I spent last week in South Africa with a team from Cell C and Virgin Mobile.CellC2009034 They were a great group to work with and I was pleased to receive feedback from J. Walters, the Cell C team manager, not long after the training ended:

A lot of thoughtful and insightful discussion took place during the Madrid training. Thinking about it now, one discussion has stuck in my mind, and it is about revenue assurance management and positioning. One of the attendees asked why traditional, long existing (usually incumbent) carriers were so far behind the rest of the world in revenue assurance. This really surprised me. I had never really considered this before, because the common perception has always been that these older, more traditional telecommunications companies were actually long time leaders in revenue assurance and technology.

Madrid: Meshing Operations, Marketing and RA

datePosted on 06:48, May 26th, 2009 by Rob Mattison

Yet another topic our training group spent hours talking about is 3G and GPRS. There is a lot of confusion surrounding these technologies. Carriers in North America are already claiming they are 4G—surprising because when done properly, full implementation of 3G can take years. There are also carriers who claim to be 3.5G and 3.75G. Claims like these make it difficult to determine how a technology is implemented and used, not least because of the sharp contrast with how it is marketed. This makes formulating a revenue assurance strategy challenging at best.

Mediation Benchmark Complete

datePosted on 07:53, May 24th, 2009 by Rob Mattison

Our mediation benchmark is complete. The Mediation Benchmark is a definitive study of how revenue assurance mediation is carried out around the world. The information collected is from one hundred GRAPA members spread across the world, contributing what they understand about their situation. From this benchmark, we get a snapshot of standard practice around the world. These benchmark studies are crucial to understanding the challenges, changes and disciplines of revenue assurance professionals.

In the past, only the GRAPA members who participated in the benchmark survey were provided with access to the results. However, this time we are distributing it to all GRAPA members (with a sample to non-members) so they can see what these benchmark results are all about.

Madrid: Running the Race with Trends

datePosted on 05:38, May 23rd, 2009 by Rob Mattison

I would say the biggest surprise coming out of the Madrid training is the growing importance of Revenue Maximization. Revenue assurance for churn, rate plan assurance and new product development seems to have become standard procedure for RA departments almost overnight. Everyone coming to the trainings agrees that most telcos are now intent on moving toward this kind of revenue assurance. This is quite a revelation, because a very short time ago people were insisting that these things would never be in the scope of revenue assurance.

Madrid: Multinationals and Certification

datePosted on 05:34, May 22nd, 2009 by Rob Mattison

Back in March I talked about how 2009 would be the year of the revenue assurance professional. I talked about how revenue assurance professionals were becoming the ‘go to resource’ at telcos, evolving from an informally assembled group with disparate skill sets (Operations, IT, Marketing), to a staff that is focused, specialized, trained, professional and credible. GRAPA, and the standards we developed, was an integral part of that evolution.

Madrid Training Week Two: Traditions and Firsts

datePosted on 10:14, May 12th, 2009 by Rob Mattison

Training in Madrid is moving into its second week, which always means some new faces. As always, trainees hail from around the globe: Sweden, Jordan, UAE and Ireland—just to name a few. Several have interesting stories regarding their travels to Madrid and you will be reading those soon. Rumours of ‘swine flu’ and other travel hindrances have certainly not dampened anyone’s resolve. Perhaps this is just an example of the tenacity and perseverance required to be a revenue assurance professional! MadriMaind2001

Madrid: New Certification Program In Development

datePosted on 10:32, May 8th, 2009 by Rob Mattison

In the previous post I talked about the "un-conferences " we are thinking of holding. While that is a big and exciting thing, a more fundamental shift is occurring with development of a new GRAPA certification program. Specialist certificates will now be awarded for two to three day trainings in specific functions and technologies such as post-paid, pre-paid, interconnect, roaming, churn management, margin assurance, new product development assurance, 3G and WiMAX. We have talked to a lot of people and found that though they want certification, it is difficult to pack it all into one time frame. Revenue Assurance Professionals are busy people after all!

With the Madrid training underway, we’re already looking forward to the upcoming Cairo and Kuala Lumpur trainings as well as some changes for the second half
of the year. We’ve even put up a tentative calendar for dates and regions in 2010.

For the next half of the year, we’re looking at holding ‘un-conferences’; no vendors, no booths–just training and information. Unusual, we know. At these regional events we’ll be having vigorous discussions of GRAPA issues in town-hall style meetings, in particular about how to improve the professional standing of RA professionals across the specific region.

Greetings from the Madrid GRAPA Certification Event. Myself and the attendees were greeted by beautiful weather; warm, but not too warm. We have just completed Day Two of our training schedule, where we touched on Network Operations, Billing Architectures, and Controls.

Photo Luis Brito

In their free time the participants are enjoying Madrid. This is the start of spring bull fight season, so a lot of people from the training are going to the bull fights. We have watched a parade going into the arena with lots of pageantry; men on horseback and women in carriages in beautiful Spanish traditional costume. Our trainees are also enjoying the shopping; clothing, beautiful textiles, electronics and souvenirs.