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Tectonic shift to business assurance

Telecom operators have relied on the revenue-assurance function for over a decade to plug revenue and cost leakages, albeit with a minimal focus on revenue enhancement and cost optimization. The evolution of business assurance turns a new page by providing coverage to multiple product streams, and changing focus toward business growth, process optimization, enhancement of customer experience, regulatory assurance, and maximization of profits.

A need to focus on business assurance. Today, digital transformation is driving market trends and customer expectations. Communications service providers (CSPs) are acquiring new technologies with an aspiration to become digital service providers (DSPs) to further enhance their portfolio of products and capture a wider segment of customers.

Additionally, to survive in the market, operators must win the race for evolution and adoption of new technologies. Interaction with customers is evolving beyond physical connect, and operators have been exploring and deploying multiple ways of customer interactions through omni-channel contact centers like robots, web chat, and social media channels. Focus of customer experience has transformed from personal interaction to self-diagnostic, DIY (do it yourself) mechanisms, and robotic automation to improve the overall customer experience.

Hence, the need of the hour is to re-kindle the scope of assurance domains by shifting focus from reactive to proactive monitoring. Revenue assurance needs to evolve and extend coverage to other domains, such as customer satisfaction and business performance.

The answer to this question is business assurance, which focuses on maximizing margins across all business units, assuring digital transformation, eliminating leakages, building strong communities, and utilizing new opportunities.

To achieve this, effective business assurance can be achieved through evolution of mindset toward unchartered territories, extension of existing risk coverage and trust across the ecosystem. Coping with continuously changing demands is impossible without intervention from the latest technologies. Adopting a blend of tools and technologies appropriately will bring revolution in the industry fighting hard to control cost. Artificial intelligence is being explored to forecast churn and leakages, resulting in improved revenue. Likewise, machine learning models are being used to process historic data and provide better resilience. Considering the volume of data being produced every day, traditional (manual) reconciliations will soon be history as they are time-consuming, error-prone, and expensive.

It requires a shift in the organization structure, commit­ment from the leadership, and significant investment in skill development.

The business assurance transformation journey must be a deliberate initiative which will direct operations toward greater efficiencies. This journey must comprise of ambition, vision, and mandate definition, followed by defining ‘What good looks like?’ Operators should also identify internal and external operational limitations across people, processes, and technology. The transformation teams should develop a roadmap that defines activities, milestones, timelines, and responsibilities to migrate to a successful new-age function. Finally, efficient change management should be deployed for completing the transformation.

Business assurance has to get embedded throughout the organization, and needs to make way into a separate function rather than the current setup of a sub-function under the CFO. Business assurance evolution promises an exciting benefit-based future, through proactive risk monitoring, elimination of revenue leakages, maximization of margins, insight-based actions, assurance of digital trans­formation and the ecosystem, continuous maturity improvement, and development of a strong professional community.

The tectonic shift from traditional revenue assurance and fraud management (RAFM) function to digital ecosystem assurance through business assurance function, driven by technology platforms, will surely be a reality in the short run.

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