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Should you still be “keeping your eye on the ball”?

In almost every major sports analogy where a ball is used, the coach is always telling players to “keep their eye on the ball.” In baseball this is obviously critical. Certainly the same holds true in cricket. Other sports rely on this fundamental as well; the ball is the player’s universe. Without keeping your eye on that ball scoring doesn’t happen, and victories escape our favorite teams.
In the world of Revenue Management the same analogy has been applied to those charged with protecting revenues. “Keep your eye on the money.” We’ve all received our marching orders to monitor and protect the revenue process, from where value is generated, billed, and ultimately collected.
What has inevitably happened, however, is an ever-growing expansion of what was originally a relatively simple carrier business model. Consider this maturing timeline for most operators over the years:

  • Risk Management (“ERM”) became an embedded factor in enterprises as they grew larger
  • Revenue Management soon grew on its own within Risk Management, eventually dominating the ERM program with both Fraud and Revenue teams operating (mostly) autonomously
  • Operator business models have since evolved well beyond the classic voice services that ERM was chartered to monitor, further stressing an already crowded ERM oversight domain

Suddenly (actually, over the last 20 years), Risk Management programs are finding that there is no longer a single ball to keep their eye on; in fact, there are many. Revenue is now generated from many streams (e.g., product lines), all using different business models. But what makes this even more difficult is the relationships and interdependencies these product lines have with each other – these also need to be monitored for risks and failures. Now ERM can’t simply deploy independent, autonomous teams to track individual streams – the collaboration and sharing of consistent data and resources is now a critical requirement.
Putting this into context, let’s talk about fictitious Carrier “A” … we’ll call them Rio Hondo Telecom:
Rio Hondo offers 3G and 4G mobile services. They also operate as an ILEC (Independent Local Exchange Carrier), so they have invested in a great deal in underground plant, in the form of both copper and cable, to serve the majority of their 1 million customers. Through that plant they offer fixed line telephony, broadband, and video broadcast services to consumers, and high-speed business service packages to enterprises. Unfortunately, they have no last mile access to 15% of their enterprise customers, and 10% of their standard consumer customer base is too far away to receive broadband and broadcast services. Therefore, Rio Hondo has formed several partnerships with other operators to round out their service offering to those outlying customers. They started carrying services 65 years ago…and their ERM teams formed in the early 1980’s. They have limited Fraud and Revenue controls in place, yet their business models have grown well beyond what they can easily monitor for risks. Where should their ERM teams be focusing their resources? Candidates must include both revenue generation and revenue support functions, among others.

  1. Revenue generations functions:
    a. Event creation, mediation, and billing
    b. Recurring charge integrity
    c. Retail sales of equipment and services
  2. Revenue support functions:
    a. Retail and call center provisioning operations, and change requests
    b. Order integrity and fall-out management – critical for bundled service delivery
    c. Capturing of traded/returned equipment, including tracking to warehouse receipt
    d. Chargeback management, merchant charging integrity
  3. Cost and other support functions:
    a. Service call management and charging
    b. CPE and inventory assurance
    c. Commissioning integrity
    d. Partner services delivered as ordered, billed appropriately

This operator example is not uncommon, and certainly something that we have successfully worked with operators to manage for much of the last 16 years. What has been learned over this time that ERM can’t just keep their eyes on the “business model complexity” ball; now ERM must also keep their eyes on every ball that deals with product, service, and support inter-dependencies that now dominate the carrier business landscape.
This is the foundation that drove the birth of the ROC from Subex. First envisioned over a decade ago, the latest generation of ROC3 products fully support the monitoring and instrumentation of every facet of Revenue, Cost, Fraud, and Network Asset protection within the operator’s business…all from a single, integrated architecture. With ROC3, operators can not only keep their eyes on as many balls as their business can throw at them, they can easily manage which ones to catch, and which ones to hit “out of the park!”

Vice President – Product Management – John Brooks serves as the Vice President of Product Management in Subex. He has over 26 years of experience in Telecommunications, spanning Fixed, Mobile, Data, and Video technologies. Within the industry Mr. Brooks was a board member for the GBA, founded the TM Forum Fraud team (authoring the first International Fraud Operations and Fraud Classifications guides), and now leads the TM Forum Network Asset Management team, focusing on transformative best practices for SDN/NFV operations. Over the years Mr. Brooks has served as an Advisory Board member for a prominent technical university, and has spoken at over 50 industry events and authored numerous papers on topics spanning IoT, Digital Disruption, Big Data, and Enterprise Risk Management. With Subex (formerly Connexn/Azure) since 1999, he has directed over 40 successful Cost, Revenue, and Business Optimization engagements at over 24 top-tier carriers globally, including AT&T, America Movil, BT, Vodafone, and Verizon.

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