The Manual Telecom Audit - Is it Dead? Part 1

A while back I wrote an article entitled "Did TEM Software Kill the Manual Telecom Audit?". I received several comments from long established manual auditors Peter Eisenhut and Denise Munro, both of whom I respect for their knowledge and long standing careers in the telecom auditing worlds. Both Peter and Denise didn't think the manual telecom audit was on its death bed so I thought I might spend time evaluating the telecom audit process and discussing where technology fits in to the time tested telecom auditing process. Since we all agree there is a need for an experienced telecom or wireless analyst/auditor to understand and interpret the data I thought it might be beneficial for us to take a look at how data is extracted from a telecom or wireless invoice and then entered into a software tool for evaluation.

As Denise stated, "A software tool is only as good as the information entered into it and maintained. There still has to be experienced, knowledgeable people interpreting and managing the information." And we would agree, however the key part of that statement is "only as good as the information into it", as an auditor how do you get information from invoices into the tool you use for telecom auditing?

The main point of my first article was that as a telecom auditor, either employed at a company, or as an independent, you no longer need to manually key in data from invoices. Using technology you can now extract the necessary data points and fields from paper, CD-ROM, Web downloaded, PDF, XML and EDI invoices with 100% accuracy. Here's an example:

We took a stopwatch and compared the time it took to extract data from a 700 page AT&T ABN multi-service, multi-location paper invoice both manually and using our proprietary software, algorithms, and methodologies. We were able to extract all of the data points necessary to audit the invoice in exactly 12 minutes with our automation and it took 135 minutes for the data to be keyed in manually.

If you could get the necessary data points from a telecom or wireless invoice into a tool to audit invoices in less than 1/10th the time, and the data was as accurate with both the manual process and the automated process wouldn't you choose the automated process? If not, what would hold you back from using automation to replace manual data entry?

We look forward to your comments.

The next post will discuss the some methods and tools for analyzing the data once it's been extracted from an invoice.