In my opinion, user events have emerged as the best-attended and most dynamic meetings of RA practitioners. The audiences for traditional conferences have declined. Meetings hosted by industry bodies can be expensive and cliquey, discouraging the kind of open information sharing that they are meant to promote. In contrast, user events are popular, vibrant affairs. They allow me to find out what telco people are doing, and learn where the best new ideas are coming from. And nothing beats listening to the people who work at the coalface, hearing what they say about the challenges they face and the way they tackle them. So I feel honoured to be chairing this year’s Subex User Conference, taking place next week, in Dublin. Being chairman is my favourite job: I ask the questions, and other people supply the answers!
I really like Subex’s motto for their event: connect, communicate, collaborate. These are themes that are dear to my heart. And I give Subex credit for an agenda which includes three of the best-connected professionals in this field: Alex Leslie, publisher of Billing Views, Steve Cotton of the TM Forum, and Tony Poulos, all-star evangelist and a man of many talents.
It is a sign of maturity that both of the top two vendors in revenue assurance, Subex and WeDo, have invited guys like Tony, Steve and me to participate in their 2013 user events. Subex and WeDo are terrific rivals in the market place, but not everything needs to be a competition. If you view the pursuit of knowledge as a zero-sum game, you will probably end up knowing nothing of value. Imagine if either business had decided to exclude Tony Poulos, just because he attended the event of their competitor. That would not help their customers, and it would hurt their business.
We work in the communications sector. We should understand that you do not get the best communication by trying to limit and control communication. Those who learn can teach, and those who teach will learn. People who take the opposite approach can never prosper. Papa Rob Mattison, and hierarchical bodies like GRAPA, soon run out of knowledge to share. They may rip off other people’s content wherever they find it, but they cannot repeat conversations if they refuse to take part in them. In contrast, Subex and WeDo will learn a lot by listening to their customers and exchanging thoughts on where their products should be headed. And nobody can speak for the varied discipline of revenue assurance without engaging with firms like Subex and WeDo. Whilst I criticize both of them from time to time, they make the tools used by workers at the coalface. Engagement, and helping them to make better tools, is in everybody’s interests.
And did I mention that Subex’s User Conference is in Dublin? Whilst I always get passionate about RA collaboration, I will also be looking forward to sharing fun times with some of the hardest working people in telecoms. I may not deserve it, but I know they do. With a bit of Irish luck, I may even leave with a few stories that are fit to be printed here…