Developing a Curriculum for Risk and Assurance

More than two years ago I contacted Commsrisk Editor Eric Priezkalns and asked him to suggest training courses for revenue assurance and fraud. His response contained two elements:

    1. he said that I had asked a question posed by many in the field but the correct answer was still the subject of much debate; and
    2. he offered a (very) long list of suggested topics to flesh out a syllabus.

My first contact with RAFM training was the online training courses offered by Cvidya. Completing all four of the offered courses provided a good foundation but there were too few practical exercises. Sometimes the courses become a catch-all for everything remotely related to the topic being examined. I gained a better understanding of some of the telecoms processes and the basics of RAFM but the experience left me wanting more.

Since then I have taken many MOOCs and written about them on Commsrisk. My main interest and topic of pursuit has been Data Science. This is not only because it is a hot topic with many available courses online, but because for me it appeared to be the best fit for my skills and experience.

I have also drifted right, left and centre by searching for, registering for, and then dropping courses or leaving them incomplete. The journey has not been easy or straightforward. Time is scarce so we all need to allocate it to the activities from which we can derive the most value.

There is an endless flow of MOOCs being delivered; obviously some topics are more popular than others. However, within all the noise there are many courses of excellent quality. Courses from top universities or organisations around the world are being offered for free. All it will cost you is some time and effort.

Eric’s recent post on education in RAFM raises many points and brings a proposal to the table that is worth exploring. I will not repeat what is already known and stated. I will, however, pose another question to Eric: What is actually being done? It is obvious there is a need for training in the RAFM specialization. If you can check job postings for RAFM positions you will notice that they require anything from SQL programming to auditing certifications, telecom knowledge to risk management. All of this leads back to the question of what exactly is RAFM, what do we expect of it, do we expect the same from it in all telco’s… and on and on… There is an obvious unfulfilled need which perhaps is countered by creating competent teams with diverse skills instead of trying to make individuals Jack-of-all-trades.

However, while we all agree on the challenges of compiling an education syllabus for RAFM, what we also all agree on is that there are some basics, some essential knowledge required to do RAFM. And that is where we should begin. We must start building from the ground up. We can talk about it, we can debate about it, we can exchange ideas and opinions, but – Eric – what are we doing?

Michael Lazarou
Michael Lazarou
Michael Lazarou manages revenue assurance and fraud at Epic, a Cypriot telco, having joined their RA function in March 2011. His background includes a double major in Computer Science and Economics, as well as an MBA. Before being lured into the exciting world of telecoms he worked as a software developer.

Michael is interested to gain a better understanding of different aspects of RA and data analysis. He shares his insights on training courses he participates in with Commsrisk. Michael's accumulated experience of online training also led him to volunteer for the role of Coordinator of the RAG Learning online education platform.