IntroductionRevenue Assurance can be defined as the process of ensuring that all products and services provided by the Telecom Service Provider are billed as per the commercial agreement with customers by ensuring billing – and configuration integrity and accuracy across the relevant systems. This in order to improve profits, revenues and cash flows. Revenue Assurance is practically strongly related to billing assurance.
A telecom organization’s revenue chain is usually a very complex set of inter-related technologies and processes providing a seamless set of services to the end consumer. As the set of products, technologies and business processes grows bigger and more complex, the chance of failure increases. A revenue leakage is typically attributed to when a telco organization is unable to bill correctly for a given service or to receive the correct payment. As an organization grows, the probability of revenue leakage increases.
The best-known estimates of “typical” revenue leakage from Clintworld’s experience with several Telecom operators is worth about 2% of the gross revenue, not including losses due to fraud.
Clintworld offers a managed operations service for full billing assurance in post- and prepaid-business to minimize human errors combined with highly competent technical supervision of machines.
Increasing Importance of Revenue Assurance in TelecomAlthough Revenue Assurance has always been present in the telecom market, it has recently been brought at the forefront of the top management. This is due to several factors such as
- Profit: Increasing cost pressures and decreasing margins. The highly profitable days for most telcos are over. They all need to find alternative means to squeeze higher margins by effectively tracking their revenue
- Regulatory: New regulatory structure and compliance requirements which force the telecom operators to report their revenue accurately
- Technology Innovation: Ensuring new technologies and products are performing as per perceived plans. In a hurry to release new technologies in the market, the Revenue Assurance systems may lag behind
- Mergers and Acquisitions: With increase in the number of telco mergers and acquisitions, organizations are finding it difficult to handle multiple Business Support Systems (BSS) and Operations Support Systems (OSS) including Billing and Rating together
- Controlling of sales channels: Increasing Importance of indirect sales sets the wholesale and brand partner billing in focus
ChallengesThe most debated part of revenue assurance is where to start checking, i.e. at the network side, the rating side, the billing side, the interconnect side, the CRM side, etc. However, the maximum leakage surely happens during the flow of Call Detail Records (CDRs) or Event Detail Records (EDRs) from the Switch to the respective rating / billing engines. Some of the common problem areas are
Rating & Billing
- Incorrect rejection logic
- Duplicated CDRs resulting in double charging
- Incorrect tariff plans
- Rating & Billing accuracy errors
- Incorrect configuration, e.g. rating minutes instead of seconds
- Incorrect disconnection
- Lack of synchronicity/consistency between price plan repositories
- Incorrect zoning, rating to billing, roll-over balances etc.
- CDRs on switch not sent to mediation
- CDRs on mediation device not sent downstream
- CDRs rejected by rating/ billing sytem
- Wrong duration of the CDRs
- Incorrect business rules
- Subscriber provisioning
- Incorrect routing
Reasons for Billing Assurance
Billing Assurance provides a financial reasoning by uplifting the controlled revenue significantly. In the previous text the revenue leakage worth about 2% of the gross revenue is already mentioned. A consistent implementation of a Quality Assurance Management has a big impact on the revenue as well as on customer satisfaction and the volume of calls and complaints to customer service. The following chart shows the achievable revenue uplift for a company with 588 M Revenue in prepaid-business.
Clintworld Revenue-/ Billing Assurance Service
Clintworld with its long-term experience in billing-services for European service providers offers a managed operations – service for detecting billing errors as soon as possible using its simulation- and analytics software Clintview which has billing-precision.This service for full (record-by-record) Billing Assurance is characterized by (near) real-time processing for all CDRs and EDRs, detection and recovery of errors within given service level and auditable results (SOX) and can roughly be described as follow
Managing the Source Data
- Configuration and Implementation of the customers entire existing product-portfolio
- Short-termed Configuration of the new / changed products
- Managing > tens of thousands of options and business rules
- Managing the detailed usage data, that means loading e.g. 250 Million CDRs and 10 Million events per day.
- Comparison of data from a customer’s billing- and other systems
- Matching the complete pricing portfolio of the existing billing system for all single events
- Processing all delivered CDRs and comparison of the QAT- result with the customer’s billing results (“shadow billing”)
- Checking credit balances for unexplainable “jumps”
- Matching of purchasing- and selling- prices on detailed level
- Analysis, Classification and Communication of deviations
- Checking of prices and balances within given service level
- Using real-time data processing in memory to increase speed and accuracy of revenue leakage detection
- Ensuring billing correctness for legal reasons, e.g. SOX compliance, ISO 9001 audit
- Full verification of all event and billing data
- Speed up case investigation on revenue leakage
- Improve analyst’s productivity to the problematic areas that require immediate attention