More RAG Than Ever Before

I like to begin each year by looking back at the previous year’s RAG meetings to see how they have developed, and what improvements can be made for the year ahead. So what have I learnt from 2015?

The RAG has been steadily growing for the past few years as we expanded, so to me there was a need for the group’s name to change – to evolve with our changing structure.

Whilst the meeting numbers and format remain largely the same (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!), the recent change in name from the ‘Revenue Assurance Group’ to the ‘Risk & Assurance Group’, and our subsequent approach, does seem to have impacted both discussion topics and attendee numbers.

We discussed a great variety of topics in 2015, including:

  • Margin Assurance (Tal Eisner, TEOCO)
  • Proposition Abuse (Peter Quarmby, Tesco Mobile)
  • RA & the IoT (Andy Weston, Cartesian)
  • Predictive Analytics in RA (Hayley Daniels, Neural Technologies)
  • And much more!

But I want to focus more on the latest, winter session topics from November.

Horia Selegean (BT) gave us a truly excellent insight into how BT have been successfully approaching Contract Assurance and how they have been combatting the challenges across a large scale organisation with huge contractual variances. It was impressive, not just for the technical solution they created to deal with the problem, but also for the senior stakeholder support in the approach to tackling such a broad area of the business. Suffice to say that engagement from the room was so good that we actually had to cut short the discussion in order to keep the rest of the day on track!

Rene Felber (TeliaSonera and the TMF) came all the way from beautiful Scandinavia to bring us the latest news and survey insights from the TMF’s Revenue Assurance survey. We learned about changes in perception of RA practitioners about the businesses they work for and encouraged more of the RAG members to participate in the 2015 survey before it closed. We’re looking forward to seeing the final survey results. Rene’s enthusiasm for the survey and RA in general was contagious, and his interest in evolving the survey to adapt to what we do was a breath of fresh air for the attendees.

Lee Scargall, (not long back in the UK after working for Ooredoo) and Khawar Mushtaq (still at Ooredoo Group) gave us great insight into how Ooredoo Group manage ERM in the real world, as well as touching on risk tools, why telecoms companies should take more risks and what happens to shareholder value for a business when things go wrong.

Jason Lane-Sellers (CFCA) brought another survey to the table – this time for fraud, with the results of the 2015 CFCA Fraud Loss Survey 2015. It’s great to have fraud on the agenda, and to hear industry views on how to tackle it. Jason previously spoke at our spring meeting, so having him return for the winter session gave us a sense of continuity when reviewing trends in fraud management. Personally, I started with a great many preconceptions based on old experiences, and these were corrected by this survey. In particular, fraud originating from Latvia is no longer as bad as it has been. We hope that Jason and the CFCA will continue to use the RAG meeting as an opportunity to share their knowledge with an audience that is eager to learn more.

We closed out the day and the final meeting of the year with another hot topic – OTT Bypass. Whilst you and the attendees were aware of the issue, Andy Gent and Paul David (both of Revector) gave us a much more detailed view of what is happening in the world of OTT Bypass, and of the very interesting and faintly terrifying revenue implications surrounding it. It was a revelation for most, and left those in the room who may be suffering revenue degradation with a very real urge to find and address the risk at hand. What a note to finish on!

With 2015 being another year of change and growth for the group, you may think that we’re going to take it easy. That is not the plan! The group as a whole, as well as myself and the Committee, have been pushing hard for further development of the RAG events, with the aim of further broadening our reach and appeal. We want to grow and make RAG even more relevant to assurance and risk professionals, both in the UK and around the world. That means further developing the agenda to ensure we have the best speakers talking about the implications of the new technologies and market forces that are changing our industry. In summary we want RAG to be more than it has ever been before. We want to…

Make it more of what it needs to be, in order to gather a greater cross section of professionals.

Make it more meaningful and insightful when discussing newer technologies and the drivers of change for our businesses.

Make it even more fun!

So come and join us. Contact us to become a member. Membership is free, and you will receive newsletters, access to the presentations and invitations to all our meetings. Network with colleagues, join the fun, and have your say in 2016!

If you want to hear more about the Risk & Assurance Group, its history and plans for the future, then listen to Rob’s interview for the January episode of the Commsrisk podcast.

Rob Chapman
Rob Chapman
Rob is a consultant working for Cartesian in the UK, specializing in business assurance. He previously worked at Three, Cable & Wireless, Verizon Business and TalkTalk.

Rob is also Chairman of the UK's Risk & Assurance Group. The RAG is the oldest regular gathering of RA professionals anywhere in the world, having first met in 2004.
  • Paul David

    Rob – thanks for the kind words in your article. OTT Bypass solutions are keeping us very busy at Revector. We have now live customers in Africa, MiddleEast and Asia delivering elimination as well as detection. Look forward to updating the RAG Team in London in March with our new insights and success stories from round the world. Moreover, our thanks to Eric and CommsRisk for his continued coverage of the OTT Bypass issues faced by the industry. Eric’s diligent work keeps us all informed of the threats faced, the solutions available in a totally unbiased and informative way.