The top team of Indian revenue assurance vendor Subex has been doing the public relations rounds recently. CEO Subash Menon gave an upbeat, but not very informative, interview to Indian newspaper The Hindu. What Menon says is less interesting than what he does not say. For example, he emphasizes strong revenue growth. However, after last year’s poor financial results, the priority for the company was identified to be a significant improvement in profitability, with only a modest revenue target. Indicating that the company will be ‘back in the black’ is a long way short of promising that original profit forecasts will be realized. There has to be a suspicion that Subex’s strong revenue growth is being bought at the expense of thin margins. You can read the interview here.
Meanwhile Subex CTO Mark Nicholson and Subex’s customer Verizon are all over this article about revenue assurance. There is nothing particularly new in the article, but once again we hear about Subex’s branding concept of the Revenue Operations Centre (ROC) as if it were the be-all and end-all of revenue assurance. A deeper insight would have highlighted the conflicts between the different visions for revenue assurance that are suggested elsewhere in the article. For example, the ROC is essentially the idea of revenue-assurance-as-monitoring, with people employed to sit at desks each day and respond to alarms when things go wrong. This does not fit particularly well with ideas that revenue assurance should be branching out into the analysis of product profitability. Assumptions and decisions about pricing points and margins may need to get reviewed from time to time, but not on a day-to-day basis, and not by the kinds of people who would work in a ROC. Even if such reviews do highlight problems, you would not respond to them in the same routine way that you might respond to an error in transaction data. Might the ROC, with its emphasis on routine data crunching, end up becoming a straitjacket that prevents Subex diversifying into more intelligent areas of business performance enhancement?