Mattison Should Read His Own Book

I regularly scour the internet to find out news of what is happening in the world of revenue assurance. As a consequence, I find about once a week that Papa Rob Mattison and his Global Revenue Assurance Professional Association (GRAPA) “volunteers” (a.k.a. the Mattison family) have found yet another dotcom vehicle for promoting themselves. This week, the Mattison Mission left its mark on Scribd, which is best described as the YouTube for the written word. Like YouTube, it is mostly rubbish uploaded by the people who created it, but which nobody else wants to read, plus some very good stuff uploaded without the permission of the creators and which happens to infringe their copyright. You can decide for yourselves how to categorize Mattison’s lengthy but vacuous RA handbook ;)

Annoyingly, Mattison’s book was automatically downloaded to my PC without my actually wanting it (are the developers behind Scribd trying to increase the site stats by implementing an interface that downloads documents in full without asking first?) However, given that it happened by accident, I thought it might be funny to read over what Papa Mattison thought about revenue assurance back in 2004, and then compare that to his current spiel. Hilariously, it did not take me long to find evidence of Mattison’s hypocrisy. This is taken verbatim from his book:

“If you want to come up with some kind of standard definition for anything, the smart thing to do is to try to find some body of standards and then depend on their definition. At present (2004), there is no Revenue Assurance standards organization in existence, (at least none that has achieved any kind of recognition by the majority of the industry). This, therefore, forced me to get creative and to look for any other kind of telecommunications standards group that could provide a clue as to how this subject should be organized. For me, the best option was the relatively well known and accepted TeleManagement Forum (TMF). The TMF, a standards organization associated with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), is accepted around the world as the closest available tool to a standards body for telcos.”

Those are Rob Mattison’s words not mine. It seems, for once, Mattison and I are in full agreement. The TMF is the closest thing to a standards body across the full range of telco activities. That was true when Mattison was writing his book in 2004. It is still true today. In 2004, the TMF adopted a new initiative to develop standards for revenue assurance. I was in the room when the team of interested participants first met. Rob Mattison was not – though he could have been if he had wanted. The flight to California was considerably shorter from Mattison’s home in Illinois than it was from the homes of most of the people who participated on that day. Perhaps he was too busy, or he could not afford the airfare. In the meantime, Mattison has not participated in a single conference call of the TMF’s revenue assurance team, not attended a single meeting, not written a single word on its web forums and not made any contribution to its work. He would have been very welcome. He is still welcome to join, irrespective of my reservations about his business ethics. There is no doubt that Mattison has long known about the TMF’s work in revenue assurance standard-setting. He could have easily participated in the setting of TMF revenue assurance standards if he had wanted to. The current word on the street is that Mattison now says he did not participate in any of the TMF’s work on revenue assurance standards because it is too bureaucratic. If he means that nobody gets appointed (or appoints themselves) boss and uses that position to dictate the team’s agenda and conclusions, then I agree, although I would say the word democratic is more appropriate. Better that than the autocratic model he has imposed upon GRAPA.

In 2004, the work of the TMF was not so bureaucratic that it discouraged him from copying large chunks of its work into his book. Moving forward to 2007, when Mattison instituted his own standards body, GRAPA, with himself as President, it was supposedly to fill the gap felt across industry. No mention was made of the TMF and the work it had done in the interim. Mattison had made no effort to work with the standards body that had been setting revenue assurance standards for three years by that time. It is a shame he did not do the “smart thing”, in his own words, by joining with an existing standards body. But then again, if Mattison had worked with the TMF, he would not have been appointed to the role of President, and the TMF would not have been relentlessly promoting Mattison’s products and services. So arguably Mattison has done the smart thing – for the sake of himself and his family, but not for the sake of the rest of us.

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.