Hailing the Mavericks

You know, there would not be a discipline called ‘revenue assurance’ if it was not for the pioneers – those brave souls that walked straight ahead when others turned back. You cannot simultaneously blaze the trail whilst sticking with the crowd. We need the mavericks to find different, better ways of getting from A to B – of getting communication providers from where they are now to where they should be. That has always been part of the philosophy of talkRA; we give a few independently-minded individuals a platform so their voices can be distinguished from the chorus.

Of course, the problem with being a trail blazer is that you might not always get sufficient credit. By the time everyone else has caught up, nobody remembers who got there first. One example is David Smith of ABISQ. As the Technical Director of the Global Billing Association, David was an evangelist for revenue assurance before most people had even heard of the discipline. He systematically raised the profile of RA as he travelled the world. Because of David, the GBA introduced RA benchmarks that were years ahead of their time – in my opinion, the industry simply was not ready to capitalize on them. In 2001 David wrote Successfully Managing Revenue Assurance, which was the original blueprint for how to perform revenue assurance. Those of us fortunate to have read it can appreciate how well it has stood the test of time. His follow up work, Margin Management, is a lost classic. Through his efforts, David has had an incalculable impact on the growth of the discipline. Many of David’s ideas have become the mainstream of RA thinking. My guess is that his ideas influenced others around him, both consciously and subconsciously, until they had been repeated to the point where they became common wisdom. That is why I like to call David the godfather of revenue assurance… but only behind his back, because he is too modest to hear me talk that way in front him.

We need new thought leaders too, of course. It was a pleasure to find this new blog from a man who fittingly calls himself ‘Maverick’. Through his blog, the mysterious Maverick shares his thoughts on revenue assurance, revenue management, and a bit of everything else… but is too busy writing about those topics to share much about himself! Maverick says what he thinks, taking aim where he disagrees with conventional wisdom and walking his own path. Good for him. Perhaps, in a decade or so, if he keeps at it, the time will come to remind everyone what Maverick has contributed to the development of best practice…

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.

5 Comments on "Hailing the Mavericks"

  1. Deja vu? I thought I read this post some time ago. :)

    • Joe, you’re right that this was up for a brief while, but it was washed away when hackers blitzed the site. I reposted it for those who didn’t see it first time.

  2. I have no doubts about the contribution David Smith has brought to Revenue Assurance, but to call him the Godfather is, I believe, an Anglo-centric view. David Sherick, when he was head of Group Risk at Hong Kong Telecom had implemented a Revenue Assurance function within HKT before 1996. I don’t know exactly how much before then, but in 1996 he briefed CTM in Macau on the benefits of his existing team.
    In that year he also briefed Singapore Telecoms, Malaysia Telecoms and KPMG Peat Marwick
    He was instrumental in making it an accepted practice in the C&W Far East Region and was behind the foundation of the Fraud and Revenue Assurance Group in C&W plc in 1998.

    He has now retired, but his understanding of the fundamentals of Revenue Assurance as a technology independent holistic practice has made him the ideal partner and co-author of RA For Service Providers.

    He may not be quite as visible as the other David, but remember the advances made in computer technology, the internet, RA Conferences,etc. and you begin to realise just how significant that contribution actually was.

  3. Güera Romo Güera Romo | 25 Oct 2010 at 2:19 pm |

    Can we call David the grandfather then?

    • David is far too young to be called the grandfather of RA. Perhaps, to avoid competition, we should start talking about who are the ‘elder statesmen’ of RA. It would be interesting to know who people would include in that group.

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