Recently, the TM Forum started canvassing telcos to participate in a unique revenue assurance benchmark program. What makes it unique is that the benchmarks will all be based on the standard revenue assurance KPI’s already developed by the TM Forum’s revenue assurance technical team, meaning that RA managers will recognize the measures as specific and relevant to their jobs. Other benchmarks to date have tended to be about billing, customer numbers, revenues… pretty much anything but measures specific to revenue assurance. One of the problems in the past has been that effective benchmarking was impossible because so few telcos had any useful objective data on their own revenue assurance performance. Fewer still were able to agree on the basis for calculating comparable statistics. However, as more and more telcos implement automated revenue assurance systems, it is far more common for revenue assurance managers to have access to useful statistics on a regular basis. If you want to benchmark something like the percentage of billable CDRs that are billed or the consistency of subscribers accessing the network with the subscribers as described in the billing platform, you need to be able to calculate the numbers on a regular basis without too much fuss or guesswork. In addition, several telcos have already agreed a common basis for calculating KPIs. Now might be the right time for a detailed benchmark to succeed where others failed by asking easier, but less relevant, questions.
Some big names have already signed up to the TMF’s revenue assurance benchmark, including China Unicom and BT. The trick will be to get a large enough group of telcos fully committed in the first wave of the benchmark. If enough do the benchmark – and do it properly – then all will benefit. If too few do it, or some submit faulty and unreliable figures, it will undermine the value of the exercise. One positive step is that the TM Forum has agreed to relax its rules to encourage the widest possible industry involvement. It has just been announced that the TM Forum will allow non-members to participate in the revenue assurance benchmark. If that attracts a few big operators currently outside of the TMF, it will really help the benchmark as well as be good for the TMF’s marketing drive. Then we might see a very interesting first for revenue assurance: reliable, consistent and detailed statistics on the performance of revenue assurance in several different telcos. I cannot wait!