Sunday, 13 December 2015

Digital Disruption and Economies of Scale

In the industrial revolution, mechanization and mass manufacturing achieved competitive advantage by concentrating production in large factories thus achieving economies of scale.

In Digital revolution the information technology providers concentrated the computing resources in large datacenters where land & power are cheap. Thus was born the cloud computing.

In Next level, the manufacturing is being disrupted by Digital Evolution of 3D printing and new business models around the CAD and 3D printing. Catching upon the long tail of manufacturing of one of custom product (N=1 R=G) and maintenance of products that does is obsolete and parts not available.

In Future, can we attain economies of scale by aggregating design and product technology knowhow, through a digital platform and creating new business models around it? For example, Recycling, Solar & Bio Power generation, organic Farming.

Why can't this disruptive model be extended to the online commerce? by creating the hybrid commerce model, can we not create a Digital Platform to achieve economies of scale and yet let's the corner shop be independent?

I am evangelising this idea with two startups I mentor, UVAPoint and Kheti Badi.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Yet Another Banking Innovation Blooper

I was happy to see Kotak Bank's one time use online card, though it's not a novel product; as HDFC had earlier had this product called NetSafe,  I used it quite extensively, as it worked fine, however a few months ago, it stopped working, and never came back online.

Since, I had used this kind of product and found it very handy, I tried to use it. The card was generated instantly and the limit money blocked promptly.

I attempted to use it on Big Basket checkout, but the card was refused by the payment gateway, PayU, I retried it after half an hour with the same result.

I then tried it with loading the wallet of Airtel Money, but this too failed as well!

I see a pattern here, of failed innovations in banking domain recently in India. see my previous blog on ICIC innovations.

My hypothesis on this fast paced failed innovation is that it is driven by panic setting in by multiple new licenses.

Anyways, with Tokenization support provided by NPCI Unified Payment API (UPI), will make it obsolete anyways.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Disconnected Sales and Delivery Process Costs

Airtel representatives, ever since they launched their 4G service in NCR, about 4 weeks ago,  has been calling me once or twice a week to ask if I wanted a free upgrade of their 4G SIM card. Every time I say yes, and they assure me after confirming my address and other details that it will reach me in 4 hours or sometimes they say 24 hours. But never happens!

Next call I get every time is asking if I got the 4G SIM delivered? I ask, do you have a proof of delivery from your logistics partner? Answer is "This we don't know".

And, the cycle repeats.

This indicates a broken process integration between the Customer Acquisition Lifecycle, where the sales process is disjoint from the  Logistics and Supply Chain.

Not only this costs Airtel money, lost in opportunity cost; But also Airtel Brand takes a hit every time it irritates a customer.

Lesson Learnt: Close the process loop between various functional lines of business. This can be achieved by creating a CX (Customer Experience) process that connects all the dots across the Lines of Businesses.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Jugaad Innovation and Design Thinking

I have been reading up on design thinking and Jugaad (frugal innovation) as practiced in India and elsewhere.

So, while internalizing and digesting the thoughts presented, as well as encountering countless Jugaad  innovation in my daily life, I tend to wonder how these two are linked with each other? or are they disjoint ideas, meant for different customer segments?

The common perception I first got from my colleagues was that Jugaad belonged to the Bottom of the  Pyramid while Design Thinking applied to Top and Mid of The Pyramid (I am using the Late Prof. CK Prahalad's  paradigm here).

But today this hypothesis was disproved by a carpenter today !

This weekend, a carpenter came to do minor repairs in my house. One of the wardrobes handles had come out and needed a replacement. He convinced by wife, that he will come back "next week" (which never happens); But he will do a Jugaad for now!   The "Jugaad" word triggered my interest and putting my kindle down, I tuned into the what and how he may make it work?

After about 5 minutes of deliberation he replaced the broken handle with a piece of string tied between two nails to create a make shift "handle". It serves it's purpose, and since it was not visible from outside the wardrobe, my better half was pacified, and also I was happy as it saved me a trip to local hardware store. Now she can order a handle at leisure on-line.

So what was happening here? I could map his deliberation to Idealization process of Design Thinking, and  his Jugaad as a Rapid Prototype.

Today, I learned from the carpenter that Jugaad and Design Thinking can be mapped.

Jugaad or frugal innovation, can be thought as a functional rapid prototype .


Jugaad Innovation: A frugal and flexible approach to innovation for the 21st century
by Navi et. al.

Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation: What They Can't Teach You at Business or Design School. By Idris Mootee

Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits.
By CK Prahalad

Friday, 6 March 2015

ICICI Bank Needs to Fix it's Innovation Engine

Fast paced innovation is unheard of in the conventional banking domain. Yet, ICICI is an outlier in the banking and payment innovation space. It has been a front runner in Social Payments innovations as well.

ICICI had launched it's Facebook enabled social saving products, iWish, where friends can pitch in some money to help you meet a goal faster. This was more than one year before RBI issued Social Commerce guidelines in Nov 2014.

Earlier it had a launched card-less ATM money withdrawal.

Recently, it paced up it's innovations in order to compete with it's peers and smaller banks. Here is when I started facing #CX , Customer Experience, issues.

First it's IMPS integration with National USSD Gateway, accessible from any mobile operator through, *99#, was flawed and could never get it to work even after escalating to my Relationship Manager of Privileged Banking Account.

Then, it launched it's Mobile Banking, I could not get it to work on any of my 5 Android devices, including 2 tablets and 3 phones of various versions. It's TOTP (Timed One Time Password) App also did not work.

Recently it launched Twitter Money Transfer, I was very excited, and tried to transfer a small amount; but I could not get the convoluted process to work, even after multiple SR (Service Request) and calling up my relationship manager multiple times I gave up.

Finally, last week, it was the last straw on the camel's back, (Camel being the metaphor of the brand image here), it launched the Mobile Money Transfer App, called "Pockets". I tried it out and after lot of struggle I gave up on it as well.

So, I conclude that while fast paced innovation in banking and payments market place is necessary for maintaining it's leadership, it should re-look into it's innovation process itself. It must avoid flops by rigorously testing the apps and social integrations before bringing and advertising it aggressively.  
As for me, I am moving away from ICICI bank, and have moved my e-commerce transactions to HDFC bank. Opened a Kotak Bank account for moving out of this messy apps.

 #CX, #CXGotcha, #PAYMENTS

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Indian Payment Trends I Expect to Unfold in 2015

Indian Payments marketplace trends will be segment dependent. I have borrowed upon CK Prahalad's Pyramid model, while thinking about market segments.

Top of the Pyramid

At the Top of the Pyramid segment, it will be social commerce, for example Oxicash and ICICI are already providing transactions support over the social networks, others like EKO will be launching their respective products.

The CX (Customer Experience) of Social Commerce will improve.

Middle of the Pyramid

NFC based smart card prepaid wallets will be more popular with the middle of the pyramid. Currently the prepaid smart cards are not inter-operable in India, even though the standards and regulations are in place, the B2B relationships are in search of a robust business model. Recently, I heard about a NFC enabled ICICI Debit cards being co-branded with Delhi Metro, so that it can be used for a seamless travel experience in Metro.

Bottom of the Pyramid

For bottom of the Pyramid it will be card less ATM cash withdrawal, and Aadhar linked no frills accounts that can be transacted using a feature phone using National USSD Payments Gateway.

I wish for a better financially included India in the year 2015.

How ICICI Bank Looses e-Commerce Transactions

Today, ICICI Bank lost an opportunity to fulfill a payment for my evening shopping at Snapdeal.

 I saw a really good deal, with 80% off and decided to go for it. While checking out, I selected the Internet Banking payment option and choose ICICI Bank. However, after the first factor authentication, it's risk profile software, somehow decided to send me a SMS OTP (One Time Password)  on my registered number, which happens to be a prepaid Airtel mobile. Being the end of the year, with SMS traffic on it's peak, the SMS failed to reach me on time and the transaction timed out.

Fortunately, Snapdeal did not loose the transaction, and I could re-order from the shopping cart. I eventually had to pay by my virtual Visa Card.

A few lessons I learned from the CX (Customer Experience) :

  • It's a good idea not to empty the shopping cart before the transaction is fulfilled. I remember, Flipkart cleaned the cart out in past and I lost the full cart.
  • Banks should use more intelligent risk profiling, for example, I had logged into my ICICI Bank account about 15 minutes ago, using the same, IP, browser and the machine. If ICICI had taken a note of it, it could have avoided sending me an OTP and for second factor could have used the  usual means of debit card matrix. 
  • Be aware that SMS is not reliable, so either use USSD or send a backup OTP by mail. HDFC and Amex do this.
  • Having a mobile wallet would make immense sense for e-commerce sites. Flipkart has it.