What Are The Expectations Of Customers From A Revenue Assurance System?
For telecoms to achieve accuracy in their end-to-end billing operations, an effective Revenue Assurance System is essential. Highly profitable days for most telcos are fading, owing to rising cost pressures and shrinking margins. So, it is critical to develop new ways to squeeze in bigger margins by tracking their revenue more accurately. Periodic audits are no longer enough, there must be a continuous monitoring system and multiple detection checkpoints in place to detect revenue loss as soon as it occurs. To find out the real vs actual revenue leakage, a revenue assurance system must give a comprehensive view of all the business processes and help in addressing and recovering the lost revenue.
The most problematic aspect of revenue assurance is where to begin checking. There are several aspects on the network side, pricing, invoice creation, interconnection, CRM aspect, and much more. The most significant leakage, on the other hand, occurs during the transfer of Call Detail Records (CDRs) or Event Detail Records (EDRs) from the Switch to the appropriate rating/billing engines. Some of the most prevalent issues for which customers seek solutions are duplicated CDRs, double charging, incorrect tariff rates, and incorrect configuration, e.g. calculating as minutes instead of seconds. On the network aspect, CDRs are sometimes overlooked by the rating/ billing system which leads to wrong durations being billed. Hence the telecoms need a Revenue Assurance system that should consider the majorly the features such as:
1. Continuous Monitoring
There is a large difference between what operators believe they are losing to revenue leakages and what they are actually losing. If operators want to establish a viable business, they can’t afford to stay at these levels of loss. Due to the ‘real loss,’ revenue assurance audits are no longer sufficient. Continuous monitoring is required. The concept of Continuous Monitoring stems from the solution approach required in today’s changing environment, which mandates a transition from periodic auditing to continuous monitoring. In traditional processes, minor leaks go unnoticed and overtime this accumulates to a huge loss. With continuous monitoring, operators get real-time insights and be alerted of leakage as it occurs and have it addressed immediately.
2. Multiple Detection Mechanisms
Each telecommunication service can generate dozens of separate events that must be recorded, connected, tracked, and billed. With new services, content, and gadgets being offered on a regular basis, the quantity and complexity of information are only growing. Each event has the potential to be dropped, modified, corrupted, lost, delayed, or even not included in the revenue stream. Multiple built-in checkpoints can ensure that all issues are reported and recorded. This gives service providers an all-encompassing picture of the revenue management process. For service providers to accurately bill their users and partners, they must track and measure multiple events. Mobile traffic, service usage, OTT consumption, landline traffic, and other built-in checkpoints are just a few events that must be tracked. This aids in the monitoring of both known and unknown issues and continuously enhances revenue loss prevention.
3. Direct impact on the Bottom Line
Users must be able to immediately track and quantify revenue leakage from incidents that are identified. This must include mechanisms for root cause analysis in order to measure revenue leakage and maintain track of funds. Additionally, the corrective system must recommend an automated revenue recovery option. The Revenue Assurance System should be adaptable to diverse networks and must be versatile. This enables the diagnosis of faults in a short amount of time and quicker fund recovery that results in a faster return on investment.
4. Adaptable Rating Engine
An effective Revenue Assurance system tracks and identifies consumption disparities reported by OSS/BSS systems, as well as ensuring that consumption is billed at acceptable rates. Charges must be validated against rates and inventories of installed/activated equipment, leased facilities, and circuits. This necessitates a complex rating engine capable of handling a wide range of charge models. Operators must request and verify that the Revenue Assurance system has an independent and sophisticated rating engine that enables the quick and easy development of various rate plans and pricing models.
5. Drill-Down Functionality
Recognizing that there is a difference between real and billed utilization is only half the battle. It’s also crucial for operators to figure out what’s causing the imbalance and then rectify it. In their Revenue Assurance system, operators should check for invoice-to-event drill-down functionality. This allows the operators to determine which component of the system is causing the discrepancy and, as a result, take corrective action. This drill-down capability must be paired with a dispute management capacity in the interconnect settlement scenario. Operators must be able to start disputes based on discovered invoice inconsistencies and then track and resolve them. This leads to speedier dispute resolution and a shorter time to retrieve losses.
6. Inter-carrier Traffic Verification
Inter-carrier traffic verification ensures that the operator only pays for actual traffic transferred to the partner’s network (payable invoice) and that the data coming into the inter-carrier billing system is accurate. This way, the operator can also appropriately bill its interconnection partner (receivable invoice). More importantly, the Revenue Assurance system must not only detect revenue leaks, but also give traffic analysis and trends in order to foresee probable bottlenecks, failures, and, as a result, revenue leakages. Furthermore, traffic analysis is useful in the context of inter-carrier agreements since it provides a practical perspective of traffic patterns and trends, which can be utilized to negotiate profitable carrier contracts.
Keep in mind that as networks get more service-rich, the number of customers is rising, and their consumption will continue to soar. Telecom operators will be in big trouble if the speed and size of change in billing management systems does not keep up with the transformation in networks and services. So, a Revenue Assurance System must intend to detect not just possible revenue loss, but also to aid an operator in the ongoing investigation, diagnosis, and recovery of these funds.
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