Are You Using the Leakage Catalogue Yet?

The most powerful tool in risk management is a checklist. Why spend time imagining what errors are possible, when somebody else has already written a comprehensive list based on accumulated experience? Nobody has a perfect memory, and many things can go wrong, which is why a checklist is the simplest and best way to reduce errors that are otherwise bound to happen. That is the reasoning behind the Revenue and Cost Leakage Catalogue from the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG).

Do you want a list of every aspect of your telco where revenues might be lost, or costs may slip out of control? This inventory of leakage points contains literally hundreds of examples of leakage that have occurred in real life. The catalogue has been crowdsourced from the collective knowledge of telcos worldwide, under the supervision of industry veteran Geoff Ibbett, and supported by the sponsorship of Symmetry Solutions. With all those people working together, it is certain they have identified some leakage risks which nobody in your business has reviewed yet.

If those were not enough reasons to use the inventory in your telco, then consider that RAG is currently running a global survey that will compare the coverage of leaks between different telcos. Forget about maturity and other relatively subjective measures of your performance – what really matters is the completeness of your controls. If you are not covering a leakage risk, then how do you know that nothing is being lost? Such leakage points belong in the ‘known unknown’ category, where you know that something could be going wrong, but your telco has not invested the resources to determine if anything is going wrong. And that makes benchmarking a persuasive way to argue for increased coverage.

If your telco is only covering 40 percent of possible leaks, whilst the average coverage is 70 percent, then what rationale can your executives offer for not closing the gaps? Even the most skeptical exec will not pretend their business cannot be hurt by losses it does not know about. On the contrary, ignorance is a root cause of the greatest losses, because nothing is being done to reduce them.

To make life simple, the survey can be completed in just 10 minutes. That is because the survey gives respondents a high-level view of the terrain, reminding them of all the ways in which telcos can lose money. I expect some will be happy to just do a quick review from high altitude to see how they compare with telcos worldwide. Others will start thinking in greater depth about what can go wrong in areas that they rarely give attention to. If the survey provides a helicopter view, it is backed by the catalogue which covers the ground in detail.

The RAG Leakage Catalogue is available for free, and can be found here. The questionnaire for the leakage coverage benchmark survey is here.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.