I have had the good fortune to attend three different WeDo Technologies' User Groups in recent years, and each time it is a new journey of discovery. There are always lots of things to uncover – new topics, case studies and ways to solve issues in day to day business life. All this and new ways of organising the event each year – it really is fascinating to attend.
Part of the event’s fascination is associated with the atmosphere that WeDo manages to foster, always leaving attendees with the impression of one big family getting together to share and learn from one another. And what continues to stand out to me is that WeDo’s objective for the event is not to try to sell to existing or prospective customers, but rather to foster an atmosphere that is conducive to building relationships and contacts amongst the attendees, giving them the opportunity to exchange experiences and information. It is clear that a lot of time and investment goes into the event, but it’s not done with financial motivation in mind - it’s to give attendees a sense of satisfaction. And that is something that is really special.
Indeed, knowing that I’ll meet people from a range of groups, rather than just the same Revenue Assurance (RA) and Fraud Management (FM) teams with the same problems and views that I meet throughout the year is something that is particularly satisfying to me. The User Group provides the opportunity to see and hear about a number of different visions and strategies from a number of different regions around the world, as well as offering a variety of perspectives on the revenue assurance and fraud management industry.
This year there are a couple of specific areas of interest that I am keen to discuss with my fellow participants. For example, the evolution of the RA and FM functions within a company from an organisational perspective, and how they are best positioned. Today, RA and FM departments are normally part of the finance team, but this can mean that, sometimes, CFOs don’t give it enough importance, interest or attention; and that doesn’t allow its successful operation.
Related to this is the issue of the relationship between audit and RA, or operations and control, and how the differing responsibilities can be successfully managed. Coming from an audit background, my personal belief is that it’s not possible for the two to be run together. The fact that an RA function is effectively auditing the accounting department, and that they sit under the same finance structure, represents a conflict of interest. I am looking forward to seeking the opinion of other experts in the RA space to understand their perspective on this, and how it works elsewhere. But most importantly, I am keen to learn how an RA department can become the strategic advisor of a company’s top management.
The second area that’s important for me to explore is related to fraud, which is a far more complex area than revenue assurance. We are seeing a lot of new cases that generate considerable loss, such as the margin reduction caused by the use of OTT apps such as Viber, WhatsApp or Skype. Although this may not be an instance of fraud as it is traditionally understood, we would like to learn from operators in other regions of the world to establish the measures we might be able to take to regulate this kind of consumption in the future.
Generally, it will be fascinating to hear about what other types of fraud are experienced in other markets and how they are dealt with. Moreover, this year it will be also be particularly interesting to hear about how RA and FM processes work in other industries, outside Telecoms. This will provide us as operators with a better idea of its opportunities and limitations.
So for all these reasons I am really looking forward to my trip to Lisbon this year and I sincerely hope that WeDo will continue in the same vein for the event for many years to come. I work with many suppliers and can see that the User Group is something truly exceptional. That’s why when we’re preparing our event budget each year it is the User Group that occupies first place.