Misinterpreting The Data

In my last blog, I made fun at the annual operator attitudes survey conducted by Analysys on behalf of Subex Azure. But sometimes I wonder why I bother. Why make fun when the experts do such a good job themselves. Take a look at this article “explaining” the results. It seems that revenue loss has increased is “because every time new services come along they bring with them a whole new set of revenue assurance challenges” .

Erm, excuse me? I mean, of course new services bring new problems. But then again, they mostly earn bugger all in revenues. Ignore the marketing hype – boring old voice products still represent a huge share of revenues for almost all telcos. If revenue leakage is as high as is claimed, then it must be because nobody has done anything much about fixing the leaks for boring old products. Blaming high estimates of revenue leakage on new products is daft. If the leakage was due to new products, you would have to believe that they all suffered extraordinary levels of leakage relative to the revenues they generate. Which might sound plausible except that the basics of revenue assurance for new products really are little different to the basics for boring old products. Check that you generate some data when a sale is made. Check the data is actually right. Check it gets from one place to another. Check that you take orders correctly and actually put them into service correctly. Check that what seems to be happening in the network is consistent with what you have in the billing system. Check that the price you told everyone is the price you set. All very boring. You can do it manually, if you have time and can be bothered. For several hundred % of leakage, it would be worth doing simple manual checks on tiny samples, and you would very quickly find things wrong. But then you would not need multi-million pound software tools, would you? ;)

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.