraordinary new claim.
  • Apologies to every other RA vendor with a product called XYZcloud, but this is getting boring. For no particular reason, let me highlight that Razorsight, and Kognitio also claimed to offer cloud-based revenue assurance, and did so before MACH.

What lessons should be learned from this (comical) case study? First, marketeers love vague language, as epitomized by the word ‘cloud’. The phrase ‘revenue assurance’ has also been badly used and abused over the years. Put the two together, and nobody knows what the heck you are really saying, or selling. You cannot persistently rape language, leaving it devoid of meaning, and then expect customers to trust what you say. Although use of the word ‘cloud’ is ambiguous, SaaS services, as offered by some of the vendors named above, fit within a reasonable definition of cloud computing. Which means MACH must be claiming to offer something new in terms of ‘revenue assurance’. That sounds extremely unlikely, but if it is true, they could at least spell out the detail. Instead, we get the usual drivel about being ‘end to end’ and that typical leakage is estimated at being between 5% and 15%. Yawn. Zzzzz.

***Slaps face again*** Where was I? Oh yes. Second, vendors can point to other vendors and call them liars, but that helps nobody. To be fair, vendors do not do that. I do that. But when somebody claims to be ‘first’ and somebody else previously said they did the exact same thing, then logic demands that somebody is fibbing. That undermines trust in every vendor. As the MACH press release points out, “competition is tough” for telcos, so why should they waste money (or time) investigating what sounds like a fat load of marketing hype?

Finally, MACH’s marketeers need to learn how to use Google. Any halfway decent RA practitioner will google ‘revenue assurance cloud’ and then be forced to ask why MACH’s offering is a ‘first’ in any meaningful sense. Better than halfway decent RA practitioners already read talkRA and hence know that other firms offer cloud-based RA. For example, cloud-based RA was mentioned several times in the talkRA annual review of 2010. So we all learned something valuable about Joseph George, MACH’s Director of Revenue Protection and Interconnect, who generously commented for his own press release:

“As the first vendor to launch a revenue assurance solution over the cloud, we are especially proud of CASHBACK v8. Not only is it quick to market and instantly scalable to an operator’s needs, but it also provides operators with comprehensive intelligence and broad team knowledge that goes beyond the scope of most other comparable solutions.” [My emphasis]

We learned that Joseph George does not read talkRA – the first and best source for comprehensive intelligence about telecoms business assurance. You do, which is why you know more than him! George’s competitors read this site (even the ones who hate what we write). Our survey of industry experts concluded talkRA provides knowledge that goes beyond the scope of any comparable solution; they estimated that the average talkRA post contains between 85% to 100% more information than you find in a typical press release. So do yourselves a favour, and avoid George’s mistake. Stay on top of the intelligence curve by reading talkRA, and you will be two steps ahead of your rivals, and three years ahead of the marketing hype.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is a recognized expert on communications risk and assurance. He was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and others.   Eric was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He was a founding member of Qatar's National Committee for Internet Safety and the first leader of the TM Forum's Enterprise Risk Management team. Eric currently sits on the committee of the Risk & Assurance Group, and is an editorial advisor to Black Swan. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.   Commsrisk is edited by Eric. Look here for more about Eric's history as editor.
  • And a (s)certain (get it?) other vendor I work for has been offering cloud-based solutions for revenue assurance, device management, and other point solutions for a matter of years now. Though we focus on telling our clients and prospects that rather than issuing vacuous press releases. Keep it coming, Eric, we enjoy reading your comments on the absurd claims of some so-called competitors…