Why I Love Volcanoes and CEOs Love GRAPA

datePosted on 12:29, May 14th, 2010 by admin

I survived the great volcanic ash cloud of 2010. Like many travelers around the world, I too was stranded in a place I did not want to be when Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull Volcano decided to do its thing.  We had an event scheduled in Rotterdam, and we had to cancel it while people scrambled to get transportation from once place to another.

Luckily for me however, I had a nice hotel room and no place to go for a week. For most people, a whole week stuck in a nice location would mean a chance for some sightseeing, touring or may just some heavy sleeping. But that is not for me. What I like to do when I get some time on my hands, is arrange some ad hoc meetings with revenue assurance professionals in the area where I happen to be staying.

I was fortunate and managed to meet with quite a few people, and in addition to the usual revenue assurance  team meetings, I was able to swing a few interviews with some CEOs and CFOs to get feedback on how their view of revenue assurance is changing. For many of you, the thought of a CEO or a CFO caring about revenue assurance at all might seem like a stretch.

In the places where revenue assurance teams are taking the GRAPA message to the streets, an amazing transformation occurs. Don’t get me wrong, the transformation does not happen overnight, but in those places where the revenue assurance team works hard, works smart and focuses on their core mission, amazing things happens.

Revenue assurance professionals begin to see a significant and often quite rapid change in their status. As revenue assurance professionals begin to focus more on their understanding of where the true risks to the telco’s revenues are, and get proactive in their mission to “seek out and destroy” risks to revenues in any form it happens to be in, the more revenue assurance professionals come to be perceived as a key strategic asset to top management.

In meeting after meeting, C level executives shared the various ways their revenue assurance teams are surprising them with innovative, creative and downright brilliant solutions to many of the biggest revenue protection challenges facing telcos today. If I were to summarize these stories, I would say that CEOs love GRAPA, or at minimum truly appreciate what GRAPA is doing, because of the way in which it has been helping to transform revenue assurance teams.

Among the most often cited cases that C Level executives are mentioning are:

  1. The clear commitment to rationalization and the insistence of the revenue assurance team that all remedies developed are cost justified. That, keeps showing up as number one wherever we go. For many people unfamiliar with the GRAPA standards, there is a prevailing assumption that revenue assurance is some kind of “data cleansing” or “operational best practices” discipline (which is something that no C Level executive has time for). But when the revenue assurance team adopts a hard core, rationalization stance, things really begin to change.
  1. CEOs and CFOs were emphatic about how much they appreciate having a team of professionals on staff that proactively looks for risks to revenues without being told to. It seems that C Level executives, like everyone else, have too many things to keep track of, and anyone who is vigilant and proactive in “keeping their eye on the revenue line” is going to attain a “favored” status very quickly.

Most surprising to me were the number of executives who told me that their number one reason for escalating the status of the revenue assurance team in their estimation, was because they were realizing that revenue assurance was their number one best line of defense against revenue loss in new product development areas. An amazing number of telcos now include revenue assurance as a critical member of the new product development team, where they are perceived as the ultimate arbiters of the speed vs. risk tradeoff that all new product development teams must deal with.

For some people getting stuck someplace for a week because of a volcano might seem like a real bother. But for me it was an amazing opportunity to get some necessary and incredibly powerful feedback regarding the job that the revenue assurance teams are doing out there.

The net result of these interviews for me, among other things, is a renewed commitment, and even more focus on the “non-traditional” revenue assurance disciplines (Margin, Market, New Product and New Technology Assurance) that the CEOs seem most focused upon.

Well, that is enough for this week. Who knows, maybe next week, I’ll get stuck someplace else, and have another chance to get more of the “C-Level” view of what is happening in telecoms, and revenue assurance today.

But until then, this is Rob Mattison, saying…be safe.

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