Pity the poor CDR

Posts on talkRA rightly focus on the life and times of the RA practitioner but for a moment let’s reflect on a primary object of our work – that small 1Kb bundle of joy, we affectionately call a “CDR”.

While RA people may cry out asking what’s next for them personally, think of the CDR. 10 years ago they were front and centre for every fraud and RA manager. Fraud systems obsessed with building interfaces to collect them, while RA systems rushed to reconcile them. We deployed SS7 probes to check their accuracy and verified mediation systems fill with enough complex logic to entertain any CDR passing through on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Each individual CDR could be comfortable that the rated price that it was given would in fact turn, as if by magic, into real revenue. CDRs were important and everyone knew it.

But then it started to change. Fraud managers and analysts wanted more data and information on which to base decisions and while CDRs continued to be needed, understanding the fraud risk of the CDRs together with the customer profile (including subscriber information, payments data etc) became central. Competitive markets drove tariffs lower and plans with included call minutes became popular – essentially to the extent now that, like fixed broadband, the value lost from missing a CDR or rating one incorrectly is rapidly approaching zero. Fraudsters targeted the latest iPhone at the point of sale or split up prepaid packs before our a service was even activated, let alone creating CDRs. And products continued to be integrated into bundles, where the value does not derive from the usage itself but from the recurring monthly charges.

So spare a thought for our friend the CDR, and as you reflect, think also about the time in your day spent worrying about CDRs and all the places they may visit and be transformed by in their journey from switch to bill – is it still the best use of your time to give them such attention?

Mike Willett
Mike Willett
Mike is a Director at Ernst & Young, Australia. He is responsible for enterprise intelligence, helping clients to improve their management and use of data. He can be contacted at: mike.willett@au.ey.com.

Mike was previously the Director for Fraud & Revenue Assurance at Telstra. He started his career at BellSouth (now Vodafone) in New Zealand and then moved to Praesidium Services in the UK. Mike graduated from the University of Auckland in New Zealand with degrees in psychology and marketing.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised if in 10 years we will be reading the obituary… CDR RIP ;)