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December 2012

Atlanta-lytics: New Telecom Conference Features Revenue & Customer Analytics

Atlanta is Warm in January: New Telecom Conference Features Financial and Revenue Analytics Workshop

Tim Downs called me out of the blue this autumn to ask if Black Swan would support a new conference he was organizing on telecom analytics.  My first reaction was -- Wow, what a great topic, and. . . it’s about time!

Telecom Analytics 2013 [Atlanta, January 30 to 31] is no longer in the "good idea" phase.  It’s shaping up to be a solid gathering of industry movers and shakers.  Here’s the list of service provider speakers who have signed on as of the first week in January:

  • Justin Croft, Manager, Campaigns and Promotions at C-Spire Wireless
  • Bill Eldredge Sr.  Product Manager, Consumer Insight at Nokia
  • Kari Escobedo, VP, IT Development at T-Mobile
  • Konstantinos Karagiannis, Principal Consultant, Ethical Hacking Center of Excellence (EHCOE) at BT
  • Paul King, Director of Analytics and Insights at Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc.
  • Parimala Narasimha, Senior Manager — Marketing Sciences at Cox Communications
  • Tom Nolting, Vice President of Billing Support & Revenue Assurance at FairPoint Communications
  • Steve Ward, SVP Information Technology, Frontier Communications

It’s also nice to see major companies behind the event.  And in analytics, there’s no bigger name than IBM, who’s the signature sponsor, led by Robert Segat, IBM’s Business Solutions Executive — Telecom, Energy and Utilities.  Another senior exec behind Telecom Analytics 2013 is Frank Bernhard, Director of the Telecom Practice at Deloitte Consulting.

Westin Atlanta Airport Hotel

Closer to home, yours truly has organized a number of sessions entitled, Financial and Revenue Analytics where several contributors to Black Swan will be speaking.

So business assurance or analytics pros get the best of both worlds: the chance to hear and meet these experts, and, as a Black Swan reader / subscriber, a discount attendance fee.

For the Financial and Revenue Analytics sessions, here’s a quick rundown on the speakers and their topics.

Financial and Revenue Analytics Seesions

January 31, 2013 -- 12:30 PM to 5:00 PM


Welcome & Market Perspective on Financial & Revenue Analytics -- Dan Baker, Research Director of TRI

This 10-minute introductory session will explain the rationale of assembling experts from various analytics flavors in these sessions. In addition, you’ll learn:

  • A brief history of analytics and the relative sizes of various telecom analytics/assurance solution markets; and,
  • How the consulting, software, integrator and cloud players are organizing to serve the telecom sector and crossing over formerly distinct domains.

Aligning Analytics with Business Goals --
Curtis Mills, President, ProCom Consulting
Steve Ward, SVP Information Technology, Frontier Communications

Steve Ward Curtis Mills

Big Data becomes Big Garbage unless it helps you take specific action for real change to achieve business goals, such as sales improvement for top-line growth, margin improvement, churn reduction and higher customer lifetime value.  This session will present tool-agnostic case examples of how carriers are using analytics to accelerate strategic results:

  • Measurably improve customer and product/bundle profitability, sometimes by reducing offerings.
  • Fine tune sales efforts, marketing campaigns and other promotions for radically improved outcomes.
  • Improve the customer experience, online and off, in the areas of highest financial impact.

Note: Steve Ward and Curtis Mills will deliver separate talks synchronized around the same topic.

Big Data, Big Results: Case Studies of Big Data Customer Analytics -- Jacob Howell, Director of Revenue Assurance & Fraud Solutions, TEOCO Corporation

Jacob Howell

The presenter will share best practices and case studies highlighting impressive and unexpected results from implementing Big Data Customer Analytics. You’ll learn how service providers:

  • Used customer information to rescue the profitability of their unlimited service plans;
  • Reduced churn by proactively managing bill shock;
  • Increase the margin of their MVNO line of business; and
  • Proactively protected their business from fraud and abuse.

Analytics: Ensuring OTT Services Don’t Eat the Lunch of MSOs -- Mark Trudeau, President & CEO, OpenVault LLC

Mark Trudeau

MSOs never had to worry about high speed data (HSD) consumption levels, at least until now.  With the widespread consumption of OTT content and the explosion in the number of internet connected devices within households the MSOs are suddenly faced with a desperate need to drive additional revenues and control expenses.  What has traditionally been their highest margin line of business is quickly becoming a huge challenge.  The answer: Analytics!  You’ll learn:

  • How Broadband Operators can leverage network and subscriber data to both understand where their biggest challenges are and to create and model new revenue-generating products.
  • The days of all-you-can-eat data are over and Operators must leverage detailed analytics to monetize the usage consumption on their networks.
  • Learn the current HSD usage behavioral trends and multiple ways to align revenues with demand.

Utilizing Big Data Analytics to Drive Operational Effectiveness and Delight Customers -- Dr. Ron Angner, Senior Vice President and Principal, TMNG Global

Ron Angner

Big data in telecom is nothing new.  But there’s now an urgent need to leverage big data to properly manage smartphones, M2M devices and the exploding app-driven market.  The need for revenue-generating insights is also being driven by data-heavy services, OTT delivery, and higher QoS expectations.  You’ll learn how operators are:

  • Managing Operational Big Data (OBD) -- gathering and integrating input from all the major telecom processes: Order to Cash; Switch-to-Bill; Maintenance; and Customer Care.
  • Applying business rules to provide executive dashboards and reports that detect and fix operational issues in near real time before revenue, costs, service assurance and customer satisfaction are impacted.
  • Improving not only operational and financial performance, but most importantly, customer satisfaction and experience programs.

Smart Margin Analytics: Why Bolting on a Margin Assurance Capability to an Existing Revenue Assurance System can Deliver Big Savings -- Efrat Nissimov, Director of Revenue Assurance Product Management, cVidya

Efrat Nissimov

Margin analysis is one of the hottest trends in Revenue Intelligence.  But what’s all the excitement about?  This session explains what margin analysis and show how major cost savings can be realized if it is deployed as a module within an existing revenue assurance suite.  You’ll learn:

  • The benefits of margin analysis and the market forces driving its adoption;
  • Advantages over Excel and heritage data warehouse approaches in terms of flexibility, data granularity and quicker time to access.

Real-Time Customer Experience and Network Analytics in Emerging 4G/LTE Networks -- Martin Guilfoyle, Vice President, Advanced Solutions, Syniverse

Martin Guilfoyle

The speed and capabilities of dynamic 4G/LTE networks generate big data and demand greater efficiency in the management of the network.  Real-time analysis and proactive resolution are not only vital capabilities for monitoring network health, but also for highlighting end-user behaviors and uncovering new revenue streams, protecting brand loyalty, and ultimately ensuring a positive end-user experience.  In this session you’ll learn about:

  • Use cases in real-time analytics that drive better customer experience such as: customized service options for high-value customers, targeted campaigns to silent or low usage roamers, and proactive usage monitoring to avoid bill shock.
  • Network management analytics that provides immediate issue resolution stemming from up-to-the-minute views of both on-net and the visited networks where subscribers roam.

The Road to Business Optimization Is Paved With Much More Than Big Data -- John L.  Brooks, Vice President Product Management, Subex

John Brooks

Harnessing the intelligence that resides in numerous data platforms has eluded most operators despite their purchases of BI, analytics, and reporting tools.  With all the resources being poured into sorting through mountains of data, why aren’t operators succeeding at that game?  In this session, you’ll learn:

  • How the path from data to optimization is achieved;
  • Actual cases of optimization across several  telecom-specific domains.

Copyright 2012 Black Swan Telecom Journal

Dan Baker

Dan Baker

Dan Baker is research director of Technology Research Institute (TRI) and editor of the on-line magazines Black Swan Telecom Journal.

Technology Research Institute (TRI) has been writing and researching telecom software and systems markets since 1994.  Its industry reports have covered the gamut of telecom systems from billing and service assurance... to customer care and provisioning.  In recent years, TRI has authored major reports on Fraud Management, Revenue Assurance and Telecom Analytics/Big Data solutions.   Contact Dan via

Black Swan Solution Guides & Papers

cSwans of a Feather

  • Atlanta-lytics: New Telecom Conference Features Revenue and Customer Analytics by Dan Baker — A new telecom conference on analytics in Atlanta (January 29 — 31) is shaping up to be a key event for people who want to stay abreast of this fast moving field.  Black Swan is hosting a half-day, pre-conference workshop entitled, “Financial and Revenue Analytics” featuring seven speakers, many of whom are contributors to this magazine.  Detailed program guide is enclosed.
  • Big Data Financial Analytics: Creating Business Value for Tier 1 Telecoms interview with John Devolites & Atul Jain — What exactly is an analytics company?  This interview with executives at TEOCO helps defines this new breed of telecom solution vendor — a cross between software, consulting, and assurance supplier.  Along with a few Tier 1 case studies, the interview discusses: big-data vs. sampling, analytics project management, and the importance of data access.
  • Margin Analysis: Bolting Profit Assurance onto a Revenue Assurance Platform by Efrat Nissimov — Margin analysis is one of the hottest trends in business assurance.  But what’s all the excitement about?  This article explains the benefits, the market forces driving its adoption, and its advantages over Excel and heritage data warehouse approaches in terms of flexibility, data granularity and quicker time to access.  The author also touts major cost savings if margin analysis is deployed as a module within an existing revenue assurance suite.
  • Is Offering Free International LD on Your Horizon?  Follow These Checkpoints by Hulya Altinsoy — Free is a magic word for consumers.  So how about adding free international long distance (LD) to your list of services?  While free international LD serivce is fraught with risk, the article presents a  5-point checklist to help get your bearings before you make the leap.  The article also presents an analysis of billions of minutes in international LD calls by U.S. wireless carriers.

Related Articles

  • Black Swan Guide: Araxxe’s Revenue Assurance Consulting, Testing, and High Definition Billing Analysis Service by Dan Baker — How Araxxe’s end-to-end revenue assurance complements switch-to-bill RA  through telescope RA (external and partner data) and microscope RA (high-definition analysis of complex services like bundling and digital services).
  • Subex’s IDcentral Monetizes Telco & Enterprise Data to Deliver Digital ID & Risk Metric Services for Financing, KYC & More interview with Shankar Roddam — A new digital intelligence service that monetizes the idle data of telecoms and enterprises while also earning a good return for the owner of the data.
  • Opportunities & Obstacles: Consultant Luke Taylor Muses on the State of the Telecom Risk Assurance Business interview with Luke Taylor — A rambling discussion on the state of the risk assurance business with Luke Taylor, independent consultant in telecom revenue/fraud assurance and solution requirements and marketing.
  • LATRO’s Tips for Launching a Successful Revenue & Fraud Assurance Program for Mobile Money Operations in Developing Countries interview with Don Reinhart — A company building mobile money RA/FM tools and  managed services gives a concise, but detailed tutorial on how the Mobile Money Ecosystem works.  Revenue assurance pros will get tips on  what to look for in analytics/assurance tools, controls, and professional services.
  • A WeDo Conference Talk: Consulting & Analytics: Improving your Business Today, Enhancing it Tomorrow interview with Carla Cardoso & Bernado Lucas & Thomas Steagall — Leading risk management consultants explain their mission and walk-through RA, subscription fraud, and collections cases.  They also explain how analytics and machine learning can supplement process optimization.
  • PrologMobile’s Simple and Brilliant Plan to Save US MNOs Billions a Year in Recovered Phones & Retained Customers interview with Seth Heine — An expert in the mobile phone reverse supply chain explains how MNOs — via a neutral third party information exchange — can recover their original phones on the used market and save huge sums in multi-year customer retention.
  • WeDo Explores the IoT Ecosystem in Search of Tomorrow’s Pivotal Fraud & Business Assurance Solutions interview with Carlos Marques — A veteran product manager scans the IoT terrain, discusses key fraud and assurance challenges, and explains the preparatory steps WeDo is taking to become a key player in this emerging market.
  • New Report: Telecom Fraud & Business Assurance Solutions, Services & Strategies by Dan Baker & Luke Taylor & Colin Yates — TRI publishes a new market research report, Telecom Fraud & Business Assurance Solutions, Services & Strategies.  Free executive summary available.
  • Subex Juggles a Wide Variety of Business Assurance and Big Data Analytics Use Cases interview with Rohit Maheshwari — A expert in business assurance solutions explains top use cases such as: IoT security, big data analytics/AI, network asset optimization, multi-player gaming assurance, onboarding mobile subs, and AI customer analytics.
  • MTN Agility: Mastering Exponential Technologies in Revenue/Fraud Assurance and Beyond interview with Danie Maritz & Tony Sani & Luke Taylor — An in-depth look at RAFM operations and innovation at the MTN Group.  Topics discussed include RA/fraud control challenges, strategies, and MTN’s journey to exploit exponential tech (AI, robotics, and ML) in its RAFM program and support of internal non-telco businesses.
  • From Byzantine Software Contracts to Simple & Flexible RA Managed Services interview with Philippe Orsini — Is the way B2B/enterprise software is sold and delivered today progressive — or is it Byzantine in the age of cloud?  An expert lays out the case for managed services in RA and billing verification.
  • Premiere Experts Set to Speak at Summer RAG Conference in London, July 7th and 8th by Dan Baker — The Risk and Assurance Group (RAG) has announced that its 2016 summer conference will expand into a two-day event and feature many premiere experts. 
  • WeDo Hosts Revenue Assurance & Fraud Management Conference in Washington DC by Dan Baker — Black Swan is pleased to announce what looks to be a first class revenue assurance and fraud management conference being put on by WeDo Technologies, on October 1st and 2nd in beautiful Washington DC.
  • Test Call Generators: An Essential Test & Debugging Tool in Mobile Billing Assurance interview with Steffen Öftring — An “active” test call generator (TCG) can see problems that a “passive” revenue assurance system is blind to.  Here’s a discussion on the test call RA  process, over-the-air calls versus core call injection, and test call networks in global roaming RA.
  • The Revenue Assurance Game: How the Rules Change in the Era of IoT & Mobile Broadband interview with Rene Felber & Gadi Solotorevsky — Revenue assurance is perhaps the hardest of telecom functions to define because the term is used in so many different senses.  This discussion on the evolving role of revenue assurance was catalyzed by a survey of experts in the profession.
  • Day in the Life of a Revenue Assurance Analyst interview with Michael Lazarou — Revenue assurance is much more than a software category.  It’s individual analysts struggling to help their larger organizations get a handle on system errors and coordination problems.  In this interview, an analyst reveals the many challenges of getting the revenue assurance job done at a small GSM operator in Europe.
  • Revenue Assurance: History and New Beginnings in RA Maturity interview with Daniela Giacomantonio & Gadi Solotorevsky — The Roman Forum was the center of commercial life in ancient Rome.  Now, two millennia later, the Forum lives on in the exchange of ideas across countless professions and  media.  In this interview, two Revenue Assurance experts discuss both the new RA Maturity initiative of the TM Forum and the value of telco/solution vendor collaboration.
  • Migrating systems or launching LTE next year?  Don‘t forget transformation assurance & optimisation by Efrat Nissimov — System transformations and network migrations are major  revenue impacting events and they should raise a big red flag.  Why?  Because data integrity issues are bound to crop up as CSPs move vital data from a legacy system to something new.  It’s time for transformation assurance.
  • How can Cable/DSL Internet Providers Meet the Usage-Based Billing Mandate? interview with Ryan Guthrie — The popularity of YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu other video outlets has turned the tables on service profitability for cable/DSL service providers.  Many are moving to usage-based billing, but that largely unprepared for the revenue assurance aspects of this move.  This interview explains the technical challenge and points to solutions in billing, speed caps, and traffic revenue monitoring.
  • CABS Revenue Assurance: How Rural LECs can Recover $284 Million in Revenue Shortfalls interview with Kelly Cannon & Darrell Merschak — Independent rural LECs in the U.S. still rely on the AMA/EMI billing formats for CABS billing, even as that format has proven to be highly inaccurate as a source of inter-carrier records.  This interview includes an analysis and discussion of revenue recovery techniques ILECs can use by leveraging SS7 probes.  Also discussed are billing strategies, traffic dumping threats, and the possible fallout from the FCC’s bill-and-keep mandate.
  • Make Business Assurance Progress Every Day: How to Set Goals, Automate, and Energize Your Team interview with Kathleen Romano — Business assurance (BA) skills have wide applicability outside the revenue assurance and fraud mangement domains.  In this article, a telecom executive explains how she’s applying her BA skills in the Payments area.  In addition to discussing the key operational challenges in Payments, the interview also provides keen insights on setting goals in business assurance, leading a team, and making critical decisions.
  • LTE Rollout: Make it a Smashing Success with Risk Assessment, Controls, and Marketing Offer Analytics by Gadi Solotorevsky — LTE brings splendid new capabilities to mobile users.  But like 2G and 3G deployments before, operators can only make money if they successfuly plan, coordinate, deploy fast, and pay attention to pricing plans and the customer experience.  This article lays out a 3-phase tactical guide on  how revenue analytics professionals can add value in LTE service risk assessment, controls, and marketing offer analytics.
  • RA Prevention: How to Manage Revenue Risks and Communicate RA’s Value to Senior Execs by Shaul Moav — The era of revenue assurance prevention and risk assessment is here.  Several of the mature operators of the world have developed their own methodologies and tools.  Using firefighting and fire prevention as a metaphor, the article details a new commercial software approach explaining the goals, method of risk evaluation, and senior executive dashboards developed for the process.
  • Precision Clockworks: How Revenue Assurance Synchronizes with the Business at Swisscom interview with Marco Pollinger — An expert revenue assurance department is one whose work dovetails well with the lines of businesses it supports.  In this interview you’ll learn how Swisscom manages its revenue assurance function for maximum effect.  The article discusses: the operator’s innovative RA organization, the screening and RA approval of new services, its pre-production bill audits, and its coordination with corporate risk management.
  • Versatile, Portable & Corrections-Savvy: Quest for the Swiss Army Knife of Revenue Assurance Software by Mark Yelland — Revenue assurance maturity models are not cast in stone.  Since  best practices will change over time, it’s healthy to explore moving maturity models forward.  For example, great gains have been made in leakage detection, but RA corrections has been harder to master.  The author dreams about seven functions that should ideally come together in a single all-purpose revenue assurance software tool.
  • Bringing Strategic Planning & Value Engineering to Revenue Assurance interview with Maged Fawzy — Engineering and architectural techniques have a role in revenue assurance.  This interview with a top Egyptian RA consultant explains how continuous risk assessment and long range — yet flexible — RA planning can sharpen a carrier’s RA program and lead to better use of revenue assurance software and integration services.
  • Forensic Fossils: Is Your Revenue Assurance Shop Fit for Display at a Natural History Museum? interview with Jim Marsh — Without the continuous guiding light of seasoned revenue assurance leaders, even the best teams of RA professionals, technology, and business processes can fossilize and lose their vitality.
  • Revenue Assurance: The Magical Market Cap Multiplier by Van Howard & Curtis Mills — Many operators today consider revenue assurance yesterday’s opportunity.  But this article shows why significant revenue and cost leakage can still go undetected, even in companies with dedicated RA departments.  Also discussed are the benefits of a broader or more “forensic” approach to revenue assurance, an approach that boosts the bottom line regardless of the automated tools already in place.
  • From Risk to Robust: Turning the Big Picture Into a Real Agenda for Change in Telecoms by Eric Priezkalns — Inspired by a Financial Times article written by Nassim Taleb, author of “The Black Swan”, here is an insightful and entertaining primer on telecom risk management.  The article takes ten risk management lessons from Taleb and applies them specifically to the communications industry.  You’ll learn about the value of small scale trials, organization accountability, cures for a blame culture, incentives that work, the power of simplicity, and more.
  • Synthesizing the Telecom Business Assurance Practice With the Analytics World by Dan Baker — Business assurance is a wrapper term that allows you to draw a circle around various telecom assurance, control, and optimization activities.  This article maps business assurance as a subset of telecom analytics, constrasting it with marketing analytics while a diagram shows where biz assurance fits in the larger B/OSS world.
  • CABS Revenue Assurance Disputes: May the Carrier With the Best Data Win by Cheryl Smith Rardin & David West — Revenue assurance innovation is far easier when partners cooperate to make it happen.  This articles shows how a U.S. operator, software vendor, and consultant teamed to develop a breakthrough in Carrier Access Billing (CABS) assurance.  Learn about: the dispute resolution data gap that needed to be filled, the partnering strategy, the implementation challenges, and payback results.
  • Revenue Assurance vs.  Business Assurance: Who’s the Rightful King of Controls Software? interview with Sergio Luis Silvestre — Business controls software, originally developed for RA, is finding application in other areas of the business such as internal audit, collections, security and risk management.  This article argues that “business assurance” is the best term to describe this broader set of  controls software that can find a home in numerous departments or functions of a CSP’s business.
  • PwC on the Business of Revenue Assurance Consulting & Mentoring interview with Tim Banks & Dan Stevens — Revenue assurance consulting firms offer a broad range of services to clients these days.  The article explains the practice of mentoring RA mangers and providing a CFO with visibility on the status of an operator’s business controls.  Perspective is also offered on the value of RA software and the opportunity to broaden the RA practice scope.
  • Robots for Hire: Verifying Accuracy In the Age of Complex Mobile Billing/Charging interview with Xavier Lesage — As real-time charging and complex lifestyle calling plans gain credence across the globe in wireless, billing quality issues will rise in importance.  This article discusses a unique managed services approach to invoice testing and roaming fraud protection that checks results against advertised or published source data for the utmost accuracy.
  • Ericsson: Revenue Assurance Consulting With an NGN Flavor interview with Thomas Steagall — Helping operators detect billing and provisioning problem is merely table stakes in the RA services business these days.  The article discuss why operators need to ramp up their RA function with service experience and group-wide financial health monitoring.  Advise is also offered on: key RA maturity questions, risk-and-reward contracts, and how to extract greater value from software investments.
  • Do-It-Yourself RA for Small Operators and MVNOs interview with Mark Yelland — Budget-minded small operators and MVNOs are no longer hamstrung in RA capability anymore.  This article offers high-leverage strategies for operators who cannot afford expensive RA software tools.  With  data access, brains, and a DIY philosophy, any small operator can map a  path to greater RA savings, maturity, and program growth.
  • Revenue Assurance Maturity: Report From the Arena interview with Eric Nelson — Revenue assurance maturity can‘t be easily computed.  How do you  compare the KPIs of Comcast billing with that of mobile money RA in Western Africa?  Even still, this article offers some universal RA wisdom from a straight-shooting veteran of carriers large and small.  Topics discussed include: dashboard or process, COTS vs. inhouse solutions, and tips on gaining internal support for the RA practice.