Does GRAPA Listen To Me?

The amazing revelation of my week has been that, perhaps, somebody in the Global Revenue Assurance Professional’s Association (GRAPA) is listening to me – or at least taking notice of what I blog. I do regularly pester a number of the GRAPA ‘execs’ about what GRAPA is up to and what they have been doing, but usually the answer is the same – they have not been doing anything and nobody tells them what is going on in GRAPA. That should come as no surprise given the revelations about the very low levels of participation in GRAPA’s forums. What did surprise me was to see one of GRAPA’s most active members, Wessel Scheepers of South Africa, blogging about me. To be precise, he cut and paste a chunk of one of my posts and topped it with his own commentary, in which he says he will not discuss the contents of my blog. Very strange – why draw attention to something and then say you are not going to discuss it? I will not reciprocate, as I am only too happy to discuss his blog posts, although so far there is not enough content to draw any conclusions on where Scheepers is heading.

Scheepers’ new blog, branded as from the South African regional chairperson for GRAPA, raises an interesting question about how GRAPA reaches out to its members, and what the purpose of GRAPA is in the first place. I assume what we are going to see is Scheepers’ opinion, and not an official statement of GRAPA that is co-ordinated with the family Mattison back in Illinois, despite the liberal use of references and logos from GRAPA. So what distinguishes this from a blog by Wessel Scheepers in his capacity as a private citizen, minus the GRAPA title? In fact, what is the difference between this and people using standard freely-available blogging software and sites, used by ordinary people to share all sorts of opinions on the web, without needing an ‘organization’ like a GRAPA to arrange it for them? It also raises some interesting questions of how revenue assurance practitioners talk to each other. The manifesto of GRAPA is to create a new hierarchy – distinguishing good from bad based on who has GRAPA titles, certificates, attend their training courses etc. What qualifies Papa Rob or any of his colleagues to place themselves in a position to distinguish good from bad is unknown – they did not wait for anyone else’s approval or permission but just assumed the mantle of revenue assurance lawgivers. My preference would be for a free-flow debate, irrespective of all the fancy chairperson, executive and presidential titles that some people need in order to justify themselves, although I could always go one better and call myself Grand Overlord Emperor Super Wizard of Revenue Assurance of the known Universe and see if anyone gives themselves a bigger title than that ;) On that basis, let us keep a quick score on who really is giving away something for nothing. As of today, in the grand revenue assurance blog count, we have:

Wessel Scheepers: 4 posts. Not bad for the first month, but will he keep up the pace?

Gadi Solotorevsky: 12 posts. A sure and steady output since November last year.

Papa Rob Mattison: 1 post. His GRAPA blog mysteriously disappeared several months after he started it. Perhaps he ran out of things to say. Probably it is still on the internet somewhere, but it must be the only example of Papa Rob hiding something that publicizes himself.

Me: 261 posts over the last two years. To all would-be revenue assurance bloggers I have only one thing to say: bring on the blog!!! ;)

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.