If you want something done quickly…
…give it to someone who’s busy! There’s always something to do; be it the daily chores of chasing up KPIs on the end-to-end, checking tariff changes or attending requirements workshops.
And – don’t get me wrong – it’s nice when you get to work in an RA function that’s well respected for being accurate, knowledgeable and is valued. But what happens when an RA function in this position starts to become bombarded by issues and requests because they’re seen as the ‘go to guys’?
The flood gates open – and usually for many things that are, essentially, nothing to do with RA‘s remit – at least technically not!
Perhaps this is down to a lack of clear definition of Revenue Assurance within the companies this happens in, or possibly because RA are the only people to know who to genuinely go to – or perhaps because it’s seen as a catch-all for ‘management’ who don’t want to be dealing with what may be perceived as a poisoned chalice. Who knows?! Whichever it is, certain impacts to the team and the business are inevitable. The team become overloaded and stretched too thinly, like butter spread across too much bread, to be able to perform their core tasks either properly or at all. This overloading of tasks from different sources carries with it another issue. When too many senior stakeholders are pushing for answers it usually results in conflicts in the management chain and RA (who are usually trying to please everyone) end up in the middle of it.
RA needs strong senior management support to be able to effectively push back on things that genuinely don’t concern them or where the risk isn’t great enough to warrant diverting resource from genuinely impacting issues and core tasks. Often the politics will decide but, as long as a senior stakeholder in the business is on-side, then RA can follow their steer on priorities.
Sadly, I once witnessed a re-org that left RA orphaned and thrown into what became a power struggle. The loss of management was like losing the Thames Barrier during a hurricane and the lack of strategic alignment for the team in the business resulted in the function being a dog with three masters. This lack of clear direction not only affected the morale of the entire team through strained resource and conflicting, mixed messages, but, over time, damaged the reputation of RA across the business, breaking down bridges that had taken years to build.
Yet, in opposition to this scenario, in other organisations RA is seen as an almost temporary function which, once the low hanging fruit has been picked, is seen to add little to no value or, worse still, is seen as an unnecessary cost leading to the function becoming disbanded. This seems clearly short-sighted, but if the RA function isn’t mature enough then what value are they able to add over time?
It worries me that, even now, there are RA functions that don’t achieve necessary support to develop maturity, which sit too far down the chain of command to have adequate protection and that they exist purely protected by individuals in the management chain rather than the senior positions. Perhaps adoption into Business Assurance proper will help shield RA and other fringe teams suffering the same strains.