Monday, June 14, 2010

Revenue Assurance: Verifying Integrity with Integrity

This is a hard post to begin. I feel very comfortable suggesting that Consensus is the political platform of RA, and that Rationality is the mindset of RA (a sensibility of sense, if you will), but as I think about how integrity relates to the revenue assurance professional, I find myself perplexed. Integrity is about being trustworthy, accurate, and dependable. It means doing what you say you are going to do, and being honest in all actions and relationships.

This is not simply another component of the RA heart, mind, or soul, it isn’t just another piece of the revenue assurance personality. It is bigger and yet at the same time more elemental. To me, it is difficult to classify this principle because it is fundamentally built into every aspect of revenue assurance. Both in character and in their role, the RA practitioner’s main function is to assure integrity (of systems, of revenues received, through lines of business), and do that with integrity. So it’s no wonder that this concept is hard to describe, it is so interwoven into the heart of all things Revenue Assurance, that to try to separate it into its own compartment is near impossible.

The wording of the Principle of Integrity for 2011 is:

“All revenue assurance activities are to be performed with a primary focus on the integrity of the activities performed.”

Unlike the first two (consensus and rationality), this principle does not provide clear directions. Consensus explains itself – use cooperation to solve problems, as does rationality – make sure you will recover more risk/leakage then the amount of resources you spend doing the recovery. But all Integrity says is behave with integrity….what does that mean?

The 2011 GRAPA Principles offer the following suggestions:

Integrity – Organizational: manage all relationships with management and operational teams with integrity. This means that all communication will be as accurate, clear and dependable as possible.

Integrity - Identification and Quantification of Risk: deliver estimates of risk and leakage that are as accurate, fair and realistic as possible.

Integrity - Assessment of Domains as “In Scope”: any domain declared to be “in scope” will be assured based upon a comprehensive forensic assessment of the area and an accurate appraisal of the actual risks discovered.

Integrity - Reporting of Compliance: provide management with accurate reporting of how well implemented controls, corrections, and forensics are being managed.

Integrity - Technical Knowledge: understand the technology and be able to make informed appraisals of capabilities and risk (or have resources available to draw these conclusions).

I certainly agree with all of these as methods of maintaining professional integrity in the Revenue Assurance role. Especially since at the core, the Revenue Assurance job is all about identifying, quantifying, and reporting risk, there needs to be an ethical standard of integrity that guides all three of these processes in order for RA to have any meaning.

However, I think there is still more to it. There is still something being missed about the importance or pervasiveness of integrity that is not being captured by the current wording of Principle. So of course, I will turn this discussion to the community for comments. What does integrity mean to you in your current role? Does it describe how you do your job? How you interact with others? Where else do you act with integrity that is not already included in the GRAPA principle?

This is a community standard about what it means to do and to be Revenue Assurance, and I think this is one of the principles that will be most enhanced by a group discussion. I am, as always, curious to hear your feedback.

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