The FIFA World Cup vs Wrestle Mania: Which Model Will Revenue Assurance Choose ?

datePosted on 05:22, July 2nd, 2010 by grapa

As many of you know, I am American. And as many of you know, in America, we in general do not really appreciate what the rest of the world knows as football, or what North Americans call soccer. As most who know me personally know, I am not a typical American. For years,I have been an avid follower of “real football “ through my loyalty to a couple of German teams (Dortmund BVB and Bayern Munchen), both cities where I have lived and have family connections.

But I have to tell you, that in this FIFA World Cup series in South Africa, I was more than a little obsessed, and yes, my favorite team was the US team. At the writing of this blog, my team was cheated out of a winning goal by a questionable call made by a referee. Would the US win the World Cup? No, not this time. But, if there is anything this year’s world cup showed us, is that it is a big world out there, and the way things were in the past (like the dominance of Germany , France and the UK), is quickly being dispelled as major, and seriously good teams from Africa, the Middle East, Asia and even the United States, change the vary complexion and nature of the sport.

Say what you will about the “fairness” of individual referees, or the many different “political quirks” that make up world football championships, in the end, the process is a basically fair and entertaining process. It is interesting to compare the overtly civilized and politically correct way that the FIFA championship is run to less professionally managed championship events like the World Wrestling Entertainment matches and Wrestle Mania.

To my chagrin, I have found that WWE wrestling matches are quite popular on cable channels around the world. In Asia, Africa and the Middle East, millions of people watch Wrestle Mania matches and view that as an example of life and sport in the US. For those of you who don’t know it yet, the WWF, unlike FIFA, is a scam. Yes, it is true. The wrestling matches that you view are a fake. They are undoubtedly entertaining, and certainly violent. However, in the final analysis, the role of the referee is not to make it fair, but to serve as another “clown” in the circus in this so-called sporting event.

But what has all of this to do with Revenue Assurance?

Here’s the thing. In my last blog, I discussed a concept I call “Revenue Mania”. And I encourage you to listen to it, or read it before proceeding with this blog. In that article, I proposed that what we are experiencing in our industry today, is a re-definition of the role of revenue assurance and revenue management in the telecom landscape.

What I also proposed was that there were many “schools” or “groups” advocating different “flavors” or approaches to how we, as a group of professionals can best advance our careers, and help our companies through our professional practices. In that article I mentioned several groups. There are people clinging to old definitions of revenue assurance; that revenue assurance is about software, that revenue assurance is about I/T and about zero tolerance advocates. I also mentioned more forward thinking schools of thought, including the “revenue assurance is about increasing profits” and the “revenue assurance is about customers” schools.

In a very real sense, we, as telecoms professionals, dedicated to the practice of at least what used to be known as revenue assurance, are in fact, participating in the equivalent of a Revenue Assurance world cup. The world over, telecom executives (CFO’s and CEO’s) are appraising the value that their revenue assurance software and hardware purchases, consulting budgets and staffing decisions and asking, “was it worth the investment?” While the majority of them have seen the value in many of these investments so far, mostof them are asking, “can we do better”? Can I get more value out of my revenue assurance Team? Should I add more staff to the team? Should I raise salary levels? Should I reorganize revenue assurance and give them different KPI’s? How can I best spread the revenue assurance goodness across my organization for the maximum benefit?

In general, I believe that this year’s exercise of Revenue Mania, is an absolutely awesome, powerful and a good thing, especially for revenue assurance professionals. But I also believe that we need to be very careful that we run our “Revenue Assurance Mania” process much more like the FIFA world cup and not like the American style “Wrestlemania”.

What does that mean? Well, first of all, it means that we should proceed with some method. We need to be sure that we are building on the things that already work, and not throw out the good with the bad. I believe that it means several things:

First – It means that we maintain a focus on the individual revenue assurance professional; their skills, strengths and weaknesses. To fall in love with an approach that existing staff cannot manage is a formula for disaster. That is not to say that we mustn’t try new things, only that we have to build on the core strengths we have, and not make professionals feel ‘left out’ and worthless.

Second – it means that we have to focus on our relationships: consensus. Building trust between professionals; this is how any professional excels. The revenue assurance professional should consider approaches that enhance and strengthen relationships with CEOs, CFOs, CIOs and operational managers, not antagonize them.

Third – the new migration paths must be rationalized. Part of the reason people abandoned the old approaches was because they couldn’t prove the value. New approaches must prove value before undertaken.

Fourth – the revenue assurance professional needs to expand the scope and re-define themselves with Integrity. They must understand the new domain and preform with precision, excellence, transparency and reliability.

Over the next few weeks, I will be initiating GRAPA’s own version of the Revenue Mania World Cup. Week by week, we will attempt to address a different aspect of the emerging trends in the practice of revenue assurance. We will explore the concepts of Revenue Management , Revenue Engineering, Revenue Optimization, Margin Assurance, Market Assurance, Revenue Governance and others. We will consider the merit of each and the underlying principles and values. We will also explore the dangers and pitfalls that each might hold for the revenue assurance professional. And finally, we will attempt to build a new operational model for how these different flavors of telco revenue management, assurance, optimization and governance can be weaved into a comprehensive framework for growth into 2011 and beyond.

The rules of the Revenue Mania World Cup will be simple. I will create a blog, or series of blogs to initiate the first round. We will then post the topic on our Linkedin, Facebook, newsletter, podcasts, GRAPA Website and other locations. We will solicit rebuttal , discussion and contribution from as many members as possible (in order to help stimulate the process, our membership managers and faculty will join in the contest).

As with the FIFA World Cup, we will do our best to keep the contest fair minded, open ended and with a clear dedication to revealing the best approaches.

We will not tolerate cheap shots, personal attacks, emotional diatribes or name calling. Our intention is to run a nice, clean competition. Other than that, I hope we get a lot of people participating in these discussions. The important thing, from my perspective, is that we hear from YOU, the membership, about these issues.

Stay tuned for some of our upcoming Revenue Mania Topics, and until next time, this is Rob Mattison saying …be safe….

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