Macro-Diagnosis vs. Atomic Checks

I will tend to, in the course of my posts, try to displace the accepted norms of Revenue Assurance. The primary driving force behind this desire would be to challenge the way things are currently done, so that we can analyze and come  up with better methods. The following is a discussion that Eric and I were debating on earlier.

One common thing I have noticed in RA implementations is that the Telco tends to gravitate towards accuracy of transferance (xDRs from one network element being recorded in the corresponding downstream system) as the crux of revenue assurance. In my opinion, transferance is simply a symptom rather than the disease itself (eg. in usage data a Voice CDR in the MSC not being present in the downstream Mediation platform might be because of incorrect provisioning of a Postpaid customer, where the CDR stamping at the MSC defines the call as a prepaid call). However, in accordance with the Drip-Tray model I can see the validity of performing transferance checks, but I feel that Revenue Assurance as a discipline should begin to recognise the benefits of performing atomic level checks instead of the macro-diagnosis model that is currently prevalent.

What am I suggesting here? Simply put, check the health of the underlying system before we check the output of the same. A simple example would be rating. In my opinion, there are two ways to perform checks on the rating engine. One, we can re-rate some sample XDRs and check whether the system rating is in-line. Secondly, we could instead perform a reconciliation on the underlying rating tables which forms a critical part of the rating engine. As anyone related to a rating function in a telco would tell you, maintaining a seperate parallel rating framework to rerate XDRs is a massive task. It would be so much simpler (and more cost-efficient) to validate the rating structure itself within the rating engine.

Macro-diagnosis does have its benefits (as summaries help to get a bird’s-eye view of the overall health), but I believe in the intrinsic value of performing atomic level checks as they would be more cost-efficient as well as being beneficial in terms of root-cause analysis.

Ashwin Menon
Ashwin Menon began his foray into revenue assurance as an implementation on-site engineer with Subex Ltd. During the course of his career, he has been involved with various clients across the Asia-Pacific region, including tier 1 telcos. He is currently employed at Subex as a Senior Consultant.