In today’s hyper-competitive market, improving margins is an essential focus for service providers. That makes revenue protection a critical component in your business. From service provisioning to cash collection, there are limitless opportunities for revenue to seep through the cracks. Many service providers use an ad-hoc and reactive approach to revenue assurance which proves to be ineffective in today’s operating conditions.
A basic Revenue Assurance definition used by many is:
“All products & services delivered as expected; all products & services correctly and completely charged, including expected margin, in a timely manner”
The most common metaphor is that of leaking water from a pipe, where water stands in place of revenues or cash flows, and the leaks represent waste. The value of revenue assurance is hence determined by the size of the leaks “plugged”, and possibly also those leaks prevented before they occur, although estimating the value of the latter is very problematic. Revenue Assurance has been a problem for the telecom companies since the very early stages. Tracking of pulses, minutes, counts, bytes etc. has never been more difficult. In a hurry to release new technologies in the market, the Revenue Assurance systems are always lagging behind.
Revenue Assurance primarily seeks to prevent leakage through the appropriate design, deployment and operation of products & services. But assuming that we cannot achieve a 100% leakage-free environment with a reasonable cost, timely leakage detection is critical. Detection mechanisms can vary from simple awareness/education activities for people to recognize the symptoms, planned and structured reviews and audits, spreadsheets to measure and track key data, system reports or more sophisticated reconciliation’s.
When a potential issue is identified:
- Analysis is important to understand the breadth, impact, root cause and response options. Good Revenue Assurance Solutions will feature mechanisms to distil data to reduce noise and enable focused and intelligent analysis of events, reports, alarms etc. to rapidly target the highest priorities.
- Good analysis will drive an appropriate Response. Responses may be both tactical to control and recover immediate impacts, but also strategic in nature to prevent or otherwise mitigate the risks observed.
- And so we see the cycle of continuous improvement. Managing and driving this cycle is important to ensure ongoing returns.
- The hub of this performance engine is good measurement and reporting. With a robust measurement mechanism in place, it is much easier to identify longer-term trends and opportunities, as well as track successes and report Revenue Assurance measures and KPI.
In its youth, Revenue Assurance was dismissed by many as an unnecessary business overhead. All of our businesses rely heavily on our people. And as humans, we shall continue to make some mistakes and oversights that lead to negative impact. The earlier the Revenue Assurance principles are adopted, the more money and pain an organization avoids, and the greater the customer experience it provides. It really is that simple.