142 billion dollars.
That’s the unrealized cost of revenue assurance and fraud management (RAFM) solutions to communication service providers (CSPs) according to a groundbreaking 2020 report by the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG).
This remarkable revenue leakage reflects a landscape of significant financial pressure for communication service providers, and one in which they lost an estimated USD44 billion to fraud alone in 2020. Revenue assurance in telecom operators is clearly a significant business priority.
These challenges are not unique to the telecoms industry. Sectors stretching from finance through to oil and gas face significant challenges of revenue leakage and fraud. Addressing that challenge requires a proactive approach to revenue assurance that tackles potential losses before they occur, ensuring that operators, and their customers, are protected from significant financial hardship.
A proactive approach to preventing revenue leakage
At Neural Technologies we have over 30 years’ experience preventing revenue losses for customers around the world. Our experience teaches us a clear lesson — preventing revenue from being lost due to fraud or poor operational practice is a far more effective option for businesses than scrambling to reactively claw back revenue lost to inefficiency or fraud.
The comparisons for effective revenue assurance are clear. If we knew there was a leak in our boat, the best course of action would be to plug that leak before we start taking on water. A revenue protection strategy that only tackles fraud or leakage after it has happened would be like accepting a hole in the hull, and simply trying to pump out the water frantically as it fills. That’s a strategy that will in all probability lead to a sinking ship.
A truly effective revenue assurance and fraud management solution goes beyond simple plugging a gap however. Neural Technologies’ advanced platform approach leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions to provide an effective and constantly-improving barrier against fraud.
To go back to our sailing analogy, it’s about making a stronger hull that’s far harder for threats to penetrate. By leveraging the sophisticated solutions of machine learning, we even allow the ship to adapt and identify evolving threats as they emerge, rather than waiting until it’s too late.
Adapting to stormy seas
It’s clear that businesses are increasingly aware of the importance of a proactive revenue assurance solution. We see this in our own discussions with customers in the telecoms industry and beyond.
A 2020 survey by TM Forum revealed that more than 80% of telecoms operators were familiar with the agreed definition of business assurance, which it defines as “integrates assurance and risk management disciplines into an overall proactive data-centric assurance framework, with the goal of continuously protecting and improving financial integrity, while enhancing business value and customer experience.” Those are principles that echo the priorities of Neural Technologies’ own data-driven revenue protection solutions.
What’s heartening to see is that action goes beyond just industry awareness, with more than 50% of respondents to the TM Forum study having established, or planning to establish, at business assurance division. The writers of the study also highlight the importance of automation and advanced AI/ML solutions, something we’ve long recognized at Neural Technologies.
There’s clearly some path yet to travel to comprehensive revenue assurance across the telecoms industry. An earlier 2018 report by TM Forum reveals just 52% of companies’ revenues are covered, and automation remains under-utilized in the industry. Just four out of ten identified revenue assurance incidents are prevented, showing a gap that must be bridged before a truly proactive solution is reached. Operators are still pumping out water while attempting to plug holes in the boat.
What’s also clear from our own work, and studies by the likes of RAG and TM Forum, is that revenue assurance maturity in the industry is growing. Not only are solutions providers like Neural Technologies delivering increasingly powerful answers to the challenges that the industry faces, the industry itself is increasingly recognizing the value of such solutions.
When we talk about revenue assurance, it’s important that we frame this discussion in the right way. We must focus on the idea of these solutions as ways to prevent revenue leakage and eliminate revenue assurance incidents before they impact customers, or indeed the business itself. That’s the only way to deliver a truly robust solution, ensuring that vulnerabilities are identified, losses prevented, and truly proactive revenue assurance solutions are enabled that ensure plain sailing for our enterprises and our customers.