Who Can You Trust?

I have blogged previously about how some revenue assurance people may not know what the word “revenue” means. Recent events suggest that some do not know what the word “assurance” means either. According to my thesaurus, the word “assurance” is associated with the following:

belief, credence, conviction, confidence, reliance, trust, promise, commitment, word of honor, vow, profession, pledge, security, covenant, bond.

Think about that whilst you read this genuine email thread. Names have been blanked out to protect both the innocent and guilty.

From: XYZ@XYZ [mailto:XYZ@XYZ]

Sent: Friday, November 02, 2007 3:10 PM


Subject: XX Training Event - XXXXX Scholarship

Dear ABC,

Because of your invaluable efforts and contributions to the XXXXX, XXXXX would like to offer you a free pass to attend the Revenue Assurance Training event in XX in XX.

This 8-day training opportunity is a value of US$ X,XXX , but is completely free for you. (Transportation, hotel, meals, etc is your responsibility.)


We hope you will be able to accept this great offer and we look forward to meeting you in person in XX.

With Best Regards

Sent: Saturday, November 03, 2007 4:30 AM
To: xxxxxxxxxx@subexazure.com; xxxxxxxxxx@hotmail.com; xxxxxxxx@xaltedinc.com; xxxxxxxx@wedoconsulting.com
Subject: FW: XX Training Event - XXXXX Scholarship

Please I require sponsorship (Transportation, hotel, meals, etc) to enable me participate in this programme. Can your company offer me help?

Best Regards

From: ABC ABC [mailto:ABC@ABC]
Sent: Monday, November 05, 2007 10:12 AM
To: xxxxxx@wedoconsulting.com; xxxxxxx@xxxxxxxx; xxxxxx@xaltedinc.com; xxxxxxx@cvidya.com; xxxxxxx; xxxxxx@connectivasystems.com; xxxxxxxx
Cc: xxxxxxxx@subexazure.com

Subject: FW: XX Training Event - XXXXX Scholarship

Dear All,

Please be informed that XXXXX is providing me with Hotel Accommodation without meals. What are left are Air and Internal transportation and meals.

Can your company give me support?


From: XYZ@XYZ [mailto:XYZ@XYZ]
Sent: 05 November 2007 08:12 PM
To: xxxxx@connectivasystems.com; xxxxxx@wedoconsulting.com; xxxxxxx@hotmail.com; xxxxxx@xaltedinc.com; xxxxxx@cvidya.com; xxxxxx@connectivasystems.com; xxxxxxx@subexazure.com; xxxxxx@wedoconsulting.com
Cc: xxxxxx@xxxxxxx
Subject: XXXXX

Respected colleagues in the Revenue Assurance Community;

It has come to our attention that you were solicited for support for a XXXXX activity (see emails below).

Please be advised that this solicitation was unauthorized and inappropriate.

We apologize for this inconvenience and we hope to be working with you in the future.


We might as well be honest that this kind of thing goes on all the time. More than one revenue assurance professional has had a free holiday courtesy of a friendly vendor. It can be hard to tell the difference between someone who gets flown around the world because they like a product and someone who likes a product because they get flown around the world. But it is not hard to tell what is going on here. ABC is a telco employee trying to solicit benefits from vendors. Clearly ABC does not care which vendor – so long as the expense account is large and loose. People like ABC do not deserve to be called professionals. The behavior of people like ABC undermines the reputations of all the honest, trustworthy revenue assurance professionals in the world. It can be hard for vendors to speak out against people like ABC; they live in a competitive world. But somebody needs to speak out against it. The telco that employs ABC should dismiss him. Professionals should refuse to work with him. There is only way to raise the standard for the revenue assurance profession: by expelling anyone who falls below that standard.

The mistake of ABC was to be so brazen in seeking kick-backs from vendors. Now many people will know ABC to be a disreputable person. The only remaining question is how colleagues and peers value their own reputations. Integrity and trust are the hallmarks of a professional. Reputations are built through actions and choices, not through empty words. The choice confronting all revenue assurance professionals is clear: shun this kind of behavior, or be tainted by it. Now is a time to decide.

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.