From Leakage Detection to Strategic Insights: The Power of Business Assurance in Telecom
In the rapidly evolving telecommunications industry, the traditional practice of revenue assurance is undergoing a significant transformation. With declining average revenue per user (ARPU) and the need for real-time insights, telecommunication service providers are embracing a broader approach known as “Business Assurance.” This blog post explores the changing landscape of assurance practices and highlights the four key areas that business assurance encompasses.
The State of Assurance ‘As-is’
For telecommunication service providers, revenue assurance has long been a fundamental practice for profitable business operations. Dating back to the early 2000s during the age of 2G and CDMA, revenue assurance practices focused on validating services against billing. While technology has evolved from 2G to 3G and 4G, the mode of operations has remained relatively unchanged, with an increase in the number of source systems. Telecommunication operators now run hundreds or even thousands of revenue assurance controls, validating data from voice, data, SMS, MMS, subscribers, and content from creation to billing.
The declining ARPU across various geographical locations has brought about a significant shift in the telecommunications industry. As telecommunication services become cheaper, what was once considered a significant revenue leakage is now a fraction of its original value in today’s market. This downward trend in ARPU has prompted telecommunication service providers to invest in systems that provide quicker insights, such as near real-time reconciliations.
This changing environment has given rise to the concept of “Business Assurance,” which is gradually gaining significance among major telecommunication revenue assurance practices worldwide. Operators are renaming their revenue assurance functions as “Wholesale Assurance” and “Margin Assurance,” signaling the shift towards a broader scope of assurance.
Business Assurance – Why Your Practice Needs to Adopt It Now?
Unlike traditional revenue assurance, which primarily focuses on leakage detection, business assurance expands the scope of revenue assurance practice in four key areas:
1. Single Source of Truth
Revenue assurance has mastered the art of collecting, enriching, and validating data from various network sources over the past two decades. This practice has created a single source of accurate, clean, and usable data for various upstream process requirements. For example, instead of starting from scratch, revenue assurance systems can provide clean and accurate data for tasks like product profitability prediction. Today, revenue assurance systems are critical contributors to data lakes, blurring the boundaries between revenue assurance and data management.
2. Revenue Assurance
While transitioning to business assurance, it is essential to maintain traditional leakage detection practices to ensure process integrity. However, with the emergence of bundled pricing models and fixed-rate plans, conducting record-by-record reconciliations may not make business sense. For instance, many mobile users rarely review their bills as they consistently stay within the bundled limits. Telecommunication operators must evaluate the cost versus benefit of conducting revenue assurance practices on granular or aggregate data.
3. Active Risk Intelligence
Business assurance expands the revenue assurance scope to support and enable revenue enhancements, cost reduction, and seamless service enablement. This evolution includes assurance areas such as margin assurance, collections, revenue accounting, partnership dispute management, and order-to-cash processes. By embracing active risk intelligence, revenue assurance practices can go beyond leakage detection and become holistic contributors to the operator’s profit and loss statement.
4. Decision Boarding
While data-driven decision making has become the norm in today’s business landscape, the telecommunication industry has been slow to adopt analytical solutions. Telecommunication operators possess vast amounts of data on customers, products, services, markets, and trends, yet their analytical capabilities remain underutilized. Business assurance emphasizes the availability of clean, accurate, and enriched data in near real-time. By leveraging advanced analytics, telecommunication operators can predict risks and opportunities, enabling measurable actions to
The future of revenue assurance lies in embracing business assurance, which expands the traditional revenue assurance practice into new territories. Telecommunication service providers must adapt to the changing landscape, leveraging the power of data and analytics to drive revenue enhancements, cost reductions, and informed decision making. By broadening the scope to include single source of truth, revenue assurance, active risk intelligence, and decision boarding, operators can position themselves for success in the ever-evolving telecommunications industry. The time to embrace change is now, as it enables revenue assurance to regain its stature as a vital component of profitable business operations.
Business Assurance enabled through Active Risk Intelligence
Srikanth is a Senior Consultant in Subex’s Business & Solutions Consulting vertical, focusing on Emerging Markets. He has over 9+ years of experience in consulting and advisory in the telecom industry with key focus on Revenue & Cost Assurance, Information Security, Governance Risk and Compliance. His client portfolio includes Aircel, MTNL, Tata Communications, Videocon, DST and PGi in APAC; STC, MTN, BTC in EMEA; Verizon, XO, Fairpoint and AT&T in NA.
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