Who Has The Bad Attitude?

Eek! I am going to write about one of those articles about revenue assurance. You know the type. It is written by a news writer, but contains no actual news. It starts off by telling you how much is the average estimated loss according to the Subex-Analysys annual survey (a scary big 13.6% of revenues in this case), but forgets to mention it is just an estimate. It is based on an interview with just one person, who happens to be selling the products made by the vendor that employs him. In this case the interviewee is Geoff Ibbett of Subex. Why then am I pointing you at the article? Well, Geoff recites a couple of interesting anecdotes, and I cannot blame him for wanting to promote his company, but I was perplexed by one quote in particular. Geoff, who for the most part talks a lot of sense about revenue assurance, is quoted as saying the following about many companies:

“There is an attitude in the industry, that we’re not part of, that we’re [losing] less than 1%. Until they actually monitor it… they really don’t know.”

Hang on, what is the sub-heading of the Subex-Analysys survey? Ah yes… “Operator Attitudes to Revenue Management Survey” [my emphasis]. Hmmm. So Geoff is presumably not talking about the attitudes of the people in the 96 operators who contributed to the survey then, which seems to be closer to “oh my gosh, oh my gosh, we are are losing lots and lots of money!” Who, then has the bad attitude Geoff is referring to? Whoever they are, perhaps giving them a fright might drive a few extra sales, as that seems to be the main point of the survey. Geoff makes a valid point, because you do not know how much you lose until you measure it. Which begs the question, if companies keep buying software from Subex and its rivals, how many more years do we have to wait before we get a survey including actual measured losses, and not just estimates? Why is Subex still promoting a survey containing only estimates? They have been paying Analysys to survey estimates for five years. Subex must have sold enough revenue assurance systems to be able to survey quite a few real results by now. It would also make much more interesting reading if they compared pre-measurement estimates of leakage to the leakages that were measured after customers buy their product. Subex likes to put the fear into everyone else, but what are they afraid of? ;)

Anyhow, there is a give away that tells us that this piece has been recycled from a publication somewhere else, quite probably a press release. How can you tell? Because the journalist keeps writing about Subex Azure, whilst Subex dropped the “Azure” from their name at the end of 2007. There is the real bad attitude for you: the one from this lazy hack journalist.

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.