Monthly Archives

March 2017

    shutterstock_132888524

    India witnessed a one of its kind phenomenon on the night of 8th November when the Government of India banned Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currencies and provided the citizens of India time limit to deposit old currencies in their bank accounts. This was done as a desperate step to curb the parallel economy of India, which was plaguing the growth of the fastest growing economy of the world. This phenomenon has been named as Demonetization.

    Impact of demonetization

    Demonetization will have significant impact across various factors in India. To start with, business structures will change because with demonetization, India is making the move from a cash based economy to a cashless economy. Secondly, GDP and tax collection will rise significantly due to increase in tax collections. This in turn will help the Government increase spending in essential sectors, thus increasing the standard of living of the under-privileged.

    Mobile Payment Service Providers – the gainers in demonetization

    Demonetization, although has been criticised at various quarters across the country, gave fuel to mobile ecosystems. Mobile payments were the saviour in the time when citizens found themselves paralyzed without any cash in hand and ATMs ran without cash.

    Mobile payment or mobile wallets are digital wallets, supporting a wide range of payment option so that consumers can make purchases and transfers easily. During the time of demonetization, mobile payment witnessed a un-parallel spurt in usage, which reached as high as a 435% rise.

    Mobile payment solutions are the right vehicle for a smooth transition from a cash based economy to an app based economy. This, in turn, matches with the wider goal of India of becoming a digitized country. Mobile wallet users can transact instantly for purchases, transfers, etc. making transactions extremely easy. With mobile payments, users do not need to stand in long queues in cash counters and ATMs, a convenience appreciated by customers and businesses alike.

    Mobile wallets has led to a reform in the banking sector as well, leading to a record increase in digital transactions. Needless to say, now banks can save on manpower for handling cash due to a reduction in footfall in bank branches. Businesses benefit as well, since the risk of handling cash is minimized, thanks to mobile wallets.

    the-role-of-mobile-payment-technologies-info

    Mobile payment companies have capitalized the demonetization drive successfully. They have invested millions to ensure their operations and platforms are accessible from anywhere. Thus, from auto-rickshaws to street vendors, everyone has used mobile wallets successfully.

    UPI is going to be a game changer in the coming years. It is the payment process by which mobile wallet customers can transfer money from their bank accounts to merchants and also receive payments without disclosing banking information. Seamless and low transaction times are the main reasons why UPI is gaining popularity day by day. Soon, UPI will extend to merchant transactions as well.

    Some interesting facts

    Let us now look at some interesting facts regarding mobile wallets. According to official data, Paytm has registered 32.5 lakh transactions every day in the mobile wallet segment alone. If we consider non-wallets transactions as well, the total number of transactions will be more than 50lakhs amounting to more than Rs 100 crore a day. Similarly, transactions on FreeCharge rose by nine times and MobiKwik rose by 18 times post demonetization.

    The mobile wallet provider Oxygen Services registered transactions worth Rs 600 Crore in November 2016 alone compared to Rs 450 Crore a month in the previous month. Most of these transactions were peer to peer payments.

    As discussed above, UPI is about to be a game changer in the mobile payment technology stage. Currently, 28 banks participate in UPI, which is going to increase in the coming days. As per RBI data before demonetization, the number of POS machines at merchant locations was approximately 1,461,672. However, post demonetization, this number has increased manifold, in some cases, as high as 500%.

    Demonetization is the stepping stone of the Indian economy into becoming a world superpower. Most of the developed economies of the world are already digitized and cashless. However, in most cases, they moved from paper money to plastic money and then to digital money. However, in the case of India, the interim stage of plastic money has been completely skipped and the economy moved from paper money to digital wallets. The importance of mobile payment technologies is going to gain momentum in the future. It has been estimated that the value of transactions through mobile wallets is going to leap from Rs 5500 Crore in 2015-16 to Rs 30,000 Crore by 2022. The innovations in this space will be worth watching out for in the coming years.

    March 29, 2017 0 comment
    0 Facebook Twitter Tumblr Pinterest
    best-practices-to-ensure-quality-and-on-time-deliveries

    Bridging the gap between expectations and actualization requires a streamlined process and a well-defined strategy. A structured approach aided by established processes is the key to deliver consistent, quality and on-time products. These pre-listed steps not only act as a checklist but a framework for the team to use repeatedly. This is expected to help the team to come up with predictable results. In the long run, benefits in terms of reduced number of development-related iterations and the defects reported from both from the field and during the software development lifecycle results in stable products and faster deliveries.So, is there a defined set of practices aimed at developing and delivering an “ideal” product? For the sake of simplicity, “ideal” in this context would meanindustry benchmarked, reusable and configurable; easy to deploy and meeting customer expectations. The list is, needless to say, never-ending.

    In this context, I have thus listed a few best practices that, in my opinion, can ensure the product meets and exceeds the customer’s expectations.

    ANALYZING REQUIREMENTS

    Thoroughly gauge and understand all requirements pertaining to the product. Focus not only on the explicit but also the implicit requirements. Gather not only functional requirements but also the non-functional ones.

    BE MINDFUL OF CHANGE

    Analyse and identify the areas of change. Do not just focus on that particular component but evaluate the potential impact on the complete system.

    DESIGN AND REVIEW

    Understand the importance of detailed product design and evaluate different options to obtain the best possible solution. Keep in mind that most of the products fail due to bad design. Concentrate on developing a scalable architecture.

    COMPREHENSIVE CODING

    Develop codethat compliesto the organization’s coding standards. Focus on building reusable components and developing easy to configure products. This not only reduces development time but also makes the testing less time consuming. Get the code reviewed and incorporate the feedback.

    TESTING AND VERIFICATION

    Follow a thorough routine of functional, integration, regression and load testing. Verify the transactions/logs after testing process. Focus on testing automation to reduce time required for testing repeated releases. Test automation may take time once, but saves considerable time going forward.

    RELEASE TAGGING

    Appropriately tag the releases to avoid any ambiguities

    ADOPTION OF ENGINEERING TOOLS

    Use some best available tools for testing and delivery of quality product.

    Today there are many open source plug-ins and tools are available to make the development faster, do the static code analysis on the fly while coding, dynamic code analysis, test automation, testing and continues integration and deployment.

    For quick reference some of the tools that I have used and found extremely includes SonarQube for static analysis, jstack, valgrind, jmap, jprofiler for dynamic analysis, JUnit , TestNG for testing, Sahi, Selenium, TestComplete for Test automation, Jenkins, Travis CI for continuous integration, ansible for continuous deployment. The list is endless but the objective to mention some of the tools are to make readers understand the importance that some of these tools bring to the product quality and faster product development and delivery.

    Net, net, it isn’t easy for organizations to deliver consistently good quality products but at the same time, there exist best practices that if adopted can make a big difference. The only thing is to keep working on them even if it requires someone to go extra miles in terms of putting effort, energy & time or pushing the environment to challenge the status-quo to change the existing mind-set.It only needs discipline!

    March 29, 2017 0 comment
    0 Facebook Twitter Tumblr Pinterest
    iStock_000027165427_Double

    Customer expectation is the main thing driving all types of industry today. Thanks to the digital world, information is now available on real time basis. One service failure in one part of the world can blow up and soon people from across the globe can get to know about it. Signing up a customer is difficult and time-consuming, however, losing a customer is not. One misbehaviour or one system failure and a business can see painstakingly acquired customer leaving the system and joining a competitor.

    This is where understanding customer churn becomes extremely important. Knowing what is customer churn and how the same affects a business can be crucial in finding out gaps and loopholes in a system. Analysing churn can help the management understand the system better and take corrective actions.

    Churn analysis and customer experience management

    Customer Experience Management is now the key to achieving a distinctive competitive advantage. In fact, it is one of the most important ways to keep up to the competition. One of the best ways to under customer experience management is by analyzing and understanding what churn is.

    It has been estimated that about 96 per cent of ‘unhappy customers’ do not complain about why they are unhappy and simply move away. Out of these, 91 per cent do not return.  Hence, managing the customer experience is crucial when it comes to managing churn. This is a very important problem, especially for the telecom industry where there are innumerable competitors and switching between service providers are easy. In most cases switchers don’t complain or provide reasons for switching and hence service providers remain unaware why customers move away.

    This is where churn analysis comes extremely useful. Churn analysis helps businesses prepare subscriber profiles and various predictive models through which churn triggers can be identified. Thus, service providers can take various remedial measures like starting discounts and offers to retain customers, managing any service delivery gaps to reduce churn and improving on the overall customer experience.

    Managing churn and improving on customer experience management is a winner for getting a competitive advantage. Analyzing churn helps a business to understand customer behavior better and thus deliver services which in turn will ensure churn is managed effectively.

    March 27, 2017 0 comment
    0 Facebook Twitter Tumblr Pinterest
    shutterstock_133636589

    Components

    There are several features which make call management systems an indispensable part of any business. They are:

    Auto Attendant:

    This is the most indispensable part of a business call management system. It greets the caller, provides them with a list of alternatives that they can choose from and directs them to the correct person or department. It is said that the first impression is the best impression, and this auto attendant is what helps a business make an effective first impression.

    Automatic call forwarding:

    Through this feature, incoming calls are redirected through a series of alternative devices till they are answered or go into a voicemail box. The biggest advantage is that the chain of forwarding calls depend on the business and the organization can decide who will receive them.

    Voicemail to email transcription:

    This is a system which saves the time of listening to voicemails by converting voicemails into emails. The good thing is, once converted to e-mail, it can help someone catch up with pending work on the go. It improves business accessibility to a great extent.

    Call Management options:

    A call management system comes with various call management options like monitor, barge, record, caller identification, etc. Monitor helps senior management to keep a tab on conversations going on, through barge, people can interject into a conference call if need be. All calls going through the call management system can be recorded for future reference. Caller identifications helps businesses identify the source of the call. All these are crucial in the successful operation of a business.

    Conference Calling:

    Most telephone management system entail a conference calling facility through which innumerable users can speak to each other simultaneously irrespective of their geographic location. Thus, operating businesses across the globe becomes easier.

    why-call-management-services-should-be-a-part-of-telephone-system

    Advantages

    While call management systems have a number of advantages, here are a few listed below:

    Efficient Cost Management:

    If one considers the cost of purchasing a call management service vis-à-vis hiring manpower for handling multiple lines, call management service will always prove to be cheaper. Not only is the one time cost lesser, the monthly phone bills will also come down.

    Support to business:

    A call management system provides professional business support. Moreover, a call management system entails user support which helps resolve any query or issues while performing day to day business.

    Recording and Reporting:

    A call management system enables a business to record a call and report it efficiently. This has long term advantages especially in times of a lawsuit or civil case where old call recordings might have to be replayed. This helps in fraud detection as well.

    Integration with other devices:

    Today’s sophisticated call management systems integrate various other devices including mobiles and tabs so that an all inclusive call management can be achieved by the business.

    Today, having an effective call management system is not just beneficial but necessary for running a business successfully. Businesses which do not employ call management system will find them at a loss in future especially since business environment is getting complicated day by day.

    March 21, 2017 0 comment
    0 Facebook Twitter Tumblr Pinterest
    shutterstock_125751383

    Mobile Paymentis the saviour, which helped millions of citizens of India in the face of demonetization. When citizens found themselves stranded with old currencies and ATMs ran out of cash, they had no other option but to resort to mobile payment to help them out. Naturally, the usage and popularity of mobile payment rose sky high.

    In this article, we will explain how mobile payment has performed in India and what how the banking sector has helped its growth.

    Situation of Mobile Payment in India

    India has about 929 million mobile phone subscribers, the second largest market in the world. Out of this, 45% subscribers are from rural segments. Therefore, the scope of mobile payments is enormous in India.

    India has a vast unbanked population, most of whom stay in the rural areas. Currently, the estimated unbanked population of India is 40%. Most of these areas are so remote that the banking system cannot reach there. However, the fact that these people use mobiles is a great way to connect them to the banking services. And this is exactly where mobile payment has been playing an important role. Mobile payment is a good option to cash. Since inception, mobile paymenthas helped these people get access to the basic financial services that they have the right to. Hence, mobile payment has a distinctive role to play in converting a cash only economy into a formal financial economy.

    The role of banks in promoting mobile payment services

    Mobile payment has transformed the financial services in two different ways. They complement the banking system and they also disrupted the traditional way of banking in India. Mobile payment is safe and easy to use, therefore, a user with limited knowledge of mobile phones can also use mobile payment services. They are a popular alternative to bank accounts.

    RBI issued the first regulations related to the mobile banking way back in 2008. Following this, the first mobile payment that was launched in India was Interbank Mobile Payment System (IMPS) which is a mobile based fund transfer system. Soon, banks and telecom service providers joined hands to launch their own mobile payment services for their customers. Although IMPS did become extremely popular, mobile payment penetration in India remained at the very basic level, especially because people have been very cautious about mobile payment usage. The main reason for this was the high cost of usage of internet and mobile services.

    Banks and telecom service providers have allocated and spent large advertising budgets to make mobile payment and mobile payment popular.However, acquiring and retaining mobile payment customers have always been a challenge. Mobile payments formed a minor part of the overall digital payment in India.

    The much-awaited push however, was received through the recent demonetization initiative of the Government of India. When people found themselves stranded without cash one fine morning, banks and mobile service companies stepped in to help people in need. They launched targeted marketing initiatives to ensure customer sign ups and usage. Necessity is the mother of invention.Mobile payment services witnessed a one of its kind rise post demonetization.

    Today, mobile payment in India is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 68%, while the mobile wallet market is estimated to grow at a rate of 30%. Out of this, 38% is money transfer business, 30% arerecharged and bill payment and 12% are utility payments. Other transactions constitute 20% market share.

    Current modes of payment available in India

    India is today neck to neck with some of the most developed economies of the world, especially when payment modes are concerned. Today in India, various kinds of payment modes are available. Below are some of the payment services available in India today:

    Various forms of cards

    There are various forms of cards available in the market today which include prepaid cards, credit cards and debit cards. These are used in ATMs, point of sale terminals and online.

    Aadhar Enabled Payment System (AEPS)

    Through Aadhar enabled payment system, one can pay at a point of sale and the business correspondence happens from bank to bank. Any bank account where the Aadhar Number has been updated can be used for this kind of transaction.

    USSD-based mobile banking

    India has a vast rural population where internet penetration is still poor. Hence, a non-internet based mechanism is strongly required and this is where USSD based mobile banking system comes handy. USSD based payment systems have enabled the digital revolution to reach rural India.

    Unified Payment Interface (UPI)

    The National Payment Corporation of India has set up a Unified Payment Interface through which quick and seamless payments are possible through Virtual Payment Address. Currently 36 banks participate in UPI. At present, it is used mostly for money transfers between wallets and accounts. However, in the near future, the same will be extended to merchant payments.

    Digital Wallets

    This is a virtual wallet through which users can make merchant payments. They are one of the most useful digital payment solution where payment is linked to a debit or credit card.

    Point of Sale

    Currently, most merchants in India accept card payment making it easy for users to pay for goods bought. A point of sale can be in a physical form like physical card swipe or it can be in a digital form.

    India is in the path to become a cashless economy and in this journey mobile payment has a large role to play. Promoting mobile payment is a full proof way of curbing the parallel economy in India. According to several economists, India will lose 2% of GDP every year if they don’t integrate digitization, and that’s too big a risk to take. Hence, mobile payment will become increasingly important in the coming days. It will be interesting to see what methods the banks adopt to ensure each of them get their fair share in this digitizatal initiative.

    March 17, 2017 0 comment
    0 Facebook Twitter Tumblr Pinterest
    IBS_Landing_SPCS

    Undoubtedly, mobile money has gained global recognition as a powerful driver of financial inclusion.

    According to a new study, the total transaction value of mobile financial services in emerging markets (including domestic money transfers, deposits on loans, insurance products, and savings accounts) will approach $493 billion in 2021, up from an estimated $198 billion this year.1

    On the other hand, industry data (Figure 1) for the last decade shows that the introduction of new mobile money deployments globally is slowing down. This is, needless to say, a clear sign that the industry is transitioning to a matured phase.

    ace-blog1“Now established in the majority of emerging economies, mobile money is a maturing industry serving new business areas and enabling a wider range of digital payments.” – GSMA

    With that backdrop in place, the industry players are inherently shifting focus from expanding to new markets or launching new mobile money deployments to maximizing the business value in their acquired markets.

    There is a catch, though. The latest number of 21.2 per cent reported for the 30-day active users as of December 2016 by GSMA -State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money, and the statistic of the 90-day active mobile money users in the last five years shows that the customer activity rate has lingered around merely 30% over the time. This, needless to say, is certainly posing a challenge for the goal of maximizing the value from the mobile money line of business.

    ace-blog2Looking from the business model point of view, the revenue of this business is highly driven by active usage of the mobile money service, since transaction fee is one of the biggest revenue streams.

    As mobile money providers grow their active customer base and product offering, their ability to generate direct revenues from transactions also grows. In a mature ecosystem, a greater proportion of funds can enter the system digitally and circulate digitally, enhancing prospects for revenue generation.

    To address the need of growing the customer activity and reinforcing the customer engagement level as well the engagement level of the mobile money agents, who remain the critical backbone of mobile money, digitising and disbursing cash, we unveil our latest product offering in this space: MobiLytix™ Customer Engagement for Digital Payments– a solution that fuels mobile money usage!

    MobiLytix™ Customer Engagement for Digital Paymentsis an integrated marketing engagement automation platform focussed for digital payments business. It product aims at:

    • ENCOURAGING the use of mobile money services
    • REWARDING customers for utilizing e-money, instead of cashing out immediately
    • ENHANCING the subscriber and agent’s engagement levels
    • ENSURING customer loyalty
    • And thereby BUILDING a bigger ecosystem for mobile money!

    With nuanced features like instant marketing on a transaction, unique registration marketing and making incremental revenue from incremental sales by adequately mobilizing and incentivizing the mobile money agents, this product aptly fits the widespread market demand, and has been well received at the Mobile World Congress 2017, Barcelona.

    For detailed description of the product features, reach out to the author – Vishal Garg (Product Manager – MobiLytix™ Customer Engagement for Digital Payments)

    References:

    1-Mobile Financial Services in Emerging Markets 2016-2021, Juniper Research

    March 9, 2017 0 comment
    0 Facebook Twitter Tumblr Pinterest
    shutterstock_145459894

    The global telecommunications network is constantly evolving. Competition is fierce, which requires constant system upgrades and product innovation. In this context, OSS/BSS simplifies and streamlines operations, thereby adding to toplines.

    The Global OSS/BSS Marketplace

    The demand for OSS/BSS will be on an upswing until 2020. The demand for networks like machine-to-machine, the internet of things, Ethernet, etc. will increase, as will the demand for any additional software system. Currently, the market is going through constant changes, especially with the advent of the carrier grade, third network, which includes life cycle orchestration, Ethernet, etc.

    Several predictions show that the OSS/BSS market will be worth $71 billion by 2020. The largest share among this will be held by NGN based solutions. OSS solution will generate more than 50 per cent of market revenue in different countries.

    Role of OSS/BSS in the telecom sector

    Automatic service fulfillment

    OSS/BSS makes a user self-sufficient, thus saving capex and opex in the long run. It does not require any human intervention and automatically fulfils user need for speed. This also removes any chance of human error, hence, valuable time and cost is saved in making the wrongs right.

    Enhanced Service Delivery

    OSS/BSS has the ability to deploy any kind of service to any customer , irrespective of what device and which network he/she uses.

    Elimination of software silos

    With the implementation of next-gen OSS, old time ‘silos’ which emerged over the years have been eliminated completely. These silos developed for network integration and software deployment for various kinds of project requirements over the years. OSS/BSS has eliminated these silos completely.

    The changing role of OSS/BSS

    OSS/BSS has gone through a sea change over the years. Earlier, there was a clearer separation between OSS and BSS. OSS and BSS are required in the day to day operations in the telecom industry. From a simple job of capturing a customer order to provisioning it, setting up billing and passing the order, everything requires OSS and BSS. Today, the systems are more complicated and more flexible. OSS and BSS today manages everything – from receiving a customer order, to service delivery. Providing a good service today is a complete mix between managing commercial products through BSS and handling the products through OSS.

    March 6, 2017 0 comment
    0 Facebook Twitter Tumblr Pinterest
    CVS-Landing-mCare

    Telecom operators generate a significant amount of data daily. This data, if properly utilized, can provide great insights into useful information crucial for running a business successfully and profitably. This is where big data plays the pivotal role. Big data analytics can provide useful information about valuable customer related data like usage preferences, patterns, customer habits, etc. which can be later nurtured to take path breaking business decisions.

    In this article, we will cover a few cases where big data analytics is being used effectively by telecom companies across the world:

    Customer retention through big data analytics

    Big data is widely used a method of retaining customers. Operators take the help of competitive data analytics for customer retention and enhancement of subscriber base. They used big data analytics to come up with solutions involving technologies like HPE Vertica to identify customers who reached a certain level of usage to provide them promotions. This helps operatorsto not only retain and gain customers, it also helps the company to cope up with various regulatory barriers especially with regards to expanding business.

    360 degree view of customers

    Big data are widely used for understanding the customer effectively. Telecom providers often use big data to gain a 360 degree view of customers. The main intention is to modify services to delight customers by using this 360 degree view. They collect data from various information sources and combined together to improve upon communicating with customers and providing additional channels of service. Big data have enabled telecom providers to stop using traditional databases. This also enables them to launch complicated digital services in order to delight the customer further. Enterprises manage to climb higher on the customer satisfaction ladder and are able to score high in the customer retention segment as well by using big data effectively.

    Optimization of market

    Big data also empower telecom service providers to optimize marketing effectiveness through the use of various tools like the data of motion analytics. Service providers have now understood that consumers at the end of the day are not concerned about technology at all. All they want is fast connectivity. Therefore, they feel the need to come up with newer innovative products to keep thecustomer engaged. This is more true for extremely competitive markets where every telecom company launchesa new product every day. Telecom providers have found a way to deal with this.They are now finding new uses of existing investments and thus design new services from them. This entails combining features from one part of network infrastructure with another part of the infrastructure to create something new for customers. Through strategic partnerships, new products are being developed with a significant reductionin the product development time. Companies who are able to effectively utilize this opportunity are able to achieve a distinctive advantage over its competitors.

    Using big data analytics for understanding customer behaviour

    Big data analytics reveals a lot of valuable information for understanding customer behaviour. The telecom sector is a highly competitive one. Enterprises, which know their customer well are able to survive in the cut-throat competition. It is important for the telecom companies to adopt the right kind of marketing technique to claim their share in the subscriber list. Several companies have been doing this brilliantly. They have been using software services, big data analytics and various enterprise systems bring to its customers special offers which in turn have increased their brand value and reduced churn rate.

    Preventing fraud using big data

    The biggest telecom honchos are now using big data effectively to prevent impacts from fraud. This is being done by exploiting big data for fraud analytics. Fraud has a number of impacts on a company’s business. It can not only have a negative impact on a company’s brand, it can also affect revenue streams. A real time analysis of a telecom company’s data can reveal solutions to detect fraud.

    Big data analytics are and will be of primary importance for telecom industries worldwide. Telecom providers which effectively implement big data analytics, today will stand to gain in future because competition in this market is going to get more fierce in the coming days.

    March 3, 2017 0 comment
    0 Facebook Twitter Tumblr Pinterest