Archive for June, 2008

It is difficult to get a good, honest overview of revenue assurance tools. Vendors tell you about the tools they offer, not the tools they do not offer. Have you ever noticed how every year their product offerings get broader and broader, yet they never said there were gaps in the offering the year before? ;) Consultants always play safe and tell you about the state of tools three years ago, so telcos do not try something new and blame the consultants when it does not work. Of course, the three-year-old tools might not work either, but that is a different problem. And nobody talks about the niche tools provided by niche providers (except the niche providers, of course) although these may be better suited to the needs of some customers than the multi-purpose offerings pushed by more mainstream suppliers. Well, if you want some advice on how to go about negotiating the minefield of automating revenue assurance, you came to the right place. I have just added a new presentation about revenue assurance tools to the site. Take a look at it on the downloads page. It identifies two possible goals for automation: improved detection (what most vendors talk about), and improved correction (which most vendors conveniently forget to mention). Then the presentation recaps on the Four C’s that form the basis for all processing and hence is the subject matter for all revenue assurance, and explains the types of tools suitable for detecting errors within each of the Four C’s. Finally, the SPIRIT mnemonic is introduced, giving the six golden rules that should be followed by any telco before it starts deploying new tools. If you want to find out more, look here.

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Is ECtel, the Israeli vendor of RA and FMS software, cutting costs a little too far? Vendors should be careful with their money. It is good for their business and creates the right impression with customers. But I got an anonymous tip-off that indicates ECtel should think about increasing the amount they spend on software. Take a look at this PDF document on ECtel’s website. It is a short list of abbreviations that supplements a letter of warranty from HP Israel. If you scroll to the bottom, you can see a tell-tale sign of doing things on the cheap: an advert for trial version software used to create the PDF file. By not buying the latest PDF-writing software from Adobe, I guess ECtel can argue they saved about US$300 of their investors’ money ;)

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Here is a surprising revelation. It turns out one company has trademarked Revenue Assurance which I guess is conclusive proof that intellectual property can be utterly daft and meaningless. Which company do you think has nabbed the phrase for itself? Judging from this press release (look at the bottom), it is IneoQuest, Massachusetts supplier of specialized products for video quality management. Who would have thought it?

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Why do people still bother writing those corporate statements of values? Enron must have had one. Worldcom had one. The Mafia must have one. It probably says something about not discriminating between victims based on race, religion or sex, and that they support strong family values with in-house marriage counseling services and flexible working hours. It was with some bemusement that I read the recent press release from Razorsight, the revenue and cost optimization vendor headquartered in Virginia, USA. It tells you all about how they have lots of great new versions of their software, and makes no mention of the US$4.5m fine and court order that forced them to remove the bits they stole from rival TEOCO. Hey, but I guess nobody pays anyone at Razorsight to tell the unpleasant truth of how they do business. Then again, nobody pays me to do it either, but I do it anyway. It must have something to do with my values, though I have never bothered to come up with some silly list as if that proved anything. Anyhow, as I was looking at Razorshite’s website I noticed that they also claim to have corporate values; read them here. These are a few that caught my eye:

  • Drive for excellence and take pride in everything you do – were they proud of how they handled themselves in court, as they admitted their wrongdoing?
  • Commit to winning with integrity and to following the highest standards of ethics and professionalism – erm… does that mean they have told their current and prospective customers all of the reasons why they had to change their software, and maybe even do something that shows they intend to follow their stated values, and are not just paying lip-service to them?
  • Be flexible, learn from experience and tackle challenges with fervor – so what have they learned from the experience of having been caught stealing? Will they share those learning experiences with us, and set a better example for others?
  • Crush our competition through unparalleled teamwork – CRUSH the competition!!?!? Who wrote this – Borat?
  • Take time to laugh; don’t take yourself too seriously – great! That means nobody should get upset because I had a little fun… ;)
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US revenue assurance vendor Advanced Technologies & Services (ATS) will be particularly proud of a couple of their employees this week. Paul Gilbert and Lee Helwig of ATS have received Outstanding Performance and Contribution awards from AT&T. AT&T uses the SimCall product supplied by ATS. You can read the press release here.

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