GRAPA: Defining Irrelevance

Every week I monitor posts to the so-called Global Revenue Assurance Professionals Association (GRAPA). I find it to be a good way to switch off from real work for 5 minutes, so long as I can find a way to fill the 4 minutes and 30 seconds remaining after I have read all the posts… twice. So you might say that Papa Rob and GRAPA has failed to make lightning-fast progress. But even I found it hard to believe what they were still debating last week.

Topic: Definition Discussion

Posted: 13May8 at 09:40

….Revenue Assurance is the function / process of Identifying the Risk to revenue, Quantifying the Risk to Revenue and responding according to Management’s appetite for risk. (the reponse includes reporting and containing the risk)

Geez. They are still debating the definition of revenue assurance. Come could in pretty handy, I suppose, if you just got a new job doing revenue assurance and opened your new Certified Revenue Assurance Professional’s coursebook to lesson number one: what revenue assurance is. Not that handy for anyone already working in the field. There was a time when you could not go to a conference without at least five different speakers offering five different personal definitions. You do not get that any more – it was getting mighty boring for anyone in the audience. It looks like the people on the GRAPA forum are still chugging through them; perhaps they will end up compiling an authoritative list of the several thousand definitions people have proposed over the years. They have so far forgotten the half dozen different definitions that Papa Rob included in his own book, which is a bad start given that GRAPA was planning to use his book as the de facto textbook for its qualification. Thankfully, the TM Forum defined revenue assurance back in 2004, and has not changed its definition since. GRAPA has been going for a year now, and is still debating what revenue assurance is. Methinks one organization is getting bogged down in the trivial stuff and failing to deliver the useful guidance it originally promised.

Definitions are trivial. They only help people who do not know what the words mean, and want a 5-second answer. They may be useful to many, but only to those who have no interest or involvement with the detail. They help with promotion to new markets, and not much else. No definition will be universally popular, as everybody will have different aspects of revenue assurance that they would want to emphasize or exclude. If GRAPA has any serious pretensions to issue guidance and standards, it needs to move on from the definition debate and deliver something of substance.

Do you want an example of an organization that defines things? The Oxford English Dictionary. Those employed to write dictionaries spend their time exhaustively searching for sources that reflect how words are used. They then write an objective definition that reflects how people actually use the words. In that spirit, here a few more definitions:

GRAPA (grä-pə) n. Organization that exists for the primary purpose of making consultant and author Rob Mattison the Global President of something.

CRAP (krap) n. Certification from GRAPA attained by buying books written by, and attending training seminars hosted by consultant and author Rob Mattison. a. Unintentionally funny but accurate description [example: that jobseeker has CRAP qualifications].

Mattison (klaun) n. (1) Someone who works as a consultant and author. (2) Founder, father, inspiration and lifetime global President of GRAPA. (3) A kind of hot air balloon that repeatedly inflates itself.

Well, those are the definitions you get if you read my dictionary… ;)

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.