“Rapid” is an understatement to describe the pace at which the telecommunications industry is evolving. A vicious circle formed between the advancement of hardware capabilities and services offered to utilize these capabilities is probably what is causing this constant evolution. With such augmentation in the services offered, migrating to next-generation operations and billing systems is inevitable to operators. While the change is definitely a thumbs-up for telcos, the flip side is the challenges inherent to the transition phase itself.
Consider an expert chef in a successful restaurant offering a variety of dishes to customers. Quite obviously, his menu changes periodically to ensure that he caters to the constantly changing customers’ taste. While a changing menu keeps the restaurant and the chef in good business, it also brings in a big risk of cooking something unsavory in the process of creating something new. Though the chef is dexterous at what he does, it would always be a possibility that he would add that extra pinch of salt or sugar while trying out a new dish. Does this mean that the chef is not competent enough? Or should it stop the chef and the restaurant from offering newer dishes? The answer is “No”. It only goes to indicate that the transformation phase is highly vulnerable and needs to be dealt with extra caution to ensure continued success in the business.
Equating the above analogy to the telecom sector, one would understand that the chef is the telco and the new dishes are the variety of services offered to customers. The extra pinch of salt/sugar that we spoke about is the possible leakage or frauds that can hit telcos during the phase of BSS/OSS transformation.
A recent survey by KPMG indicates that 49% of the teclos undergoing transformation projects saw a significant increase in revenue leakage and threat of fraud while another 45% indicated a partial increase in revenue leakage and threat of fraud. Put together, a whopping 94% of operators have encountered some kind of increase in revenue leakages during the transformation phase.
Reasons for this vulnerability are quite straight forward. The controls that existed with a set process get disrupted and start to diminish once the transformation begins, thus leaving the operators in a bit of a handicap. Another main reason would be the significant loss of data that is an innate characteristic of transformation projects. This causes blind spots in the revenue chain and keeps telcos in the dark about the leakages occurring. To add to the telcos’ woes, transformation projects are not completed in a day’s work. They may stretch to anywhere between 2-10 years depending upon the size and type of operations.
All this points to one thing – with the breathtaking speed of change in the telecom sector, telcos have to adapt quickly and decisively or else risk even greater leakage. Revenue Assurance processes need “greater than ever” emphasis during the transformation phase. After all, no one likes extra salt in their dishes; not even a pinch of it.