A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of supporting the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG) event hosted by Safaricom in Kenya (pictured). It was a phenomenal success due to the amazing amount of interaction and proactive input by the audience and attendees residing in the exhibition facilities situated at Safaricom’s head offices in Nairobi.
I could talk about so many aspects of this event, from the organisation and logistics, the attendees, speakers, hospitality, the hosts, the atmosphere, the buzz and the many constructive and interesting conversations and discussions undertaken. To avoid boring everyone, I thought I would highlight two areas that really stood out for me personally from these two days – interaction and innovation.
The purpose of RAG is to nurture collaboration and collaboration starts with interaction. And boy, did we get interaction in spades in Nairobi… From the very first agenda item, the audience and attendees were always willing to add their experiences, ask questions and be inquisitive. It seemed everyone in the room wanted to learn and absorb the information available to them and interact with their peers and ultimately take something away from the meeting they did not know before. It was only with great management that the event managed to stay on track with the published agenda timings.
I had the pleasure to moderate three panel discussions on day two of the event. This gave me the opportunity to discuss new and old challenges, fraud risks impacting regional and international operators, as well as debating what is the next possible threat around the corner. I had some great panellists with the likes of Morgan Ramsey from Vodafone, Emmanuel Ndibo from Safaricom, Abhijeet Singh from BICS, Dingo Peter from Vodacom Tanzania, as well as some great contributions from vendors which made the panels well balanced and extremely engaging.
These discussions were further enhanced with the interaction from the audience who were keen to intersperse the debate with questions, queries and statements from their own experiences or to agree/disagree with the discussion on stage. Each panel discussion would have overrun for many more minutes if not hours if we did not look to unfortunately cease the panels to avoid breaking the agenda timetable.
I know RAG will achieve its collaboration objective. There are no other events currently managing to successfully instigate such interaction. The collaborative initiatives such as the RAG Revenue and Cost Risk Catalogue and the RAG Learning online training platform will take this positive, constructive and proactive interaction and evolve it into collaboration that can reap huge rewards for the telecom risk management industry.
The two day-event featured a number of presentations around utilising advanced technologies from vendors wishing to promote their solutions. However, none of these presentations could touch the outstanding presentation from the telecom service provider MTN Group, entitled “Breakthroughs in RAFM with MTN Group”. It was an inspirational presentation, overseen by Tony Sani with a team of his colleagues present. The stimulating content covered robotics and machine learning, and the team showed their dedication and also their pride and excitement when discussing what they had achieved in a very short time.
This presentation confirmed what could be achieved for telecom risk management in the coming years. The important aspect was that this was not high-level discussions or pretty PowerPoint presentations about using advanced technologies but Tony and his team demonstrating tangible and proven scenarios and the experiences of undertaking this innovative approach. Vendors and service providers alike can and will have to learn a lot from this moving forward. MTN has raised the bar for future RAG presentations.
I could go on and on about the event but will never be able to reflect the buzz and atmosphere that was present over the two days and nights in Nairobi. Future RAG events will have a lot to live up to. I am hoping this positive interaction naturally evolves into constructive collaboration, where risk professionals will look to take some of that positive energy of discussion and communication and progress to collaborate and work to mitigate some of the risks damaging the telecom industry. Only time will tell…
So what comes next? It is on to the next RAG event in Kansas, North America on October 17-18th. I hope we can get similar interaction and constructive collaboration during these two days as we had in Nairobi. It is not too late for telcos to register; come along and see if you can assist us to put the world of risk to rights! RAG conferences are free for service providers, so do not miss this opportunity to interact with your peers.
If you wish to collaborate… you need to interact.