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RevenueAssurance Handbook Web

RevenueAssurance Handbook Web

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Telco Revenue Assurance Handbook by Rob Matthison
Telco Revenue Assurance Handbook by Rob Matthison

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Published by: juliuscarsienly on Apr 08, 2008
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The bill-cycle audit is probably the most common and frequently
run type of audit. Because billing cycles tend to be the busiest and
most error-prone of any telecommunications operation, telcos have
come to realize that some kind of audit is required after each bill cy-
cle.

The exact nature and details of bill-cycle audits will vary from one
telco to the next based on the most problematic areas. In general,

Audit Architecture

NetworkMediationPost Paid

BillingPre Paid
Revenue

Collections

NetworkMediationPostpaid
Billing

Prepaid
Revenue

Roaming
Settlement

CollectionsDunning

(Auditing Activity )

User Interface Layer: Screens and Applications

Data Post Preparation and Application Logic Layer

Data Storage Layer

Access, Extract, Transform, and Load Layer

Operational Systems

Inter-carrier
Settlement

Figure 5.4.9 Audit architecture

eXcellence in Telecommunications

Section 5 : Chapter 4

311

however, a large amount of bill-cycle auditing capability is built
into the billing system software and is a standard part of billing op-
erations.

These billing-cycle audits include:

1. Checking the totals at the beginning and end of each cycle
2. Checking the totals of the run against totals from a history
of these same runs in other months (looking for discrepan-
cies)
3. Checking on the:
a. Number of customers billed versus number of custom-
ers in a cycle
b. Number of CDRs in versus CDRs out
c. Number of minutes in versus minutes out
d. Total minutes and revenue for the cycle run versus a
historical analysis of past actions
4. Checking suspended records and determining why they
were suspended
5. Re-running the billing cycle (called re-rating) to get sus-
pended records into the run

Data Storage Layer

Access, Extract, Transform and Load Layer

Data Storage Layer

Billing
System

Mediation

System

Network
Mgmt
System

Network
Extraction

Billing
Extraction

Network
Data
Storage

Billing
Data
Storage

Mediation
Extraction

Mediation
Data
Storage

Inter-

-

connect
System

Roaming
System

IN
System

IN
Extraction

Inter -
connect
Extraction

IN
Data
Storage

Interconnect
Data
Storage

Roaming
Extraction

Roaming
Data
Storage

Col-

-

lections
System

Dunning
System

Col-
lections
Extraction

Dunning

Extraction

Collection
Data
Storage

Dunning
Data
Storage

Order
Mgmt
System

Other

Systems

Order
Mgmt
Extr.

Other
Extraction

Other
Data
Storage

Order
Data
Storage

Network
Reconciliation
Data

Service Order
Reconciliation
Data

Provisioning
Reconciliation
Data

Audit
Work
Area

Services
Reconciliation
Data

Customer
Reconciliation
Data

Figure 5.4.10 Audit work area

The Telco Revenue Assurance Handbook

312

The bill-cycle audit consists mostly of operations within the billing
system (bypassing the other layers of the revenue assurance archi-
tecture), except where work areas can add some value.

A comprehensive billing audit investigates the characteristics of a
particular run as well as the integrity and coordination between re-
lated systems.

BILLING SYSTEM

Customer
Account
Management

Rating
and
Usage

Invoice
Generation
Process

Accounts
Receivable
Mgmt

Order Mgmt
Process

-New Orders
-Change Orders

Network
Operations

MACD
(modify, activate,
change, delete)

Traffic
Management

-CDR generation
-CDR modification

Invoicing

-Printing
-Posting
-Returns

Collections

- Payments
-Adjustments

2

1

4

5

3

6

7

10

8

9

Billing Process Audit Points

Figure 5.4.11 Billing process audit points

Configuration Audits

Customer

Billing, HLR, Switch, Collections, Order Management,
CRM , Call Center ...

Product

Billing, Prepaid, Interconnect, Roaming, Network Reference

Network Configuration

HLR, VLR, Switch, Routing Tables, Network Inventory

Figure 5.4.12 Configuration audits

eXcellence in Telecommunications

Section 5 : Chapter 4

313

Configuration Audits

The configuration audit is probably the most critical activity for
preventing leakage. Configuration audits help auditors identify situ-
ations where leakage will likely occur without corrective action. For
the most part, configuration audits are conducted using the reconcil-
iation technique.

The most important configuration audits are in the customer, prod-
uct and network configuration areas.

For example, to verify that a customer’s phone number, status and
product authorizations are the same in the billing system and in the
network, one would pull all the appropriate customer data from the
billing system and the HLR and then run a comparison program or
SQL command to prove it.

Any discrepancy between these two indicates a problem that needs
to be rectified.

A “synchronization system” is the system that formalizes the pro-
cess of synchronizing configuration information.

Event Audits

Major Types

•New Product
•Network Change
•New Rate Plan
•New Carrier Partner Network

Major Activities

•Trace
•Test Call
•Configuration Verification
•Bill Cycle Audit

Figure 5.4.14 Event audits

The Telco Revenue Assurance Handbook

314

Event Audits

Most organizations use event-triggered audits to assure that major
changes in the system do not create havoc for revenue assurance
and billing activities. These audits are necessary whenever a major
change is made to the network or partner relationships, or whenever
new products or rate plans are created. It is critical that the organiza-
tion have some assurance that these new configurations:

a. Are not going to interfere with revenue generation activi-
ties that are working now
b. Accurately capture and reflect the new revenues associated
with the changes made

To do this, the revenue assurance organization typically creates an ex-
tensive list of activities associated with the approval of the changes.

Event-audit assurance will include:

1. Verification that all the entries in all the related reference
tables are correct (i.e. be sure rate plans are properly en-
tered)
2. Verification that each system knows how to process the re-
cords
3. Running of test calls followed by trace audits to verify the
end-to-end process is running as expected.

Like the configuration audits, event audits are a powerful leakage
prevention tool.

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