The Great GRAPA NGN Explosion

datePosted on 05:01, September 16th, 2010 by grapa


When we started GRAPA back in 2007, there were many things that we thought would happen. However, one thing we were sure of was that the wire line incumbent telcos would not be high on our list of members.

It is not because we did not like them, or we did not want them to join, it was just that for many decades, the revenue assurance teams at the incumbent wire line telcos were the stalwart, hardcore, heavily experienced revenue assurance people who were out there showing everyone else how it should be done. The place of honor earned by many of the telco revenue assurance pioneers who started our profession within the halls of the monster incumbent telcos is well earned, without a doubt.

It came as no surprise when we started GRAPA, that our biggest enrolment, and the most enthusiastic participation came from the small and medium sized telcos, mostly in the wireless market. Over the past six months however, we at GRAPA are seeing an amazing transformation taking place. As more and more wireline carriers get into the swing of things, many of them are turning to GRAPA for help.

With Next Generation Networks, IMS, WIMAX, Fiber to Node, and Streaming content offerings abounding, wireline revenue assurance teams increasingly find themselves in the same position as the wireless revenue assurance teams were a few years ago. While there may be some similar conditions driving the wireline revenue assurance teams to GRAPA, there are in fact, several things unique about this special relationship.

Wireline telcos are structured quite differently than wireless, and the cultural, organizational and rationalization rules can be quite different. Wireline telcos are typically well endowed with technical and operational competence. Their problems are more organizational and political in nature.

There are four major themes that we see when we do a training event for a wireline telco:

  • Revenue assurance is everybody’s problem.

  • SWAT style revenue assurance.

  • Revenue assurance public relations.

  • Expanding the scope of the revenue assurance team.

(And just in case you are wondering about whether our approach works or not, we have never done a training event for a wireline telco that did not result in their scheduling more sessions – usually because once staff who missed the event finds out about it, they demand to come as well).

The GRAPA training events for incumbent telcos focus on the Standards, Principles of Operations and Standard Controls methodology, just as all of our training and certification events do. However, the emphasis in these events has some pretty significant variances.

Revenue Assurance Is Everybody’s Problem

First of all, GRAPA training events for wireline telcos typically involve the revenue assurance team inviting people from Audit, Finance, Operations, Network and I/T along. Often the non-revenue assurance participants outnumber the revenue assurance people in these classes. Clearly these carriers have realized what GRAPA has always maintained, and that is that Revenue Assurance is everybody’s problem, and the best way to reduce leakage is to raise awareness and develop a shared vision of the problem. Our GRAPA training events accomplish this with a passion. Interactive sessions, workshops and strategy sessions help everyone learn that leakage and revenue risk is a personal problem for them, not just a problem for the revenue assurance team.

SWAT Style Revenue Assurance

Secondly, in our Incumbent/Wireline training events, we examine preconceived notions about how much should be spent on revenue assurance. We help people understand that in many cases, revenue assurance teams are “over assuring” non-critical areas, while big risks are left unaddressed. By helping people understand the new generation of “lightweight’ SWAT team approaches to revenue assurance, teams and their clients come away with a more effective, less burdensome view of the role of revenue assurance in their organizations.

Public Relations for Revenue Assurance.

Many revenue assurance teams within incumbent telcos suffer from serious Public Relations problems. Years of “zero tolerance for leakage” and confusion about what the role of revenue assurance really should be has left many revenue assurance teams with a bad reputation as nay-sayers and people who impede progress and try to assign blame. The GRAPA approach to revenue assurance as agents of innovation, change and the proactive solution to problems (in contrast to being the reactive blame layers), help the revenue assurance teams gain new life and a fresh start in their organizations.

Expanding The Scope Of The Revenue Assurance Team

Finally, and most critically, GRAPA training helps organizations learn about the many new and exciting domains that revenue assurance has taken on, and how these new revenue assurance disciplines are bringing huge top line benefits to their organizations.

In many cases, the revenue assurance teams within these telcos have excellent skills and insights, but are unable to “break through” into many of the new, innovative areas where other revenue assurance teams are expanding and excelling such as the new and exciting worlds of :

  • New Product Development Assurance

  • Network Asset Assurance

  • New Technology Assurance

  • VNO Assurance

  • Outsourcing Assurance

  • Margin Assurance

  • Market Assurance

These are just a few of the areas where GRAPA training and participation helps revenue assurance teams make big strides forward and break out into entirely new and highly effective service areas. So, all in all, I guess it really should come as no surprise that GRAPA fever is started to come to the wireline telcos as well.

It is a great thing to see and experience, and it certainly makes for some exciting and interesting situations to be dealt with by all of us. As is always the case, all members of GRAPA benefit, as more people get the message, apply the principles and add their knowledge and expertise to the ever growing pool of professional knowledge and credibility that we are developing.

Well, that’s enough for this time, until next time, this is Rob Mattison saying…be safe….

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