Grant Merrill’s Answers to Questions about His ‘Analytics, Assurance and Risk in CenturyLink’ Presentation at RAG Toronto 2019

How important is it to bring in outside knowledge?

This depends. I prefer to promote from within but if we’re implementing a new paradigm it always a good idea to bring in a consultant who has done it before.

Is assurance or technical skill more important when recruiting?

This has to be evaluated within the team context. If you are filling a vacancy on a team with a lot of technical talent you may want to bring in someone with a deeper telecom or product background and vice versa. Regardless, I prefer everyone on the team is constantly working to improve their technical, leadership, and telecom skills.

How are you calculating percentage of revenue covered?

This is a simple formula. The key is to be able to pivot on attribution such as order entry system, product, billing system, and defect classification schema to provide insights on the best approach for priority.

((count of defects covered)/(count of total defects possible)) * Revenue

Is the text mining for vendor contracts or sales contracts for services offered to corporate clients?

Yes. All of our data is available for other teams. We only ask they take time to understand how to use it and we work together to validate any conflicting reporting.

Do you perform Margin Assurance at the customer, account and product levels?


Has a company wide culture change to ‘squeeze’ been painful?

No – I think it’s actually been energizing for our team. We don’t look at is as a “squeeze”. We look at our EBITDA Margin goals as the natural evolution of our workforce and an opportunity to learn new technologies and refine our skills.

You want to be best – but how can you tell how you compare to equivalent teams in other operators?

I can’t. I look at our style of competition like musicians. We aim to be the best in our craft, not to create win/lose situations with our peers in the industry.