“In school, we’re rewarded for having the answer, not for asking a good question”
This quote from Richard Saul Wurman rightly describes how a normal human mind, as part of it’s social development process, adapts to the guidelines of “finding the answers”, rather than exploring the possibilities of asking the “right questions”.
And this mindset also reflects in our place of work. We are humanly tailored to explore satisfaction in having answers to all the questions. And in the process of being ‘answer ready’, we tend to become left brain heavy than the right. We become target driven and focus less and less on fresh set of questions which could challenge us further to drive improvement and innovation.
Fraud Management ‘function’ is no different. Being a ‘revenue protection’ function in a large ‘organization’ it is expected to act similar to a small, but important organ in human body.
Like hormone levels of an organ, health of an FM function is also measured in terms of subjective financial targets – either monthly, quarterly or yearly. And the corrective action starts when the achievements are found to be ‘less than optimum’.
But, as an experienced doctor would say – It’s the lifestyle you need to keep in check and not hormone levels to remain healthy!
Constant self-assessing questions such as – “Am I eating right ?”, “Am I sleeping right ?”, “Am I sitting right ?”, “Am I exercising right ?” etc. go a long way in guaranteeing you a healthy life. Periodic check-ups then becomes a method to confirm your good health rather than just means to detect illness or deficiencies.
Keeping healthy is a continuous process – be it human body or fraud management. It is actually a practice, than just a function.
And to setup a continuously improving fraud practice in your organization it is essential to keep asking relevant & timely questions across the following 8 pillars of this practice:
- Knowledge Management
- Continuous Improvement
While the questions could be an organization, risk or region specific, I personally always start with the following:
- Is our FM function on a driver seat or secondary role and working as a support function ?
- How should we enhance the influence of our FM function ?
- How do we keep showcasing enhanced value from FM function ?
- How do we extend our internal & external interfacing and make the existing interfacing stronger ?
- How do we ensure fraud awareness keeps pace with the upgrading business dynamics ?
- How do we enhance internal & external collaboration with FM function ?
- How do we get higher return of investment from FM function ?
- How to further reduce the fraud impact on the bottom line ?
- How to make our fraud management practice more proactive ?
- Is resource acquisition better or resource development ?
- How do we safeguard ourselves from attrition ?
- Is our team structure agile enough while following industry standards ?
- Do we have all the required roles and are the responsibilities clearly defined ?
- Are we right, under or over staffed ?
- Are my processes effective and easily exercisable ?
- Are my processes future ready ?
- Are my processes agile enough to adapt to any changes with acceptable TAT ?
- Are we adopting and implementing industry best practices ?
- What parts of my processes can be automated ?
- Is the Fraud Management tool adapted to my business environment ?
- How do I ensure that the FM tool is fed accurate, complete and timely data ?
- Are my fraud controls effective & efficient ? How do I reduce false positives ?
- How do I ensure 100% automated fraud risk coverage ?
- What capabilities do we need to acquire on tool front to be future ready ?
- Are we ready against enormous data surge likely to be seen over next few years ? How do we benefit from it ?
- Are we constantly learning from the industry in terms of fraud detection & prevention methods ?
- Is there sufficient attention on upgrading to the required skill sets ?
- How do we enhance resource competency & knowledge against current & future services ?
- Is our team keeping pace with constant fraud mutations ?
- Is our team using the tools effectively & efficiently ?
- Is our team knowledgeable and comfortable with processes ?
- What are the top 5 areas of learning for the whole fraud function ?
- Are we aware of all the fraud risks we are exposed to ? What is our current coverage levels ?
- Do we know the gaps in terms of fraud risks coverage ? How can we improve ?
- What is our strategy to become compliant to fraud risks introduced by new products and services ?
- Are we ready for fast converging cross industry environment and the risks it introduces ?
- What is our stand on customer and partner only risks ? How relevant they are for our business ? Is our current stand obsolete ?
- What is our performance management strategy ?
- Do we have effective KPIs ? Are these business relevant ?
- How can we improve the fraud function’s effectiveness & maturity continuously ?
- What metrics should I use to measure health of the overall FM function ?
- Are we conducting sufficient & periodic RCA & decision analysis ?
- How do we gather accumulated wisdom & actionable intelligence for improvement ?
Each of these questions can be a healthy point of discussion within your organization.
While these may give you a first hand view of health of your current fraud practice, more importantly, it may also open doors for a much detailed open table introspective sessions, enabling you to come up with much better & effective questions.
Remember, the key to remain healthy is to keep asking the ‘right’ questions.
As Albert Einstein rightly said – “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
Abhijeet is currently working as Principal Consultant with Subex.
He specializes in Telecom Fraud Management and his 360 degree experience in this field includes extensive exposure in Fraud Operations Management, Consulting & Advisory, Risk & Health Assessments, Business Development – Product & Managed Services and Analytics.
Out of professional life, he is a blogger, tech enthusiast and a traveler.