Archive for August, 2008

Firstly, thankyou to everyone who posted an answer this week. The purpose of this weeks question was to demonstrate that certain scenarios can be picked up by numerous Revenue Assurance controls, all very valid, but varying in degrees of complexity and expense.

The operator I found this revenue loss on was a good old fashioned operator, where CDR’s were created for every scenario – these are less and less common as IT managers attempt to reduce costs by insisting that only billable CDR’s are generated at the switch. 

Switch A was where the fraud was occurring and Switch B represented the other half of the country. I quite simply isolated all of the terminating CDR’s from switch B where the calls had originated from Switch A and reconciled them to originating CDR’s(billable) from Switch A. At first the query was performed at the volume level(a 5minute check) but due to the disproportionate volumes(in both directions) a detailed reconciliation was then performed. This flagged up some numbers on Switch A that didn’t seem to create CDR’s, so the customer accounts where then checked and found not to exist. From here a full investigation was then conducted and the route cause eventually found.

The above reconciliation was not the best way to find the problem(see Matt’s response to the question for the most complete solution), as it’s dependant on the individuals making calls. However all it needed to do, was find one problem and from there good route cause analysis should lead to the full picture.

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Do you ever think revenue assurance is too broad? Do you sometimes feel that the list of expectations never ends? Or do you know people who work in revenue assurance who, in one sense, do a reasonable job, but somehow miss the point?

The recent post by Ashwin about macro-diagnosis and atomic checks links to the same themes that have inspired Güera and her academic research. That is very revealing. We are talking about two revenue assurance experts from very different backgrounds – a woman in South Africa with a background in psychology and a man in India who is an engineer – yet they are talking about the same phenomenon, one which I believe is unique to revenue assurance. I have my own pet name for the phenomenon. I call it the zoom, and it makes good revenue assurance quite unlike most other jobs.

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The OSS News Review has released their ‘OSS Visibility Index’ ratings for July 2008. In the index, ‘revenue assurance’ scored as the third most common product or service. Is this a sign that revenue assurance has achieved a high level of recognition, or that the phrase is used indiscriminately?

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The Risk Management Group (TRMG), a UK-based group composed of several small businesses and freelancers, has issued a one-line press release. Curiously, it says they have a deal with Ericsson to supply revenue assurance staff for a new project in Europe. This is the same Ericsson rumoured to have sent its people to be trained by Papa Rob Mattison. Did the training not work, did the client ask for outside experts, or is Ericsson’s ‘industry leading consulting‘ team understaffed? Is this just more support for the old revenue assurance saying: “big firms win the work, small firms do the work”?

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Whilst working for a fixed line operator the following scenario was discovered:

A single switch that served half of the country was found to have nearly a thousand customers on it that weren’t set up in the billing system. The customers had been set up in such a way that whenever they made calls they didn’t create CDR’s – so there was no downstream issue with suspense. After a lengthy investigation it was found that the engineer who administered the switch had offered the residents in the local town an amazing deal of free calls for life, for a one off fee – which he pocketed.

Although this is actually a case of fraud, it was discovered using Revenue Assurance methodologies. There are numerous ways this issue could be discovered, how would your existing controls/solutions identify this loss?

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