By Joseph George, Director Revenue Protection & Interconnect, & James Stewart, Fraud Product Manager
Knowledge about fraud protection and revenue assurance disciplines, procedures, best practices and systems is maturing. Despite this apparent maturity, the means by which network operators approach the management of these processes continues to evolve. This creates a fresh dilemna of how to implement fraud and revenue assurance best practices to ensure maximum ROI and also guarantee the integrity of the revenue protection process.
Minimizing revenue leakage is a significant issue for network operators. Various industry reports indicate that anything from 1% to 15% or more of gross revenue is typically lost due to revenue assurance or fraud issues. It is also significant that the sources of revenue leakage continues to be fragmented – including network element configuration issues, system integration disparities, tariff configuration problems and a range of elements relating to billing, partner management, credit management and fraud.
A software system based approach to fraud and revenue assurance would typically be expected to cover a range of fraud or revenue assurance processes, however the growing sophistication of cloud-based solutions provides a new approach. The consideration of a cloud-based model avoids the need to acquire and implement software altogether, while ensuring that all of the required fraud and revenue assurance process elements can still be performed, including data warehousing, online reporting and the provision of dashboards and alerts for proactive decision support.
Using a cloud-based approach removes the CAPEX cost issues associated with system acquisition, but continues to support the checks, reconciliation and associated processes expected from a standard licensed software model. Of equal importance is the associated time to market advantage which a cloud option provides. Implementing conventional licensed software takes a considerably longer time to deploy, quite apart from the costs, as there is a time consideration associated with hardware acquisition, project team mobilisation and related tasks. With cloud the infrastructure is always available, with configuration and adaptor developments quickly accomplished within the existing infrastructure.
A hybrid environment can also be considered, combining cloud-based fraud and revenue assurance processes within a conventional OSS/BSS infrastructure. Thus cloud-based data warehousing, correlation and reconciliation are available for your fraud and revenue assurance team, while online reporting, dashboards and alerts, supported by data processing and data warehousing and monitoring and processing capability, are entirely external to your in-house IT environment.
If the idea of cloud-based, or hybrid cloud/managed service for fraud and revenue assurance processes management seems unrealistic, then it is appropriate at this stage to indicate that this is no fantasy. It is the day to day reality for a number of operators who have already decided to adopt just such an approach in order to resolve the dual challenge of reducing revenue leakage and managing CAPEX constraints on fraud and revenue assurance system investment. This approach is therefore proven and provides new options as fraud and revenue assurance best practises evolve to deal with new technology and commercial value chain evolution.