Panelists Discuss How Systems, Process Combine to Stop Revenue Leakage

Service providers reportedly are losing as much as 11 percent of annual gross revenue as a result of revenue leakage. Today’s panel, "Revenue Assurance & Cost Containment," offers solutions for carriers to positively impact profitability.

Participating in the talk show-style round table are Dan Lyman, senior director of service engineering, Transaction Network Services; Ron Van Orden, executive director, strategic markets, Daleen Technologies; and Yves Robinson, director of revenue assurance, Vibrant Solutions.

The panelists represent two approaches — one technology-based and the other process-based — on the topics, says session leader Sean Gregory, managing director of telecommunications solutions for Dun & Bradstreet. He says they are not opposing philosophies; rather they are complementary routes to achieving revenue assurance and cost containment.

As it concerns revenue assurance, the systems and technology method "addresses how to make sure there is no revenue leakage in the billing systems and that you are billing properly against the network elements," Gregory says. "The second side is a process and financial perspective — how to ensure revenue is collected and that [subscribers] are going to pay."

He says cost containment follows the same pattern with the technology play using the billing system to detect fraud or other misuse and the process side bringing best practices to the discussion.

The first approach ensures there are no holes in the systems and the second makes certain business processes are in place that might be aided or enabled by technology. Gregory offers the example of a carrier that is evaluating its customer base for creditworthiness — a process that is enabled by a database and scoring programs.

With the deadline for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance nearing, it is an especially good time for carriers to consider adding rigor to revenue assurance programs as the new law has rules for booking revenue, aging receivables and writing off bad debt.

Gregory contends carriers have avoided addressing the problem for far too long as indicated by lopsided statistics showing bad debt outpacing the economic decline. "The expense is creeping up faster than the economy has been declining because there is no process in place," he says. "The problem should get better or worse in context with the economy not because of a lack of process."

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