Source Data & Real-Time Data
TRI: What data feeds are critical for your Revenue Assurance operation? And what are your processing requirements?
Romano: Sometimes I have fights with my IT organization about data. IT wants me to take data out of the data warehouse, but that's not good enough for me.
You see, I want the real, un-filtered data. I don't want data that's been modified in any way. If someone has purified a record in some way, some of the things being filtered out are exactly what I'm looking for.
When you've got detailed data, it tells a story by itself. When you start playing with the data, you start to understand what's going on.
And our demand for more data and more processing of data is going to increase.
For instance, going forward, we need to understand customer profitability at all levels, and we need to know the profitability of each component in the bundle a customer buys.
I manage all our content payments for TV and we have thresholds in those contracts. Optimally we should have data that is real-time enough for us to say, OK, we're coming near the threshold, so for a particular customer set, let's go ahead and promote this particular product so when we reach that threshold we earn a lower rate.
That's one of the goals of business optimization, a further enhancement of the revenue assurance discipline.
To get to that level means we'll need to manage very large volumes of data. And that's going to be a challenge.
TRI: How much of the data you act on is fresh -- or from real-time sources?
Romano: You can bet that certain monthly reports such as journal entries go into the systems monthly, but most correlations are made daily, sometimes weekly.
The vast majority of errors are generated out of ordering, so we focus a lot of attention there and are eager to get our ordering checks as real-time as possible.
Even still, we've made great progress in the past few years. For my FiOS customers, I know what's happening in the ordering stream for TV. I know what the status is of their FiOS internet order. I can see the ordering stream for VoIP service. And I know if they received their bundled discount or not. On the video side, I know if pay per view and video on demand have been billed correctly or not.
If they've ordered content, I reconcile to every one of the third parties that provide content. Also, in the near future, I expect to be able to tell you what our margins are on that content.