Coronavirus has reminded everybody of the importance of global supply chains and the trouble that can be caused when they are obstructed. You do not need to be managing a multinational manufacturing business to appreciate this; you just need to have visited the supermarket only to discover there was no pasta or toilet paper on the shelves. Interruptions to supply can also mean interruptions to revenue, as reiterated by an excellent article in the Harvard Business Review. Most telecoms revenue assurance practitioners believe their work has no relationship with supply chain management, but there are many linkages, as became clear when I interviewed Nikhil Sehgal of Colt for the last season of RAG TV. Consider the conceptual connections to the following areas:
- Telcos generate revenue by supplying handsets. Is everything being done to analyse and assure those revenues?
- Telcos need to keep networks up and running. How optimal is their inventory of replacement equipment?
- Telcos also buy capacity from other telcos. How well priced are their fallback options?
I dislike seeing revenue assurance teams that sit isolated in finance directorates with no connection to the wider management of risk because their pragmatic data analysis skills can also be applied to the management of different risks in other parts of the business. This also has implications for the spread of revenue assurance to other sectors, a subject that clearly matters to many readers of Commsrisk per the number of views for my recent article about it. Whilst I agree that revenue assurance gets it strength by marrying analytical and auditing skills to a deep understanding of how telcos work, it is also possible to have too narrow a focus on certain aspects of telco operations. Telcos do a lot more than providing a voice service measured by CDRs. RA professionals working for telcos can make themselves more attractive to other businesses by identifying and exploiting every opportunity to add value to their current employer.