How Do you Certify an Entire Country? Leave it to a Revenue Assurance Professional

datePosted on 20:21, October 11th, 2009 by admin

I have got to tell you, no matter how long I am in this business, and the longer I am associated with GRAPA the better it gets.

You just never know what is going to happen, or what is possible when a group of sincere, intelligent, honest and well-intentioned people put their minds to the accomplishment of a monumental task. I had the privilege and honor or working with such a group of revenue assurance professionals in Uganda recently.

In order to appreciate why this is such a big deal, you need to have a little background. As the President of GRAPA, my goal is to bring training and certification to as many people as we can, at the best price possible. (Of course, the naïve among our readers will say, “Great, so give it away for free!”. Of course, if we did that we would not be able to do it for very long. It takes money to run an association like GRAPA, and getting people to pay for the training is the best way we could come up with to make it happen.)

ugandasign This means that some people (especially the people in the larger telcos, and the larger, richer countries) have a much easier time of getting access to the training then those in smaller countries with lower customer counts and lower ARPUs. The result, unfortunately, is that many times, the people that need the training the most have the hardest time getting access to it. There are several things we have tried in order to fix this problem including web training (again, a disaster in exactly the places that need it the most) and other methods.

One of the things we have tried in the past is to put on a ‘co-op event”. This is how it works: all of the carriers in the same country or region get together and agree to cover the expenses, we have the event at their location, and the carriers share the expense.

In most places, although the people working on it tried, the politics and rivalry between the carriers made such an event impossible. Before now, our biggest success story was the awesome job that Henry Whyte did, putting together the GRAPA training event in Ghana.

So when Hawas Matta, our National Chair in Uganda, approached me with the idea of doing a co-op in Uganda I was skeptical to say the least. “How are you going to get your management team to agree to shoulder this risk?” I asked. “How will you avoid the inter-carrier politics?” However, Hawas assured me that he could make it happen. And, he did.

In an incredibly short amount of time, Hawas, with the full support of his management team at Zain Uganda, and with the support of the Zain Corporate group, was able to build the National Coalition of Revenue Assurance managers from every major carrier in Uganda, and get them to all agree to participate in the event! Unbelievable! It was an unprecedented act of coordination, win-win negotiation and cooperation.

For the first time ever, we at GRAPA are proud to announce that we have provided training for, and certified an entire country! Well not quite the entire country, but pretty darn close to it. Equally critical was the incredibly professional way the participants handled the experience. There were even some potential “inter-carrier” romances in the brew.

We had thirty revenue assurance professionals, including some Internal Audit, Fraud and I/T professionals, and we covered the entire core curriculum and Xtreme© training and testing during the allotted five days (we did go late a couple of times, but who is counting). At the end, we were able to award certification to most of the participants, with the commitment from every one of them that they would go back to their telcos and show their management teams how effective a true revenue assurance professional can be. ugandatraining

I think revenue assurance professionals around the world should look to the revenue assurance community in Uganda with considerable respect and pride. We can learn from their example of what revenue assurance professionals can accomplish when we put our heads and our hearts to the task of doing whatever it takes to get a job done.

I am proud and honored to have participated in this event. I hope and pray that we have many more experiences that are similar around the world, as we, as a professional community figure out what we can do, and how to do it. Really, there is no limit to what we can accomplish working together. That is what GRAPA is all about.

Again, my profoundest thanks to the management teams and revenue assurance teams from MTN, Orange, Warid, Hawas Matta and the Zain management team for making this happen.

Until next time, this is Rob Mattison saying…. Be safe.

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