Automating Resolution

Lots of vendors sell lots of software, hardware, databases etc to automate the detection of revenue leakage. A lot fewer products are focused on automating their resolution. But if you never fix the leaks, then the value of finding them is zero.

The trend in recent years is for the sellers of detection tools to throw in some kind of software to manage resolution workflows as a freebie. That is great if you want to get all your tools from one supplier, but not so good if you use a variety of best of breed solutions. Adding resolution doubtless increases the value earned from the tools, and probably helps with both the initial sales pitch and building of customer loyalty afterwards. One of the biggest downsides of integrating resolution into detection tools, is it encourages the revenue assurance team to behave as if the only way to detect leaks is to use automated tools. A little bit of imagination, the right selection of data, and some skills for querying and analyzing that data may be all that is needed to find a leak. Over-dependence on vendors can encourage a team to feel that revenue assurance always begins with an expensive procurement exercise.

One of the reasons not to automate resolution is that it only is cost effective to automate what you intend to do over and over again. Automating the repetitive fixing of very particular faults implies that the root causes of those faults will never be addressed. You could say in such circumstances that the revenue assurance team is institutionalizing leakages. Unfortunately, the business case for fixing a root cause may be harder to make than the business case for addressing the symptoms and leaving the root cause in place. For resolution to be automated effectively, it has to be flexible enough to provide workflows that deal with all kind of faults. Those workflows have to be adapted quickly for every kind of leak, because you do not want to put a lot of time and effort into them. The more time and effort it takes, the harder it is to keep motivation on solving root causes, rather than just symptoms. In the end, revenue assurance has to be about solving all problems faster, not about finding ways to make them last.

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.