What Does the Subex-ElevenPaths FMaaS Do?

ElevenPaths, the cybersecurity unit of Telefonica, has announced they will partner with RAFM vendor Subex to deliver a Fraud Management-as-a-Service (FMaaS) solution. That much you can read from the press release on the Subex and ElevenPaths sites. What might be harder to determine is what the FMaaS actually does, and what each business will do as part of their partnership.

The solution addresses Subscription Fraud, Internal Fraud, Premium Rate Service Fraud (PRS Fraud), and International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF), amongst others. Additionally, ROC Fraud Management technology deployed by Subex will deliver the ability to deploy client-specific detection processes, techniques and strategies, based on particular business needs at each site.

That sounds pretty good. On the other hand, nobody but a total moron would notice the phrase ‘internal fraud’ without questioning which internal frauds will be addressed. Many internal frauds are bound to fall outside of the solution’s capabilities because there must be a million kinds of internal fraud and only a dozen will be susceptible to data analysis of the type that Subex offers. It is also unclear why ‘client-specific’ detection is additional; are they suggesting there is a solution that is guaranteed to address lots of frauds generically, no matter where it has been implemented?

I know what Subex does: they write software. So it is not too hard to guess what Subex delivers as part of their partnership with ElevenPaths. It is less clear what Telefonica’s cybersecurity unit will contribute to the deal. This is what their CEO, Pedro Pablo Perez García, said in response to the deal:

Compared to traditional solutions, the enablement of FMaaS will ensure much faster deployment times, providing far more flexibility, easier access and agility, to our business operations. Subex’ (sic) capabilities together with ElevenPaths’ expertise in the development, deployment and operation of antifraud products and services across the world, will enable us to deliver customised Fraud Risk & Business Resilience though a best-of-breed Adaptive & Convergent Fraud Risk Management Solution. This, in turn, will help our customers deal with fraud risks more quickly and effectively.

Putting it another way, the ElevenPaths CEO is saying the new FMaas will be faster to deploy, more flexible, easier to access, and more agile than the software that Subex traditionally sells. But he probably would not choose to put it that way. He acknowledges that Subex has some ‘capabilities’ which complement ElevenPath’s expertise in development, deployment and operation of antifraud products and services… which makes me wonder what happened to Subex’s expertise in the development, deployment and operation of antifraud products and services. Did Subex forget how to do that kind of thing? Does ElevenPaths only do things that Subex can also do? What makes this a good deal for both firms and their investors?

Do not get me started on why businesses cannot employ proofreaders for their press releases. “Fraud Risk & Business Resilience” is not a proper noun, so should not be capitalized. And good luck to anyone who thinks “Adaptive & Convergent Fraud Risk Management Solution” means anything except that the writer never learned how to use the word ‘and’ in the English language. In my experience, proofreading is cheap! Even if the proofreader has no idea about the technology or the business proposition being described, he or she will explain that “an average of… 350 million accesses” is going to mean nothing to most people (on average).

My last paragraph may seem petty, but it gets to the heart of the problem. These businesses are often trying to pitch something complicated and niche. If they employ people who lack basic English language skills then they make their difficult task even harder still. I suspect part of the reason why these gobbledygook announcements have become so common is that nobody has the courage to question the basic grammar of what is supposedly being communicated, never mind challenging whether a typical reader will understand the business proposition that has just been outlined.

This reader thinks that perhaps:

  • Subex’s fraud software will be offered over the cloud;
  • that the cloud will be secured by ElevenPaths; and
  • that most Telefonica opcos will be encouraged to use the software.

But if that was what they were trying to tell us, they could have done it in just 29 words, because I just did. And if that was not what they were trying to tell us, then I do not know what they were trying to tell us. Good luck to anyone who thinks they do.

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.