IBM Center for Applied Insights
What is driving these shifts? In a January 28, 2012 New York Times Op-Ed piece Made
in the World
, Thomas Friedman argues, “Many CEOs, …increasingly see the world as a place where their products can be made anywhere through global supply chains (often assembled with nonunion-protected labor) and sold everywhere.” Globally integrated supply chains are transforming traditional business models and shifting yesterday’s outsourcing choices and trade-offs.
Mr. Friedman provides a provocative perspective. But, is this really happening?
The transfer of control of a process, product, or service to an external provider can take a variety of forms. The value in strategic outsourcing can include an organization’s ability to:
- Reduce costs
- Improve services delivery
- Engage in strategic partnerships that enable innovation, growth, and desired business outcomes
Traditional strategic outsourcing has often centered on transferring services to an external services provider with a focus on cost reduction. Outsourcing models are changing in new ways - why? What is driving these shifts and what can an organization do to capitalize on these changes?
Our team at the IBM Center for Applied Insights set out earlier this year to investigate market changes, identify emerging trends, and develop evidence-based research that explores how forward-thinking companies are responding to these trends.
Our premise is that the changing global dynamic, combined with technology-driven market shifts, is creating an opportunity for organizations to move beyond sourcing primarily for cost advantage to partnering for competitive advantage and desired business outcomes. Some of the technology-fueled market shifts reshaping the outsourcing landscape include:
- New and disruptive business models are changing how business is done
- Empowered consumers are driving companies to deliver customized client experiences to build enduring loyalty
- Big data generated from multiple sources is changing how organizations make decisions and leverage predictive insights for competitive advantage
Recently, IBM conducted a survey of 97 C-Suite Sourcing executives and found that seven out of ten plan to outsource for strategic reasons like driving growth and innovation. Based on their chief motivation, we categorized these organizations as:
- Cost-cutters–27 percent outsource their IT infrastructure to reduce operations costs
- Growth-seekers–37 percent outsource IT infrastructure, application management or business processes to achieve operational efficiencies and revenue growth
- Innovators–36 percent outsource multiple parts of the business to enable transformation and innovation
What we found most interesting was the progression of objectives across these three groups. Cost-cutters indicate they want one primary outcome from their sourcing relationships: cost savings. The majority of growth-seekers want to reduce costs, but also faster time to market for new products and services, and increased efficiency and effectiveness across the entire value chain. Innovators expect all of the above–and more. In addition to cost reduction, speed-to-market, and value chain efficiency, the majority of innovators want providers to help them:
- Drive front-office effectiveness (not just back-office)
- Better anticipate and respond to disruptive technological changes or market forces
- Proactively manage risk, compliance and security via technologies like predictive analytics
- Share risks and rewards based on business outcomes
I look forward to your comments and feedback!
Client Insights, Consultant
IBM Center for Applied Insights
Ever wonder what makes one infographic hit the mark and another one miss? There's more science to it than you might think.
Information graphics – visual representations of information, data,
knowledge, or concepts – have been around for millennia, and humans have
long mapped data in order to organize what they see, filter out
extraneous details, reveal patterns, suggest further exploration, and
ultimately better understand the world around them.
"Why should we be interested in visualization? Because the human visual system is a pattern seeker of enormous power and subtlety. The eye and the visual cortex of the brain form a massively parallel processor that provides the highest-bandwidth channel into human cognitive centers. At higher levels of processing, perception and cognition are closely interrelated, which is the reason why the words ‘understanding’ and ‘seeing’ are synonymous.”
(Colin Ware, Information Visualization: Perception for Design, Academic Press, 2000)
More recently, with the advent of the Internet and social media, infographics have been exploding in popularity. The New York Times
, USA Today
, and even the White House
make regular use of infographics to present information that would be unwieldy to understand in its raw form, and there are several web sites now featuring an “infographic of the day” (Daily Infographic
, Fast Company Infographic of the Day
Anyone responsible for creating infographics in order to communicate complex information effectively can benefit by taking advantage of lessons from visual perception research.
Prof. Colin Ware, of the Data Visualization Research Lab at the University of New Hampshire, explains:
“… the visual system has its own rules. We can easily see patterns presented in certain ways, but if they are presented in other ways, they become invisible. … The more general point is that when data is presented in certain ways, the patterns can be readily perceived. If we can understand how perception works, our knowledge can be translated into rules for displaying information. Following perception-based rules, we can present our data in such a way that the important and informative patterns stand out. If we disobey the rules, our data will be incomprehensible or misleading.”
One important lesson we can leverage from vision science is an understanding of which elements will prominently “pop out” of an image – thanks to a mechanism known as “pre-attentive processing.” As our brains start to process an image, massively parallel processes detect image elements that are differentiated by low-level characteristics such as form, color, motion, and spatial position. The principles of pre-attentive processing govern which visual elements grab our attention first, before we’ve even begun to consciously process the image.
Here’s a simple example to illustrate the point. Count the number of 9’s appearing in this set of digits:
Not so easy, was it? You had to scan all the digits in sequence.
Now count the 9’s again:
This time was a lot easier and quicker, thanks to the fact that our brains process lightness pre-attentively.
Some features that are pre-attentively processed include: color (hue and intensity), form (line orientation, line length and width, size, shape, curvature), motion (flicker, direction), and spatial position (2D position, spatial grouping).
For some more pre-attentive fun, visit the demo at this site
, choose a feature, and see how immediately and easily your visual system is able to process it.
Understanding what kinds of features are pre-attentively processed has important implications for visual displays. When designing for critical situations such as air traffic control, flight display, or clinical care dashboards, it’s crucial to understand how to make certain symbols or elements stand out from others so they can be interpreted and acted upon immediately.
Likewise, if you’re designing infographics, it’s also important to understand which elements will be seen at first glance – they’re your first chance to grab your reader’s attention, even before conscious processing. Using color, size, shape, orientation, and other pre-attentive attributes, you’ll need to carefully craft which are the most important elements that should “pop out” first.
But choose carefully; not every element of your infographic can stand out. Vision science tells us that pre-attentive elements become less distinct as the assortment of patterns increases. Imagine a bumblebee swarming among flies; the bee is easy to pick out. Now imagine wasps, hornets, and yellowjackets joining the swarm, and the bumblebee will get lost in the mix. So it is with an infographic: As the multitude of competing pre-attentive elements increases, their “power to pop” will be diminished.
To Learn More:
Modified by Ellen Cornillon firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Consultant, IBM Center for Applied Insights
In a world of increasing and varying information security threats, academic initiatives focused on cybersecurity are proliferating - yet, there is still the danger of falling short in addressing the long-term threat. To avoid becoming too focused on near-term issues, programs must be more collaborative across their own institutions, with industry, government, and among the global academic community. Only by working in concert can we meet today’s demand while educating the next generation to create a more secure future.
There have been a lot of recent reports, blog posts and news articles discussing the cybersecurity skills gap. It has been an ongoing issue for a while, and will continue into the future. We wanted to tackle this problem, not from the demand side, but from the supply side. So, the IBM Center for Applied Insights and IBM’s Cyber Security Innovation team selected 15 academic programs in 6 different countries from the over 200 institutions we monitor and work with. We conducted interviews with faculty members, department chairs and others. This week, we released a synthesis of those interviews in our latest security insights paper, “Cybersecurity education for the next generation: Advancing a collaborative approach” .
Through our interviews it was confirmed that cybersecurity is top of mind for students, educators, industry and government. Industry and government are currently facing a significant skills gap and this is causing the programs we interviewed see extremely high demand for their students, both undergraduate and graduate.
But, not all is rosy with the increased demand and attention. Programs are expected to provide more of everything – courses, graduates, opportunities, research – which has caused programs to face a number of organizational and technology challenges. Stained programs are addressing these challenges in different ways, taking different approaches to cybersecurity education, but still sharing similar common principles.
The trends, challenges, issues and differing perspectives cannot be fully addressed by each academic program on its own; cybersecurity is a global problem and should have global solutions. A set of leading practices promoting a longer-term and more collaborative approach is needed. We identified three general areas that the leading programs we talked to excelled at, all dealing with collaboration and connection.
1. Collaborate within your own institution – Cybersecurity programs should embed security practices and principles in computer science and engineering courses and take a holistic technical approach. They should work with other disciplines and schools in the university (e.g., business, law, ethics, medicine, policy). They should offer diverse education options for students and professionals (graduate, undergraduate, professional development, etc.).
2. Co-evolve with industry and government – Academic programs should have deep ties with industry and government – partnering and collaborating on research, curriculum development, and opportunities for students. A hands-on, practical, approach is also extremely important. Laboratory work, projects, special-interest groups, and internships should all be cultivated.
3. Connect across the global academic community – A number of the programs we talked with discussed the need for building a “science of security” to anticipate security problems and a cross-discipline lingua franca among scientists, engineers and policy makers. Fundamental concepts and common vocabulary can only be developed with participation of the entire global cybersecurity community.
To read more about leading cybersecurity education practices, case studies, and IBM’s recommendations, download our report . The paper is part of our ongoing security insights series which includes the 2012 IBM CISO Assessment and the Security Essentials for CIOs series.
David Jarvis & Susanne Hupfer
IBM Center for Applied Insights
There are four pivotal information technologies that are rapidly reshaping how enterprises operate: mobile technology, business analytics, cloud computing, and social business. All four of these technologies are potentially disruptive, and they also come with unique security concerns. Many people fear the security implications of employees bringing their own mobile devices to work, or storing mission critical databases in public cloud environments. Fear shouldn’t drive organizations away from these potentially transformative technologies. How are organizations overcoming their fears? How are they breaking though the “security wall”?
Recently IBM released the results of its 2012 Tech Trends Report, which looks at the adoption patterns of these four technologies. It is based on a survey of over 1,200 professionals who make technology decisions – the respondents came from 16 industries and 13 countries. As part of the analysis, three different types of organizations were identified:
- Pacesetters (20%) believe emerging technologies are critical to their business success and are using them to enable new operating/business models. They’re also adopting ahead of their competition.
- Followers (55%) agree that these technologies are important and can provide critical capabilities and differentiation, but they generally trail Pacesetters in adoption.
- Dabblers (25%) are generally behind or, at best, on par with competitors in terms of adoption. They’re less strategic in their use of emerging technologies, namely citing greater efficiency or new capabilities in selected areas.
One common thread across all three of the identified groups is that security is a significant area of importance and concern. In fact, 62% of respondents cite security as one of the three most important areas facing their organization over the next two years, with 27% rating it number one. One interesting aspect is that, the less mature an organization is with respect to the four strategic technology areas, the more security rates as an area of importance and focus. Seventy-seven percent of the Dabblers cited security as a top-three area of importance, versus only 49% of the more mature Pacesetters. Why is that? Perhaps the Dabblers don’t fully understand, or trust, that there are security technologies, policies and practices that can ensure a more secure approach overall. Or perhaps they lack the experience the Pacesetters have.
“Security and privacy are not always treated as first-order problems. Things are deployed and made widely available without regard for security and privacy. In a best-case scenario, security and privacy are thought of as add-ons. Worst case, they’re ignored completely.”
– Dr. Eugene Spafford, Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, Purdue University
Besides being an area of significant importance, security is also seen as a significant barrier to technology adoption by the survey respondents. Information security is ranked as one of the top two barriers to adoption across the four technology areas – more than integration, inadequate skills or regulation and compliance. Overall, security is the biggest barrier for a majority of respondents for mobile (61%) and cloud (56%) adoption. Security is cited less often as the top adoption barrier in social (47%) and analytics (31%). As shown by the dark blue bars in the graph below, there isn’t a huge gap between the groups (9-11%) when it comes to security concerns, but, in general, less mature Dabblers see security as more of a barrier than the more mature Pacesetters. The exception is analytics, which has the lowest adoption barrier. Perhaps Pacesetters better understand the potential risks in implementing advanced analytic systems.
Another part of the security wall blocking the full realization of the benefits of the four technologies is that organizations’ current IT security policies aren’t sufficient. The figure above generally shows correlations between viewing security as a barrier to adoption (dark blue bars) and inadequate security policies (light blue bars). The Pacesetters are more confident across the board, with a majority saying that their security policies are adequate. The “adequate policies gap” between the Pacesetters and Dabblers ranges from 13% to 32%, a fairly wide margin. This tells us that organizations that have the right security policies in place are more confident, and less likely to see security as a barrier. For the others, there is a gap between their fears and taking the steps needed to address those fears.
Another tool organizations are using to attack the security wall is skills development. A majority of the respondents know that security is an issue and are working hard to boost their confidence. Overall, 70% of organizations are planning to develop or acquire skills in “mobile security and privacy” and “cloud security” – the two technology areas where security is seen as the biggest barrier.
Security is tightly intertwined with the four technology areas discussed. You shouldn’t pursue cloud, mobile, social or analytics endeavors without also focusing on needed security technologies, skills, policies and practices. The more you focus on policies and skills, the less likely you will see security as an impediment. Treat security as a business imperative and make it a priority. Design security in from the start of any project. Doing this will increase confidence and help to tear down the walls that are slowing the adoption of important, transformative technologies.
Consultant, IBM Center for Applied Insights
In this post, I shall try to have a closer look at some of the important questions pertaining to interoperability: what do we mean by mobile money interoperability, what are the arguments for and against interoperability, and what practical steps can be taken to achieve it?
The mobile money industry has witnessed a remarkable activity in the recent years. There are more than 165 pilots in the mobile money segment in emerging economies, mostly being run by MNOs, banks and other financial institutions. It is now possible to find two or more deployments in many Sub-Saharan African and South Asian countries. Yet, only a very few of these deployments have been able to achieve significant scale. In a recent survey of 52 mobile money service providers, the GSM (Groupe Spéciale Mobile) Association identified 11 service providers that have more than 1 million registered customers. This has led many to make a case for implementation of interoperability in mobile money ecosystems so that customers are more inclined to use mobile money and the deployments can achieve scale by increased customer adoption. Let’s try to explore this important concept further.
Defining mobile money interoperability: Interoperability occurs if different systems are technically able to work together. For mobile money, interoperability can happen between handsets, networks, financial processes and retail processes etc. The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor. (CGAP) has proposed a framework that categorizes interoperability in three levels: platform, customer, and agent levels.
- Platform level interoperability – It permits customers of provider A to make payments to customers of provider B. They may also transact via any mobile network operator channel and switch operators without having to switch banks. For example, M-PESA allows consumers to send money to any phone. In South Africa, MTN offers subscribers not only MTN Banking’s application but also access to their First National Bank, ABSA, Standard Bank and NedBank accounts. WIZZIT works across all mobile networks in South Africa.
- Agent level interoperability - It permits agents of one mobile money service to also serve customers of another service, in other words, agents having non-exclusive partnership with operators.
- Customer level interoperability - It permits the customers to access different mobile money operators from one SIM. Also, it permits the customers to access mobile money account from same handset, regardless of SIM
The debate around interoperability: Market participants and regulators have not reached a consensus about the need and benefits of interoperability. Some regulators believe that interoperability is the way to go as the market matures and operators try to scale up. For example, governments of Ghana and India have mandated interoperability in their countries. Some regulators have taken a neutral position and have allowed market forces to decide the course. The Bank of Zambia prefers, but has not mandated, that mobile money solutions be interoperable. It is encouraging interoperability through the development of a national switch. Others feel that interoperability will erode the competitive advantage of market leaders and its implementation may not result in sufficient addition in subscribers to justify the investment required. For example, a report by GSM (Groupe Spéciale Mobile) Association suggests that the business case for implementing interoperability is unlikely to justify the initial investments of implementing it.
How to achieve interoperability: Though industry leaders seem to agree that interoperability is a key issue, they have different views on how it can be achieved. There are two broad approaches to achieving interoperability:
- Standards – In global mobile telecommunications industry, Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) has played a key role in setting up the standards and allowing the users to roam freely across various markets. Another example of common standards aiding the development of industry relates to SMS, where standard development in Europe led to a huge growth in SMS usage. Mobile money industry is still in its early stages and has not agreed to a set of common standards across all the elements described above. I believe it is unrealistic to take an entirely standards-based approach to interoperability. Standards are consensus based and take a long time to develop. Since a number of standards exist, it is unclear whether common standards can also impede the fast growth of mobile money industry; some of the players would have to wait before launching their services and many might have to migrate to common standards with significant costs and time. As the industry develops, a flexible approach based on experimentation would be needed. It will take time but governments & industry players should do what they can to monitor & promote standards,without holding back growth.
- Bilateral Agreements – Bilateral agreements, both commercial and technical, have become quite common. To develop compelling product offerings and to scale up, the market participants are experimenting with various business models and forging partnerships with other MNOs and financial institutions. For example, MasterCard and Telefonica announced a joint venture using the MasterCard Mobile Payments Gateway to lead the development of mobile financial solutions in 12 countries within Latin America where Telefonica’s Movistar® brand is present.
With respect to the timing and extent of interoperability, maybe the real answer lies somewhere in between. The timing and extent of interoperability needs to be specific to the state of market and needs to be continuously assessed. A report by Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU), suggests some valuable recommendations:
- Regulators should carefully consider the costs and benefits of implementing interoperability at an early stage of market development.
- Even when the enabling regulatory framework is in place, market should be monitored on a continuous basis to assess the need of further intervention.
- In the absence of interoperability regulations, monopolies and competition should be assessed periodically.
- Regulations should focus on ensuring that interoperability remains feasible at low cost to provide appropriate incentive to service providers and benefit users.
Have you ever been blocked by interoperability issues? What steps are your companies taking? I look forward to your comments and observations. Please click “Add a Comment” below or “More Actions” to share this with others.
Modified by Ellen Cornillon email@example.com
Consultant, IBM Center for Applied Insights
If your enterprise is working with Big Data, or at least beginning to stick your toe in the water, and you're not thinking about the concept of "signal", you're about to make a big mistake. Identifying the signal is what will enable you to leverage Big Data effectively. And if you don't, you're going to spend a lot of time and money chasing red herrings.
Stephen Few recently penned a great blog post on the concept of "signal detection". He proposes a definition of what defines signal vs noise:
When we rely on data for decision making, what qualifies as a signal and what is merely noise? In and of themselves, data are neither. Data are merely facts. When facts are useful, they serve as signals. When they aren’t useful, data clutter the environment with distracting noise.
For data to be useful, they must:
Address something that matters
Provide an opportunity for action to achieve or maintain a desired state
When any of these qualities are missing, data remain noise.
I like this definition. It fits hand in hand with the concept of Marketing Science that we proposed earlier this year. Insights (aka signal) are only valuable in so far as they drive business outcomes. And if you're developing insights that influence action within your enterprise, you had better make sure that what you're looking at is actually signal.
This is where Big Data is presents challenges. In his post, Few makes the absolutely correct point that data are noisy. And when data increase dramatically in volume, velocity, and variety (aka it gets BIG), that noisiness grows right along with everything else. All of a sudden, it becomes that much harder to correctly identify signal. As Few points out:
Finding a needle in a haystack doesn’t get easier as you’re tossing more and more hay on the pile.
If you listen to some of the discussion around Big Data, you could easily walk away thinking that if you can capture it, all you need to do is run it through some sophisticated analytic software and "boom" you've got new insights.
The problem with this approach is that pesky noise. As you start dealing with huge data sets, it becomes relatively easy to find "statistically significant noise". You may think you're looking at signal, but instead you're just finding random patterns in the noise that happen to look like signal. This is what can happen when analysts are given lots of data and told to go find something.
How do you combat this? Part of it, as Few points out, is having data analysts that have a deep understanding of how to detect signal and the associated challenges that Big Data presents. The other part, is in how you approach data analysis in the first place.
Again, I'll reference our Marketing Science framework and propose that by applying a scientific approach to data collection and analysis, you improve your ability to correctly identify signal. Instead of randomly looking for patterns in the data, by developing hypotheses and then testing and refining them, you're able to focus on signal that (a is more likely to actually be signal and b) will help drive the business forward.
We've seen some really interesting and impactful results internally with the Marketing Science framework. We've developed insights that both drive business outcomes and challenge conventional thinking. I'll be highlighting a few of these examples in future blog posts. In the meantime, I'd love to get your feedback on what challenges you've experienced with identifying signal within Big Data.
Consultant, IBM Center for Applied Insights
IBM Center for Applied Insights
(CAI) has recently started a new program on building fact-based, market-centric
thought leadership assets on various facets of mobile money.
As I dig deeper to understand the
current state and evolving trends of this segment, some facts are worth
Group to Assist the Poor. (CGAP) estimates that around 3.5 billion people
worldwide currently lack access to formal financial services. It estimates that
there will be 1.7 billion unbanked customers with mobile phones by 2012. There
are more than 165 pilots in the mobile money segment in emerging economies being
run by a diverse group of organizations.
However, very few mobile money
deployments have been able to achieve scale and gain significant customer
base. Some deployments which have been
able to achieve significant scale include M-Pesa in Kenya, GCASH and Smart
Money in Philippines, Vodacom in Tanzania, and MTN Uganda.
Hence, there is definitely a huge
potential to achieve scale in this segment, especially in the emerging markets,
and firms are investing hard to address this market. However, many of them are
still struggling to fully tap into this opportunity. Cracking the code for high
customer adoption and usage, in quantity and continuity, appears to be an
Achilles’ heel for the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), financial institutions,
and other organizations trying to venture into this segment.
So, what insights can we learn
from those who have succeeded in this segment? I researched to determine some
common factors which seem to have made some deployments more successful than
others. It seems that there are two broad factors which can prove to be very
critical for an organization while trying to launch and subsequently scale: the
actual product and an effective agent network. Today, we’ll take a look at the
impact of the product.
Product – Building a strong, robust and compelling
product offering (and later a product portfolio) is a very important factor
which is sometimes overlooked as many companies try to emulate successful
offerings and solutions from other deployments.
Some of the key points to keep in mind are:
vision and long term strategy
– Most of the successful companies have a
well-defined long term vision and strategy with respect to offering mobile
money services. For instance, a company can aspire to be the leading low cost
provider for person-to-person transfer services or it can aspire to be a
leading service provider in the retail payments segment. A clear vision also
helps senior management develop a long term commitment to the service. This
often takes substantial initial funding towards mobile money deployments and at
years to become profitable.
needs of the market – A clear and articulated value proposition, in terms
of addressing the ‘market specific’ needs for mobile money, goes a long way
towards ensuring success of the deployment. There is no ‘One size fits all’
business model or offering which can cater to different markets in the emerging
or the developed economies. For example, M-Pesa has gained its popularity and
scale by uniquely positioning the product to address the remittance need of the
Kenyan population; its value proposition being: “send money home.” WIZZIT in South Africa focuses on “live life
anywhere” by addressing the mobile banking needs of their consumers. Other
avenues can be business-to-business payments, bill pay, salary payments, and so
on. In the planning phase, a thorough market research can help develop a deep
understanding of consumer’s pain points in the specific market which can be
addressed effectively by the mobile money deployment.
– The bulk of potential consumers in the emerging markets are
from the informal economy, people who are unbanked and use other formal and
informal means such as post offices, banks, or personal networks for money
transfer. This target segment is mostly unaware of the potential for and
features of newly launched mobile money offerings. They also have security
apprehensions associated with mobile money transfers and lack of initial
technology understanding. For example, some of my colleagues were initially worried
about security of their payments while using newly launched mobile payments
services by BharatiAirtel
Hence, a concerted and targeted marketing campaign goes a long way in
addressing the apprehensions of the target segment.
–This target customer base from the informal segment in emerging
economies wants the service to be Fast (Instant transfer of money over long
distance and without any queues), Inexpensive (in comparison to costlier
credit/debit cards or informal payment methods), Safe (Holding value and making
payments that is safer than holding and transacting cash) and Accessible (able
to cash out, make purchases, and receive money in remote areas). For example,
as per a white
paper by IBM
, cost of sending 1000 Ksh ($13.06) through M-Pesa is $0.38
which is cheaper than any other service available in Kenya such as PostaPay and
Partnerships – Research suggests that making the right partnerships at the
right time helps a) align the business and its new/existing products with the
overall vision on an ongoing basis, b) continuously learn and address the needs,
challenges and new demands of the market and c) expand and reach scale. The
partnerships can be with technology partners, banks and financial institutions,
MNOs, agent networks, retail chains and other corporate organizations.
For example, Bank Bradesco and the Post Office in
Brazil have partnered to create Banco Brazil. The partnership has been able to
effectively attract rural populations boosting the business of both companies. Another
interesting partnership is in Japan, a developed economy. Sony partnered with
DoCoMo, a MNO, to form a joint venture – FeliCa Networks. They produced both the mobile phone chip and card
reader which enable them to manage downloads and applications for consumers and
merchants and gain a strong foothold in the mobile payment market.
There is a lot to be learned and written on the effective management
of agent networks. The agent network is the effective face of the company for
consumers. I can try to explore this
factor in more detail in one of my subsequent posts.
Look forward to your comments and
Client Insights, Consultant, IBM Center for Applied Insights
In this post, I will explore some interesting facets of the mobile money market in India such as market opportunity, regulatory environment, market participants, and the way ahead for the market.
Market Opportunity: The Indian economy has shown strong growth in the recent years, making it a USD 1.3 trillion economy. It is predominantly a cash economy with more than 65% of all retail transactions (total transactions are estimated as USD 410 billion per year) being conducted in cash. According to Reserve Bank of India(RBI), the central bank of India, more than 57% of the electronic transactions happen through credit and debit cards and the rest through Electronic Clearing Service (ECS) and Funds Transfer.
In India, 40% of the population remains unbanked. In contrast, it is estimated that more than 70% of the 1.17 billion people in India own a mobile phone. Moreover, this subscriber base has been increasing by 20 million customers per quarter. Hence, with a huge mobile subscriber base and a very small percentage of the transactions taking place over mobile, the potential for mobile money to take off and replace cash is immense.
Regulatory Environment: Government and the Reserve Bank of India are the nodal agencies which formulate regulations pertaining to mobile money. The Indian regulatory system has been gradually allowing the expansion of new products and solutions aimed to take advantage of the vast opportunities in this space.
RBI recognizes that individual banks need to work in conjunction with operators, mobile devices and payment technologies. In 2009, it mandated that a bank account is needed to send money but in 2010, it allowed ‘Other Persons’ (non-banks/NBFCs) to issue m-based semi-closed instruments with certain conditions and caps on transfer amounts. As a result, banks started offering mobile banking services. Further in 2010, it allowed semi-closed instruments to be used for bill payments and ticketing services, also, and permitted issue of co-branded instruments.
In late 2010, an interbank system had been set up in India enabling instant money transfers between bank accounts via mobile phones. NPCI's Interbank Mobile Payment Services (IMPS) is India's first instant fund transfer facility in the retail payment sector. It provides an inter-operable infrastructure for the banks and facilitates real time money transfer facility to their customers through the mobile channel. The unique feature of this system is that banks can choose any mobile banking application of their choice. Interestingly, IMPS can be made available in all forms (SMS, USSD, thin client, thick client) and hence it can support the transactions directly from low end mobiles to high end mobiles.
Market Participants: As compared to mobile money deployments in other emerging economies like Kenya, Philippines and Uganda, the Indian market is at a very nascent stage in terms of market consolidation and volume of transactions. The Indian telecom market is quite fragmented with fifteen different mobile operators providing service to more than 900 million subscribers. Among them, BhartiAirtel, Reliance Communications and Vodafone together hold more than 50% of market share.
BhartiAirtel has recently launched its mobile money services across India, offering services like payment of utility bills, mobile recharges, purchase at retail outlets, person to person money transfer, etc. Only Airtel customers can use this service and transfer money to other customers on Airtel.
My Mobile Payments Ltd (MMPL), a mobile payment service provider, had recently announced the launch of ‘Money-on-Mobile’ (MOM). It is a M-Wallet service which permits a mobile phone subscriber to purchase a wide range of goods and services using the mobile phone instead of paying by cash, cheque, debit or credit cards. It offers services like mobile recharge, utility bill payments, purchase of bus and movie tickets, to name a few. It claims to be India's first operator and bank agnostic mobile payment system.
The way ahead: As outlined in my earlier post, though the opportunity is huge and growing, companies need to address security apprehensions associated with mobile payments and build the awareness of the technology and the product.
India’s unique demography is an important factor to consider while taking strategic and marketing decisions during the ‘launch’ and ‘scale’ phases of mobile money deployments. Some of the notable factors are:
- It is estimated that 60% of the 1.17 billion population lives in rural areas most of which suffer from a lack of basic infrastructure and education. Companies generally face significant challenges in building the infrastructure and consumer awareness in these areas.
- Also, more than 50% of the Indian population is below the age of 25 years. This segment of population embraces new technology more readily but at the same time, it is a lot more value conscious and has little loyalty to a brand.
Besides offering regular services like person to person transfer, utility bill payments, mobile recharge etc. other useful revenue streams can be explored too.
- The internal remittance market – The internal migrant population is estimated to be around 100 million people. This market for internal remittance is estimated to be around USD 8 billion to USD 12 billion.
- Government payments market – Government of India offers a number of subsidy and support programs like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employee Guarantee Act (MG-NREGA), fuel subsidy, fertilizer subsidy and public distribution system which is estimated to be around USD 40 billion. A lot of it is wasted due to leakages and fraud in the distribution system. To ensure that the intended recipients do get their payments,mobile payments can play a very crucial role. The Indian government’s ‘Aadhar’ program to provide a unique identification number to every citizen of India would further lend support to the rapid uptake of financial services and transactions over mobile.
I look forward to your comments and observations. Please click “Add a Comment” below or “More Actions” to share this with others.
Modified by Susanne Hupfer Susanne_Hupfer@us.ibm.com
Consultant, IBM Center for Applied Insights
Do you know which industry is adopting analytics fastest? Do you know which industry has the biggest problem with social skills? Now you can find out.
The latest IBM Tech Trends Study surveyed over 1200 IT and business decision-makers – IT managers, business professionals and IT practitioners from 16 different industries and 13 countries – to assess how and why enterprises are adopting four emerging technologies – Mobile, Analytics, Cloud and Social Business – that are dramatically transforming how enterprises operate.
The study showed that Business Analytics and Mobile Computing represent a large swell, with over half of respondents already adopting these technologies. Cloud Computing and Social Business form a coming wave, with 40% currently piloting or planning to adopt by 2014. Furthermore, enterprises’ projected investment in the four areas is surging: 55% or more plan to increase investment in Mobile, Cloud, and Business Analytics, and 43% project increased investment in Social Business.
Despite the momentum in these areas, the study also uncovered a critical shortage of IT skills: Across all four technology areas, only about 1 in 10 companies reports having all the skills needed to be successful, and a quarter of respondents report major skill gaps.
A Deeper Dive: the Tech Trends Industry Dashboard
Today we’re launching a new interactive dashboard that allows you to explore the study findings in a dynamic way, by industry and by tech area. You can investigate adoption, investment, and skills for a particular industry within each tech area and sort to see how that industry compares to others, or to the cross-industry average.
Here’s one example. I chose Analytics, then Adoption Levels, and sorted by “Deployment” (and also clicked to “show percentages”):
(If your browser doesn't display the infographic below, please visit the dashboard page directly.)
We see that Insurance, Media and Entertainment, and Banking are the top three front runner industries in terms of high adoption of Analytics. Where does your industry fall?
You can also click on a particular industry name to bring up a graph specific to that industry; here we see Analytics skill levels reported by Media and Entertainment organizations:
It appears that Media and Entertainment is doing better on Analytics skills than the average: 23% have all the skills they need for Analytics, versus just 13% across all industries.
Sharing your insights
Are you successfully surfing one of the big tech waves but getting knocked down by another? Regarding your enterprise itself, do you think you’re outpacing your industry, keeping up, or lagging?
If you have particular insights about your industry’s position, please share them. All the graphs you encounter in the exploration are shareable – use the social media buttons or the embed code located beneath each graph to embed the graph within a blog, web page, or social media site. The embedded graph retains all the interactive functionality of the full dashboard.
Happy exploring – and we hope you’ll join the conversation around these findings!
Modified by Ellen Cornillon firstname.lastname@example.org
Consultant, IBM Center for Applied Insights
At the IBM Center for Applied Insights, we’re always searching for new best practices to share with IBM, our clients, and the rest of the world. Which is why, at a recent team meeting, we gathered to discuss a new article from McKinsey. In “The do-or-die questions boards should ask about technology”, McKinsey outlines nine questions all boards should be posing to their company management in order to be “technology winners”. You’ll probably notice that few of these questions focus on the technology – they focus on how to get business value from the technology. These nine questions fit so well with what we try to accomplish at the Center, I thought it would be a good exercise to pull key insights from some of our studies to see how we are helping to address them:
1. How will IT change the basis of competition in our industry?
As we’ve seen in many industries, technology is radically changing the competitive landscape, allowing new companies to gain significant market share from established players. In our 2012 Tech Trends report, we segmented over 1200 respondents into 3 groups based on their organizational stance on emerging IT. What we discovered was that the leaders (Pacesetters) were ahead of their competitors in the mobile, analytics, cloud, and social business spaces. These Pacesetters believe emerging technologies are critical to their business success and are using them to enable new operating and business models to improve their competitive position.
2. What will it take to exceed our customers’ expectations in a digital world?
Customer expectations are as high as they’ve ever been - customers demand an experience that is convenient, immediate and hyper-personalized. In “Why leading marketers outperform”, we found that leading marketers deliver targeted, personalized messages to customers in real-time through channels such as social media and mobile. These marketers encourage innovation, measure every customer interaction and touch point, and collaborate regularly with IT. Compared to traditional marketers, these leaders have a three year CAGR that is more than 40 percent higher.
3. Do our business plans reflect the full potential of technology to improve our performance?
Investing in technology is expensive, but it can yield incredible returns and boost performance. We asked over 1500 IT decision-makers about their attitudes in the Platform-as-a-Service space in “Exploring the frontiers of cloud computing.” We found that the leaders, or “Pioneers”, were adopting PaaS as a way to drive innovation and improve application lifecycle across the enterprise. For these pioneers, benefits included increased resiliency, efficiency, data management integration, and optimization. According to one respondent, a VP of IT, utilizing PaaS can make a company “more nimble and cost-effective, with consistent performance and faster roll outs.” Sounds like a pretty good payoff to me.
4. Is our portfolio of technology investments aligned with opportunities and threats?
A technology portfolio must clearly reflect current opportunities and threats, change regularly, and balance short and long-term technology investments. In our Sourcing study, we looked at CEMEX, one of the world’s leading suppliers of cements, as an example of company that leveraged opportunity and minimized risks with its long-term sourcing strategy. CEMEX realized it needed to accelerate its transformation and become more agile to respond rapidly to new opportunities and threats. It engaged with a strategic sourcing provider to cut costs, improve productivity, and deliver transformative innovation. CEMEX built innovation into its sourcing contract by requiring the provider to invest annually in innovative projects that helped CEMEX achieve desired business outcomes.
5. How will IT improve our operational and strategic agility?
Across industries, customers expect new customized products and services, faster than ever before. In order to decrease time to market, companies can leverage IT to improve operational and strategic agility. We studied operations strategy decision makers from financial markets firms in “Beating market mandates: How winners are re-engineering financial markets operations” to better understand the characteristics of leading companies. The leaders in the study excel at meeting both regulatory and marketplace requirements, and typically introduce new products and services in 3 months or less. These leaders are extremely agile - focusing on improving access to analytics and reducing complexity.
6. Do we have the capabilities required to deliver value from IT?
At the Center for Applied Insights, many of our studies are about identifying and understanding the groups that get the most value from IT. Whether it’s Chief Information Security Officers who have a mature security strategy, CMOs who act as Marketing Scientists and deeply understand their customers through analytics, or CFOs who accelerate performance through analysis and prescriptive insight, we want to understand the capabilities necessary to get the best possible value from IT.
7. Who is accountable for IT and how do we hold them to account?
Who “owns” IT is becoming increasingly difficult to determine. Leading organizations have clear operating models that determine accountability for IT activities - it’s not just the CIO who is accountable anymore. In “Accelerating performance: The evolving role of the CFO”, we discuss how the CFO must contribute to the company’s IT strategy as well. This study looks back at the 2010 IBM Global CFO study, to see how the 2010 leaders are performing today. The outperformers excelled in finance efficiency and business insight, and continue to outperform financially today. However, in order for these leading CFOs to accelerate the performance of their organizations, they must now expand their influence beyond financial decisions to broader, strategic choices about business and operating models.
8. Are we comfortable with our level of IT risk?
With explosive growth in connectivity and collaboration, information technology is becoming increasingly complex and difficult to manage - managing risk from IT must be an enterprise-wide priority. In our article series “Security Essentials for CIOs”, we define an approach to manage all forms of IT risk, whether it is cybersecurity risk, IT compliance, risk to the supply chain or technology impacts to business transformation efforts.
9. Are we making the most of our technology story?
The McKinsey article could not have ended on a better question. We aim to bring stories to life - to show how leaders are building and advancing their businesses with IT. We use data to identify best practices, and communicate an IT story that addresses competition, strategy, value, performance, and risk.
Time and again, we’ve identified leaders in our studies and determined that these leaders are asking and getting answers to the nine questions above. If “digital technologies are disrupting industries,” then to be a technology winner in any industry, companies need to ask the right questions about IT strategy, and, more importantly, act on the answers they receive.