75% of operators improve ROI by automating revenue assurance and business assurance processes

Telecoms.com periodically invites expert third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Ashwin Menon, product head, business assurance at Subex, reviews the findings from a recent survey covering his segment.

Guest author

May 28, 2024

6 Min Read

As part of an ongoing effort to exploit the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution that is taking the telecom sector by storm, telcos are looking to harness this technology to explore, unlock, and deliver the potential of AI and machine learning (ML) within their Revenue Assurance and Business Assurance domains. For many operators this effort is hampered by post-5G era challenges, as well as an increasing awareness that long-term viability relies on delivering services to the enterprise sector. Success in delivering enterprise services, however, requires telcos to take an integrated approach to Revenue Assurance and Business Assurance functions.

Among one of the largest industry surveys conducted to enable technology readiness for Business Assurance, Subex gathered inputs from more than 200 professionals across 150 telcos worldwide. This survey explores how Revenue Assurance and Business Assurance functions in the telecom industry have matured, assesses the strategic deployment of AI and ML technologies and their impact on ROI, and gauges the readiness of telcos in light of upcoming technological shifts.

Using the TRACI (Technology Readiness for Assurance and Compliance Index) score, Subex evaluated operators’ readiness to tackle risks, assurance, and compliance challenges within their technology framework. The survey also gathered input to assess the effectiveness of automation and tools in meeting the demands of Revenue Assurance and Business Assurance, and provides telcos with a standardised metric for technological solution readiness, which aids operators in making informed decisions on adopting technology that aligns with their strategies and goals to enhance Business Assurance and effectively integrate AI/ML.

Central to the survey is the evolution of Revenue Assurance and Business Assurance functions, underscoring the crucial role of AI/ML and automation in enhancing operational efficiency and financial outcomes. It also tackles AI/ML adoption barriers and skill gaps, as well as serving as a tool to equip operators in optimising their operations to successfully navigate the ever-evolving technological landscape.

Expanding the scope of Revenue Assurance functions to Business Assurance

Business Assurance plays a pivotal role in advancing from Revenue Assurance to a holistic approach that enhances operational efficiency and financial outcomes. The correlation between Business Assurance processes and positive ROI perceptions underscores the significance of Business Assurance in driving business success, and the need for advanced skills and larger teams as technology maturity levels increase. To this end, 14 per cent of respondents have implemented a full-fledged Business Assurance, with 16 per cent implementing initial Business Assurance use cases, and 34 per cent planning to increase the scope of the Revenue Assurance function to Business Assurance.

As telcos climb the maturity ladder, the size of their workforce also increases. This expansion is primarily aimed at integrating digital transformation and ML skills for the comprehensive application of Business Assurance strategies. Survey results revealed that 40 per cent of respondents have a Revenue Assurance and Business Assurance team that is greater than 10, while only 7.5 per cent have a team size of less than two, indicating that these operators are in the early stages of Revenue Assurance development. Advancement in stage levels and its corresponding increase in team size helps telcos leverage advanced technologies to drive efficiency, innovation, and growth, as well as ensures that the operator is equipped to navigate the complexities of today’s business landscapes. This move not only signifies a commitment to staying ahead of the competition but also highlights the importance of specialised skills in achieving operational excellence and future-proofing the business.

Transforming Revenue Assurance and Business Assurance with AI/ML

AI/ML technologies are transformative, bolstering ROI perceptions by facilitating proactive risk management. However, challenges such as limited expertise and budget constraints hinder full AI/ML integration, emphasising the importance of investing in specialised skills to leverage the full potential of AI/ML. The survey revealed a demonstrative commitment to leveraging AI/ML to bolster assurance processes, however this progression relies heavily on the capabilities of in-house teams. While 45.5 per cent of respondents are in the experimentation and operationalising AI/ML stage, only 1 per cent fully utilise AI/ML capabilities for Revenue Assurance and fraud management (FM). Drawn from the 84 respondents that currently employ AI/ML in their Revenue Assurance and Business Assurance operations, seven focus areas emerged as critical use cases: anomaly detection, including traffic monitoring, churn prediction, customer experience management, campaign management, SIM box detection and device assurance, contract assurance, and margin assurance and product rationalisation.

The survey also revealed a correlation between the deployment of AI/ML technologies and ROI. Respondents satisfied with their ROI are significantly more likely to have integrated advanced AI/ML use cases, particularly for proactive risk management, with 60 per cent of this group leveraging such technologies. Conversely, among respondents who are either dissatisfied or uncertain about their ROI, a vast majority (82 per cent) have not yet embarked on their AI/ML journey. This disparity further highlights the importance of AI/ML deployment as a pivotal factor in shaping positive ROI. These insights emphasise the strategic value of AI/ML technologies in improving investments and fostering a favourable business impact assessment.

Shaping positive ROI perceptions

Survey results uncovered mixed perceptions of ROI resulting from their Business Assurance functions, with 58 per cent reporting a positive view of their ROI and 27 per cent expressing disappointing ROI perceptions. These scores directly correlate to operational inefficiencies, strategic misalignments, and outdated technology that lack automation or AI/ML. This underscores how leveraging such technologies can facilitate the transition from negative or uncertain perceptions to more confident and positive evaluations of ROI. In fact, 75 per cent of telcos attribute ROI improvements to increased automation, including incorporating AI/ML, process automation, and vendor-provided commercial off-the-shelf solutions. Additionally, these advancements enhance revenue leakage detection and recovery, lowering financial risk.

While Revenue Assurance targets usage-related anomalies, Business Assurance expands this process with a proactive, data-driven approach that integrates risk management to boost financial integrity and customer experience. Survey results found that 90 per cent of operators report ROI satisfaction after transitioning from traditional Revenue Assurance to comprehensive Business Assurance. This increase in satisfaction directly correlates with active engagement in Business Assurance processes.

For operators who reported poor or mediocre ROI perceptions, this rating was further compounded by a lack of digital skills within the workforce. However, 26.8 per cent of respondents are budgeting and prioritising the upskilling of their Revenue Assurance teams, demonstrating the importance of the specialised skills needed.

For telecom operators looking to optimise their Revenue Assurance and Business Assurance functions and successfully navigate today’s technological landscape, addressing AI/ML adoption barriers and proactively bridging skill gaps will be essential to achieving financial success and operational excellence.


Ashwin Menon, currently the Product Head of Business Assurance at Subex, joined the company in 2006 as part of the Revenue Assurance & Fraud Management Implementation team. Over the years, he has collaborated with cross-geographical teams, driving value discovery and creation for telecom operators in the Middle East, Africa, and APAC as a delivery SME and Business Solutions Consultant. Beyond his role at Subex, Ashwin has significantly contributed to the Revenue Assurance community through his work on popular blogs and co-authored publications on Revenue Assurance for Telecom Operators. He is a regular speaker at various industry events, focusing on Business Optimization.

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